Sadie’s Valentine Angel


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.

Valentine’s Day – Let me Count the Ways

Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous sonnet is a straightforward love poem that we can all relate to:

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach. I love thee freely. I love purely. I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life.”

It’s no secret that we love our pets and that we spend more than we admit on making their life as comfortable as possible, but I was amazed to find out that Americans will spend more than $700 MILLION on Valentine’s Day. Top pet gifts last year included treats, dog collars and hair bows. Guess there is no denying that Valentine’s Day has become a huge retail holiday, but it is still a special day to express our love to both our two-legged and four-legged companions.

Renae Hamrick shares a dog’s love letter to humans:

Dear Valentine,

There are so many things in my life that I love….dog food, dog biscuits, stuff in the trash can, smelly spots in the backyard, sunny spots on the living room floor, my huge collection of toys, your socks, the middle of your bed, chasing squirrels, long walks, the fire hydrant down the block. I could go on and on. All those things are fantastic, but what makes my tail wag more than anything is you, my best friend. I am the luckiest dog in the world to have you as my person. Let me tell you why:

I begin my day waking up happily snuggled next to you. I am thankful that you kept me warm and safe through the night, and I can hardly wait to help you wake up with a kiss on your cheek. My day gets even better when you clip a leash to my halter and we go for that thing you call a “w-a-l-k”! I love being connected by that leash-thing, because then I know other dogs won’t try to take you away from me. What makes this time even better is that you’ve included all kinds of flying, climbing, and creeping creatures along the way for me to chase and talk to, and you put a fun, smelly hydrant-thing down the street for me to sniff. Then we go home and have a great time together, you with your coffee and me with my kibble (usually with some good stuff in it). You are the most thoughtful person a dog could have.

After breakfast, I usually feel a little sad because you get all dressed up and leave for awhile. How I miss you when you are gone, but you give me toys to play with in your absence. While you’re away, I spend most of my time lying on your blue jeans, below the picture of you, which you thoughtfully hung on the wall for me to see.

The absolute, positively best part of my day is when you come home to me. My nose tells me you are near, and then you come through the door. I do my best to show you how much I love and missed you. I could go on and on. You fill my days with joy. Nothing will ever come between your being my person and my being your dog. I am here for you no matter what your life brings, and my love for you is totally unconditional. Know that I would run miles to be with you, risk any danger to protect you, and lick countless tears to comfort you. You are my person, my best friend, my true love. I want to always make you smile. I wear my heart on my wagging tail, and I will always do my very best to let you know that I love you more than anything – even biscuits.

Love always,

Your faithful dog


A Valentine For Mom


–thanks to Ann for sharing this uplifting story by Cathy Moore

My mom was a quiet, gentle soul and when Dad died unexpectedly, she was devastated but kept busy with her many friends and activities; however, four days after her sixty-sixth birthday (the week before Valentine’s Day), she had a stroke. An ambulance rushed her to the hospital, and the next month was tough, and although she survived, something inside her died. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with anger and sarcasm. Her number of visitors thinned, and gradually stopped altogether. She was left alone.

Since my husband and I were now empty nesters, we invited her to come live with us on our small farm, hoping the fresh air and casual atmosphere would help her adjust. We soon regretted the decision…she was moody and critical and had frequent outbursts of anger. She criticized everything, even the birthday gifts that she had received. Feeling frustrated, I desperately wanted to get her a Valentine that would brighten her spirits (and mine!). I browsed through everything at the local gift shop and was ready to give up when the store owner suddenly exclaimed. “I just read something that might help you. Let me go get the article.”

The article described a remarkable study done on stroke victims. It offered many ideas that we had tried without success, but there was quite a commentary on how attitudes often improved dramatically when stroke survivors were given the responsibility of caring for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon, filled out a questionnaire, and explained my reason for being there. The attendant showed me row after row of pens with dogs. As I neared the last pen, a sheltie in the far corner struggled to her feet, looked at me, and then lay back down. Years had etched her face and muzzle with shades of gray, her hip bones jutted out…she certainly was not a show dog, but there was something about the sadness in her eyes that held my attention.

The attendant noticed. “She’s a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and just sat at the door. That was three weeks ago. Her time is up tomorrow.”

As the words sank in, I turned to the guy in horror. “You mean you are going to kill her?”

“Ma’am,” he said gently, “We don’t have room for every unclaimed dog. It certainly not what we would choose to do, but dogs seem to be throw-away property, and we are left with the sad responsibility to do what has to be done.”

I looked at the sheltie again. “I’ll take her,” I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house, I honked the horn twice, and Mom came out onto the front porch. “I want you to meet your Valentine.”

Mom looked, then wrinkled her face in disgust.” If I had wanted a dog, I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Take it back. I don’t want it.”

Anger rose inside me, and as we glared at each other, the sheltie pulled free from my grasp, stumbled toward Mom, and sat down directly in front of her. Then slowly, hesitantly, she raised her paw. Mom’s face softened. The dog just sat there, staring at her with those sad eyes. Mom dropped to her knees, sobbing as she hugged the dog.

We can’t explain what happened, but in that moment, Mom’s peace of mind was restored, and it was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. She named her Lucy, and together they explored the community, making new friends. They were inseparable. Mom was once again a gentle, lovable person, and the sadness disappeared from Lucy’s eyes.

Then last year, late on the eve of Valentine’s Day, I was wakened to feel Lucy’s cold nose frantically pawing at our bed. I rushed to Mom’s room, where she lay, hands folded across her chest, face serene. Her spirit had left quietly sometime earlier in the night. The next day my grief deepened when I discovered that Lucy had pulled Mom’s blanket from her bed, made herself a nest, and curled up for a permanent sleep..

