Dogs and Ice Cream

Every time we exited my front gate, Cassie headed south, towards McDonald’s, the pier, and other goodies tossed out – treasures to a perpetually hungry dog.   She always looked disappointed when I turned north for our usual walk, but when I turned south, she raised her wagging tail and quickened her gait, often barking and turning towards me as if to say “Really? We’re going this way?”

Chipper devouring an ice cream cone.
Chipper devouring an ice cream cone.

In the summer, she pulled me towards Government Pier anytime I walked near downtown Waukegan, often convincing me to follow her desires. She wanted a dip in Lake Michigan, and if she was lucky and our timing was right, ice cream from Dockside Ice Cream . They had the best hard ice cream, but we always had to choose something without chocolate for us to share with Cassie, after she devoured her baby cone.

As she developed arthritis and walks to the pier became too painful, we started walking to McDonald’s, a much closer trip, to buy a vanilla cone placed upside down in a plastic cup. McDonald’s won’t serve you through the drive through if you are not in a car, so I’d tie up the dogs and go inside – a bummer, since then I couldn’t watch them.

Cassie never liked Frosty Paws Ice Cream for dogs, she much preferred the real thing, as did we. Her love for ice cream probably began on paddling trips to Wisconsin’s Wolf River. We often stopped on the way home at The Dairy Cove in Cecil, Wisconsin ( for a quick bite to eat a “pup cup”, free ice cream for dogs.

Cassie’s favorite camping trips involved making homemade ice cream, a tradition that began when the owner of a private campground near Mammoth Cave brought around homemade ice cream to share with the campers. Our friend, Kelly, thought this should become a tradition and purchased a hand crank ice cream freezer. But, unless we camped with a large group, we had lots of leftovers, so Mitch and Kelly would walk around the campground and offer ice cream to the delight of many campers.  One evening we finished making ice cream too late to share with other campers, so Cassie made a gallant effort to finish all the ice cream, but finally turned away, probably the only time she ever had her fill of ice cream.

Apparently, a love for ice cream is common to more dogs than mine. Garrison Keillor on his May 9th radio show A Prairie Home Companion, in The News from Lake Wobegon, told of Maisy, the black lab that would nuzzle up to small children as she stole licks from their ice cream cones. When the dog died, the town held an ice cream social in her honor

So during our next camping trip when we make homemade ice cream, we’ll share it with others in memory of Cassie, the ice-cream loving dog.

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