Our family always had a dog or two, and at times a cat for good measure. Gram and I were not crazy about pets. We figured we had enough taking care of the kids.

But we took care of every pet that trekked through the back door. When the kids eventually left home to make their own way in Florida, college, marriage, Gram and I got the dogs.

It seemed liked all of a sudden — Gram and I were left alone. No kids, no husbands, no dogs.

It didn’t take long for us to pack up the little blue Datsun and head for the lake. Eventually the kids moved to the lake, but to their own homes and lives.

At the lake we were home. Several years later, we lost Gram. Family was all around me, but I was alone.

“Mom needs to have a dog.”

“Oh no, she doesn’t. If anyone tries to give me a dog, I will put it up for adoption.” I meant it. Subject dropped.

Several years later. Tracy called. (All of the family is involved with a caregiver company in Madison.)

One of their caregivers was moving and could not take their dog, Stella. Tracy was teasing when she asked if I wanted the dog but she sent a picture anyway.

Don’t ask me why ‘cause I don’t know. I took Stella that day. There was something about her that touched my heart. I wondered what Gram would say. I think she would have loved Stella, too.

At the age of 80, I had a dog of my own, which I never wanted in the first place. Until I saw her. She was a year old.

Our vet said she was a sweet dog. I agreed. Stella is now three. I’m two years older, too. Darn it.

Now at three, our vet said she is still a sweet dog — and very spoiled. I agree.

She will kiss you even though you might not want a slobber. She jumps all over the place when someone comes. I never approved of dogs sleeping in the bed. Now, I can’t sleep if she is not cuddled at the back of my knees.

She is spoiled. yes. What are these buddies, sweethearts for, but to love and be loved? I know she is only a dog. Scratch the word only. She makes me laugh. I go bananas with that darn green tennis ball. She thinks it is our mission in life to keep throwing it.

There’s so much more. I need to write a novella about her, if only for myself.

Stella likes people food better than dog food. My fault. There are things she doesn’t get, cookies being one of them. I don’t get cookies, either. Sometime I have to sneak a few.

Lemon Drops (yum)

Ingredients: 1/2 carton whipped topping-8 ounces, 1 box lemon cake mix, 1 egg, powdered sugar.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, stir whipped topping into lemon cake mix, add egg and mix thoroughly, shape into balls and roll in powdered sugar, place on cookie sheet with parchment lining, bake 8-10 minutes (do not overcook). For a more lemony flavor, add lemon zest to the mixture.

For lemon lovers-enjoy.

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