The morning of Mom’s funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks the way I feel, I thought, as we entered the sanctuary, surprised to see the church overflowing with the many friends Mom and Lucy had made through the years.. As the pastor paid tribute to both my mother and the dog who had changed her life, I noticed that sunlight was streaming through the window. The heaviness in my heart lifted, as I realized what a blessing the Valentine for Mom was to all of our lives.


Americans Spend Big Bucks on Valentines

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, more than $800 MILLION will be spent on pets this Valentine’s Day, one of the biggest holidays for advertisers out there. Wow! And I thought our economy was tight…not that I am opposed to giving your dog a Valentine.

There are some very practical items, but for the caregiver who really wants to go all out, there is a plethora of extravagant (and ridiculous) gift options, including real mink coats that are farm raised and custom made in Canada…a Canadian Golden Sable. Lined in colored matched flannel backed satin, is on sale for half price for a mere $747.00. Then there is the 3.2 MILLION dollar diamond dog collar which is featured on . Dubbed the “Bugatti of dog collars”, this 52-carat diamond dog collar, designed by Forbes Senior Editor Matt Miller, is truly the “world’s most expensive. ” Beyond the Crate offers dream house mansions….the Hacienda Celebrity Dog Mansion was custom made for a Hollywood personality. This “dog house” is designed by a “world renowned artist and designer” who creates some of the most upscale dog houses in the world . The Hacienda Mansion sells for about $30,000, depending on the number of extra amenities requested. For exact pricing and a free consultation, contact . I love dogs, but I cannot believe that anyone would even consider purchasing some of the outrageous gifts that are available. Just proves that some people definitely have more money than common sense.

For most animal lovers who don’t have the time, money, or inclination to spend big bucks on their pets, there are no worries. The reality is that our pets don’t know it’s Valentine’s Day, and they won’t feel slighted if they don’t get any grand gift. An extra walk, a few quality minutes of your time…and maybe a home made treat or two will mean more than a million dollar collar.

And here’s a valentine from your favorite pooch:

I love dog biscuits, stuff in the garbage can, smelling spots in the back yard, my squeaky toys, and long walks, but what makes my tail wag more than anything is you, my best friend. I love having you as my person, and I try every day to take good care of you. My very favorite thing is being close to you. You fill my days with joy, and I hope that nothing ever comes between your being my person and my being your dog. You have my unconditional love and loyalty, no matter what your life brings. I would run miles to be with you, risk any danger to protect you, and kiss away your tears to comfort you. You are my true love, and I want to always be the one who makes you smile. I wear my heart on my wagging tail, and I will always love you more than anything…even biscuits. Every day is Valentine’s Day when I am with you.

Love always,

Your faithful dog


If you feel the urge to bake, here’s a simple recipe for cheesy dog treats that your dog is sure to love.

  •    2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
  •    2 cups whole wheat flour (or white will work if you don’t have wheat)
  •    ½ cup oil
  •    ½ cup milk
  1.    Mix together and drop by spoonfuls on lightly greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly with a glass.
  2.    Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.


Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the day when we shower our loved ones with candy, flowers, and red hearts.  According to CBS News more than 18 BILLION dollars will be spent on cards and gifts, with l0 billion spent for someone close, 3 billion spent on friends and acquaintances, and more than 5 billion spent on pets. It’s great to make this special day as much fun for pets as it is for humans, but there are some items that need to be kept out of paws’ reach. Poison control experts see a rise in animal emergencies every year, many involving chocolate and lilies which are extremely toxic to animals, so please heed their advice and don’t leave goodies lying around.

  • A small amount of alcohol can do a lot of harm, and fatal respiratory failure can occur if a large enough amount is ingested.
  • Gum, candy and other treats that contain xylitol can result in a sudden drop of blood sugar and can cause your animal to suffer loss of coordination and seizures.
  • Flowers are beautiful, but don’t let pets chew on lilies or any plants or flowers, especially those with thorns…Biting, stepping on, or swallowing thorns can cause serious infection if a puncture occurs.
  • Although candles are romantic, nosey pooches can burn themselves or cause a fire by knocking over unattended candles.

As you make every effort to show that special someone just how much he/she is appreciated, take a moment to reflect on why we do special things for our dogs. Keegan Baur offers this list:


My dog

Is excited to see me every time I come home (even if I have only been gone an hour).

Is always in the mood to cuddle or play

Enjoys long walks to anywhere

Never complains about his food

Helps me clean up spills in the kitchen

Doesn’t care what TV program we watch

Shares my belief that any time is a good time for a nap

Loves me unconditionally…absolutely…positively…no matter what

 ALWAYS appreciates a treat…


Speaking of treats!

There are very few healthy commercial treats (check the ingredient list!), so here’s a guaranteed-to-please recipe for homemade:

Gourmet Salmon Crunches


  • 1 – 14 ounce can of salmon. DO NOT DRAIN
  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese
  • ¼ cup water


  1. Mix thoroughly and drop by SMALL spoonfuls on greased baking sheet. (Dough will be sticky). For training size treats, you can get 30 on the average baking sheet.
  2. Bake for about 12 minutes. (For extra crunchy, leave in for a minute or two longer)
  3. Cool completely before you let your dog indulge! (These freeze well!)


Sweet Potato Chews:


  • Raw Yam or Sweet Potato


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Scrub the sweet potato or yam…no need to peel.
  3. Cut into thin slices (the thinner the slice, the shorter the cooking time) and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet in a single layer.
  4. Bake for about 3 hours for slightly chewy treats or bake longer to get them crunchy. (If you have a dehydrator, pop them in there instead of the oven.)



Happy Valentine’s Day furbabies and humans alike!