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Yogurt maker and a defective dog

Yes, I know there’s no reasonable connection between a yogurt maker and a defective dog. Except that I got them both today.

Yogurt was never a big part of my diet — except in the “hold my nose and swallow the crap occasionally because it’s good for me” sense. The thin, sour or over-sweetened non-fat yogurt I knew from the grocery store didn’t impress me. But shortly after I went primal, young commentor Winston turned me on to Greek yogurt.

Oh man. HUGE difference. Whole different world. Plain, whole-milk Greek yogurt with a spoonful of raw honey in it is now a daily part of my diet (with fresh berries, mmmmm).

Only problem is, the nearest place that sells it is 90 miles away. Not making that little grocery run too often. So it’s DIY time.

I’m not going to try to make yogurt in the oven or a crock pot because, although I know it’s possible (and I’m sure you kitchen geniuses could do that blindfolded), I also know it’s tricky. If something involves food preparation and can be messed up, rest assured I’ll make a mess of it. Thus the yogurt maker.

I chose the Tribest Yolife Yogurt Maker over the zillion other models on Amazon because it comes with glass jars rather than the usual plastic and comes with this extra (and extra-tall) hood so that you can make yogurt in big jars if you want to (up to 80 ounces at a time).

Yogurt maker with extra hood and instruction book

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Winston, who is off on some very serious adventures now, might not get a chance to see this. But if you’re out there, Winston — thank you!


I was too occupied with the defective dog today to either make yogurt or get my work-work done. Spent some time at the vet, then more time observing, and finally some Google (actually StartingPage) time trying to solve a medical mystery.

Fortunately, this isn’t one of my own dogs. This morning an email went out from one of the local rescue coordinators looking for foster care for an abandoned dog who’s going to need surgery.

I met the dog last weekend. A real sweetie. Big young boy. Normal and healthy in (almost) every way. Loves kids, cats, chickens, dogs, llamas, and humans of all sorts. But he’s got a bizarre deformity in his penis — several of them, really. Then after watching him all afternoon and evening, I also realized something nobody had noticed (because who would even think of it): he appears to be peeing out an extra hole in his backside and not through the penis at all.

I won’t put any photos of that on the blog, lucky you. But if you’re curious and fairly strong of stomach, here’s my guess: hypospadias, a rare deformity. One that sometimes goes along with hermaphrodism.

Nature is capable of doing some crazy stuff to an otherwise healthy, happy critter.

Fortunately, the good people of the local rescue group have already agreed to fund the surgery. And just as fortunately, the vet who’s lined up to perform the repairs absolutely loves a challenge.

Well, she’s got one now. Our boy may never be normal, but at least he’s got a chance.


  1. Woody
    Woody September 28, 2011 5:06 am

    I have friends who have a Golden Retriever who had a similar sounding problem. The surgery successfully solved the problem and Midas has been a wonderful part of their household for years. Best wishes for your friend.

  2. Pat
    Pat September 28, 2011 5:59 am

    The dog sounds like a challenge, and I’d say you’re a pretty good diagnostician. Hope he does well in surgery.

  3. Standard Mischief (dot) com
    Standard Mischief (dot) com September 28, 2011 6:24 am

    I never had any luck making yogurt in my vacuum thermos. I have no idea what I’m doing wrong.

    I guess you will still need to strain/hang the stuff to get out excess moisture. For paneer, I got 8 men’s white handkerchiefs at mall-wart for a few bucks. I boil them before use and reserve them exclusively for the kitchen.

  4. Claire
    Claire September 28, 2011 6:47 am

    Standard Mischief — handkerchiefs as strainers sounds like an excellent idea. I’d wondered what I was going to use.

    Woody or anybody — if you know anything more about this condition or the best surgery to repair it, let me know. I found very little on the ‘net (several articles were behind medical journal paywalls and I didn’t access them). Our vet is excellent and does rise well to challenges. But surgery that fully corrects the problem might be beyond her experience and beyond the group’s budget. It would be great to get him “peeing like a boy.” But our resources might only allow a cosmetic repair of the penis and sheath while he continues to “pee like a girl.” (While lifting his leg — which gets quite messy! One of my girls does that, but she’s neater than he is; right now, his testicles get in the way of whatever miniscule “aim” he might have and he ends up peeing on himself.)

