This week I’ve had the honor of cooking a few meals for a friend who I do not see often. We were once in a weekly playgroup together but school and well, women, got in the way as I recall and we’ve always enjoyed seeing one another around town. Catching up with her and her family has been added bonus to just delivering meals in a time of need.

Cooking for others is a good thing for me. I want to help my friends and even those I don’t know. But what can I do? My truck is already at capacity. My home is far from quiet. But I can always cook. There is something about a homemade meal that nurtures the soul and restores faith that all will be fine. Even when we are frozen in our moment or simply to busy with caring for others that we cannot cook for our own family, a warm, fresh meal is always more filling than a peanut butter and jelly or a box of mac and cheese. Even when that warm, fresh meal is gazpacho.

Receiving a meal from another restores faith that all will be fine with the family in need. It restores faith in the understanding of friendships. It restores faith in the belief that while we are dead in sin, we are souls in need with a lot to give. I don’t think I will ever tire of cooking for others. It is an honor.

My project for the weekend is baking for a friend in need. A friend that I’ve met but don’t really know. My friend walks on all fours. He barks. And he probably slobbers unnecessarily. And he has lymphoma. I’ve been perusing a book I have called Baking for your Dog by Parragon Books, LTD and I’ve been visiting websites such as Two Dog Press. And I’ll do a bit of research on dogs with lymphoma and what is advisable as a diet as well. And then on Saturday or Sunday I’ll bake and on Tuesday I’ll deliver. What a sweet thing to be able to do for a furry friend.

When I was 7 months pregnant with our first child, I found out the greyhound I had brought into our marriage, Bojack, had lymphoma. Oh how I loved Bojack. I had taken great care four years prior to research what large dogs made good apartment dogs. I had driven an hour away from home to meet him, play with him, and later adopt him from Greyhound Friends. And here, as I was about to birth our first child, I was also going to lose my best furry friend. And he was only six years old. Well with a daily steroid pill, Bojack lived for 2 1/2 months after our son was born. And the vet was right. I knew the day he needed to be put down. I knew. And I cried. And cried and cried.

Husband picked him up from the vet and carried him in his favorite afghan – a granny-square my mother had crocheted – and carried him to the power plant where he used the crane to dig a large hole by the river and he laid him to rest. Hydro, the shepherd-lab Husband had brought into the marriage, and the complete and total opposite of Bojack, walked down into the hole and nosed him good-bye. I was not there, but I have the scene clearly in my head. And to this day, Bojack lies beside the river.

In March of this year Hydro passed at the old age of 16 1/2 years. He was just old. We provided him doggy-hospice care downstairs helping him drink, carrying him out to sit in the sun, cleaning up after him. He literally died on his own terms. Hydro was an incredible dog. He is buried on our property in the center of the race track. I miss him. *tears streaming down my face* We were so blessed by a friend who sent over a digger and so we were able to bury him swiftly and with dignity. That was the first pet death our children had experienced. And it was so clear and gentle. Hydro taught us so much. Husband found him as a young puppy in the snow by a telephone pole and he died in the loving warmth of the family he guarded.

Now we have Rocky. This dog ain’t right. But he’s growing on us. He, too, was a throw-away. He hadn’t been thrown away before we met him but he was on his way. He’s a Louisiana Catahoula. And so sweet. And gentle. And very polite. Except that he feels entitled to sleep on furniture including the MASTER bed. And well, you probably know now how I feel about that. But he’s ours and we are his. And I am grateful.

SO it is with great love for four-legged animals that we hope to make our unwell doggy friend feel even more loved than he already is. I’ll document the adventure.