Kathleene Baker has allowed us to share a favorite Valentine’s Day memory, based on an event in her life that she will never forget.

“I was finishing lunch at our local restaurant, when a scruffy, poorly dressed fellow entered and approached the clerk at the counter, apparently asking for some sort of handout. When speaking, he glanced out the front window several times, which motivated me to do the same. He wasn’t alone. He had two companions outside, one a terribly thin dog.

After a few minutes, the man at the table next to mine got up and walked to the counter. “I want to order a couple big broiled chicken breasts for that poor dog out there, and bag up a couple of to-go meals for the dog’s owners.” The chicken was ready before the meals, and the stranger grabbed the chicken and headed outdoors. Being curious, I hustled outside and lingered by my car. The aroma of chicken had the dog’s tail wagging…actually her entire body wagged.

Her new- found friend offered small bites while stroking her lackluster, drab coat. “Her name is Sadie,” said the caregiver. “She’s a real good dog…We found her roaming the streets, and she just kind of took to us. My name is Ed. The guy inside is my brother, Charles.”

Sadie was obviously in need of the chicken she was smelling…I wondered how long it had been since she had enjoyed a full tummy. Then out walked Charles with the to-go meats, and both men got teary-eyed as they expressed thanks. “You know we love Sadie. She is all we have and we try our best to care for her. You know, we took her from the animal shelter because she was pregnant when she found us. They said they would find homes for the puppies, but Sadie was old and wasn’t likely to be adopted. We couldn’t stand to think they might put her down, so we went back and got her. We are a family.”

The generous stranger looked at them, and said, “I’ll make a deal with you. When you can’t feed Sadie, she will have a running tab at this café. All you need to do is tell them that Sadie needs a chicken breast. “ He pulled a card from his pocket, “and I know the managers at the shelter down the street that offers aid to both men and their pets. You go down and give them this card, okay?”

Tears welled up in the eyes of both men, as they knelt and wrapped their arms around the skinny old dog. “And,” continued the stranger, “perhaps they can help you until you get on your feet again.. I will be getting reports from the folks who work there, They’ll be watching out for all three of you.”

I climbed into my car and dried my eyes as I watched the benefactor walk back inside, where, through the window, I good see him speaking with the manager, who was nodding his head, and shaking hands with Sadie’s Valentine Angel.

May the spirit of love and compassion make you someone’s Valentine angel.