    Sorry for the graphic detail.

  5. Mic
    Mic September 28, 2011 7:00 am

    I must have been living under a rock. I have never heard of “Greek” yogurt before. I am not sure how this is even possible since I like yogurt and I am married to a Greek girl, seems I should have discovered it before now. Oh well, I am going to go hunt this down and try it.

  6. Matt, another
    Matt, another September 28, 2011 7:19 am

    An abandon dog with deformities, that people are willing to take into their homes, and hearts and find him medical care, and pay for it. Wow, guess there might be hope for some parts of this world after all.

  7. Claire
    Claire September 28, 2011 7:24 am

    Mic, I hope your belated discovery turns out to be a real treat. Greek yogurt is basically standard yogurt with a lot of the whey strained out of it. As a result, it’s thicker and has double the protein. It’s sometimes called “yogurt cheese” because of the thickness.

    The other thing about it is that the commercially available types are much less heavily sweetened than their traditional American counterparts.

    From what I understand Greek yogurt has only been marketed in the U.S. for a few years (started by a Greek-American who barely even recognized the then-available products as yogurt if I’ve got the story right). But now there are at least three brands: Greek Gods, Fage, and Zoi. And I tell ya, it’s one of those, “Once you’ve tried it you’ll never go back” experiences.

    I buy the plain traditional (whole milk) and add a spoonful of honey and sometimes a dash of vanilla. But even the non-fat, flavored varieties of Greek yogurt are a step up from the usual stuff in the little cups.

  8. water lily
    water lily September 28, 2011 8:05 am

    I used to make yogurt from raw milk. It was great. Sometimes, I added cream. Yum!

    Alas, I learned that I am casein intolerant, so no more delish yogurt for me. I have scads of recipes for coconut milk yogurt, but I haven’t gotten around to trying them yet. Enjoy your homemade yogurt.

    I haven’t any info on the rescue’s health problem, I just wanted to say that I wish him the best!


  9. Claire
    Claire September 28, 2011 8:07 am

    Matt, another. Yes, doing animal rescue will persuade you, at alternate moments, that human beings are irredeemably evil and that they are extraordinarily good.

    The one wonderful thing, yet the thing that never ceases to amaze, is how consistently good the animals themselves are. We know, for instance, that this dog’s original owner frequently beat him with a stick. But the dog has a sunny disposition and a happy regard for all mankind.

  10. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal September 28, 2011 8:39 am

    That dog’s problem made me think of this TED video I just watched yesterday. It is mainly about the contagious cancer that is wiping out Tasmanian Devils, but also mentions a sexually transmitted cancer that affects dogs.

  11. Scott
    Scott September 28, 2011 9:19 am

    I’ve tried all manner of yogurt(other than Greek) and found the stuff gross-I thought it was one of those things people ate because they thought it was good for them, not because it tasted good.
    All the cats I’ve had have been shelter/rescue pets. All were friendly, fun and generally kind creatures that lived long lives(the shortest 12 years, the longest 19). My current cat, Sir Louie, is a big friendly cat that seems to like everyone-doesn’t even mind going to the vet-likes the vet! Cats have a reputation for being aloof and unfriendly, but that’s not been the case for any cat I’ve had.
    I believe that problem with the dog is correctable-it seems to me a dog my cousin had when I was in junior high school had that problem,or something similar,and it was surgically corrected..and this was back in the 1970s. It may not be cheap, though.

  12. Claire
    Claire September 28, 2011 9:21 am

    water lily — I’ve been wondering what yogurt would taste like made with, say, half-and-half. Mmmmm.

    Coconut milk yogurt sounds interesting, too. Very expensive, but interesting. Of course, making it at home inherently takes away so much of the expense, even if the coconut milk itself costs a small fortune. Thanks for the idea, and thanks for the good wishes for our dog boy.

  13. Woody
    Woody September 28, 2011 9:43 am

    Claire said “I’ve been wondering what yogurt would taste like made with, say, half-and-half. Mmmmm.”

    Very good! I’ve made lots of it (back when I could afford half & half). It was nice and thick and tasty. Fat free or reduced fat yogurt is like lite beer, a complete waste of the ingredients used to make it.

    PS For some reason BHM’s web site has recently blocked Makes it difficult to get your blog.

  14. Claire
    Claire September 28, 2011 11:16 am

    Woody, Oliver told me somebody had contacted him having troubles reaching the site via Cotse. It’s weird. I used to have trouble accessing BHM via Cotse; now I don’t. So I’m not sure what’s happening or what to do about it. When I did have trouble, I just set Firefox preferences to allow a direct connection to BHM. I’m guessing that’s what you’ve done now. But I know that wouldn’t be a satisfactory solution for everyone.

  15. Pat
    Pat September 28, 2011 12:18 pm

    Has this dog been neutered? That might help his aim a little while peeing.

  16. Claire
    Claire September 28, 2011 1:12 pm

    Good question, Pat. He’ll be neutered tomorrow, and while he’s under the anesthetic the vet will explore his plumbing further.

    Not to get even more graphic on the details, but even though this defect (assuming I’m right about what it is) goes along with underdeveloped parts and even hermaphroditism (and even though this boy has only half a penis and that not quite in the right spot) he has huge you-know-whats, and they definitely are interfering with his aim.

  17. Carl-Bear
    Carl-Bear September 28, 2011 8:02 pm

    “…this boy has only half a penis…”

    For a second there, I thought you’d found my congress-scum. Then you reminded me that your critter has balls, which completely rules out Charlie Bass.

    RE; Yogurt- Let me dig through my old files. We ran a piece on yogurt-making, with lots of useful comments. DF! itself is long gone, but if find the files, I’ll post ’em on my site.

  18. Carl-Bear
    Carl-Bear September 28, 2011 8:19 pm

    The yogurt article, by Sunni Maravillosa, is at:

    Sunni discusses something she calls “yogurt cheese” which is basically what you’re calling Greek yogurt.

    I haven’t found the additional comments yet. If I have them, they’re in off-line storage. When I left DF! I didn’t take a server backup, so it’s possible I don’t have those after all. Too bad, because I recall some decent info in those: using half & half, and even heavy cream (I remember wondering if yogurt made from heavy cream wouldn’t be… you know, _sour cream_), other tips.

  19. Carl-Bear
    Carl-Bear September 28, 2011 9:10 pm

    And here’s some of the comments; includes a table of assorted dairy types.

    You’ll also find the first (and so far only) time time I was called a bad person AND a “muppet”. Still trying to figure that one out.

  20. Claire
    Claire September 29, 2011 7:01 am

    Carl-Bear — Thank you for the detective work! I’ll explore both those links. Hope you didn’t have to hunt too hard for them. But just seeing a comment where somebody calls you both a bad person and a muppet in the same breath will be worth a look …

  21. Claire
    Claire September 29, 2011 1:04 pm

    Carl-Bear — Thanks again for Sunni’s yogurt-making article. That’s really helpful. Her guidance on flavorings was especially interesting. With berry season just about over (and me not enjoying the texture of frozen berries, even though I did save a few pounds from the local blueberry farm), I was wondering what I might do for other ingredients.

    And “you are a absolute muppet”? Yeah, I can see how that would take years to figure out …

  22. Carl-Bear
    Carl-Bear September 29, 2011 1:28 pm

    Truth to tell, I’ve never tried hard to figure out the “muppet” assertion. Maybe it’s just some regional insult. But if he thought I’m soft, cute, and fuzzy… I _really_ didn’t want to know.*

    If you don’t already read Sunni’s blog, you might want to check it out:

    She often talks about foods and recipes. Although _I_ was responsible for the human-based gelatin thread; it seemed appropriate after the furor over _cellulose_ in food.

    (* But I’m open to indecent proposals from attractive ladies. Heck, _decent_ even.)

  23. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty September 29, 2011 2:05 pm

    Just purchased a new yogurt maker (to be delivered next Thursday) and can’t wait to get started again. Even though milk is quite expensive here, it won’t cost as much as the $4. a quart “fat free” yogurt. I just wish we could get fresh raw milk here.

    I’ve tried the “Greek Yogurt” and don’t really care for it at all. I’m very happy with the more moist kind. Each to their own.

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