It doesn’t take six degrees of separation to find someone you know with cancer. It affects everyone...young, old, men, women, friends, family, colleagues and even pets… I know many women who are fighting the battle with breast cancer including my husband’s aunt Jill, my student, Janet and my friend’s mom, Deb. They are all fighting the good fight and amazingly, keeping their spirits up while battling with such an awful disease.
But not everyone wins that battle. I have been lucky since cancer does not run in my family, so I know very few people who have died from cancer. However, cancer took the life of my beautiful Siberian Husky, Scout. Some people might think it strange that this would be the way cancer has affected me the most, but she was my family.
Through the process of misdiagnosis, surgery, reoccurrence, biopsies, and treatment you have many highs and lows, hopes and feelings of despair. After a year and a half (which is a long time in dog years) Scout succumbed to the cancer. Scout was such an affectionate, spirited dog and she touched the lives of many people. My husband and I cried over her death, but our family and friends also felt the loss because wherever we were, Scout was not far behind.
Surprisingly, the one who cried the most was our other dog, Kahlua. After Scout’s death, we were not ready to get another dog. It was just too soon. However, Kahlua cried for months. She was listless, her appetite waned, and a dog who always wagged her tail, stopped wagging. We decided we had to get her another dog. So, we found a beautiful rescue husky named Luna.
Luna was caught as a stray and was rescued, only to spend months in a kennel. When we got her she was gaunt, hand-shy and she wreaked of urine. Over time we eventually came to find out that she had also been shot with a round of buckshot. Luna has adjusted very well and is living the life she deserved all along, but had it not been for Scout’s death, we would not have saved Luna. I guess the moral of the story is that you can take the pain and loss of your loved one and use those experiences to help others. We took all that love we had for Scout and gave it to a dog that really needed someone to care for her. Sometimes its amazing what dogs can teach you.
12 8 oz. jelly jars
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 TBSP cocoa
1 TBSP Americolor red food coloring gel
3 TBSP clear rum
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 TBSP distilled white vinegar
1. Make sure your jelly jars are really clean and put them on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Cream shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar WELL. Add eggs and beat well.
3. Make a paste of cocoa and red food coloring and rum. Add to creamed mixture. Mix salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla and buttermilk together. Add alternately the flour with the milk mixture to the creamed mixture.
4. Mix soda and vinegar and FOLD INTO CAKE BATTER. DON'T BEAT OR STIR NOW.
5. Divide evenly into the jelly jars and wipe the rims clean if you get any on the sides.
6. Bake for 30 minutes and test with a wooden skewer. If the skewer comes out clean, take them out!
7. Let cool completely.
½ cup granulated sugar
4 TBSP Butter
½ cup milk
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
8 oz cream cheese
1 ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Food coloring (if desired)
Combine granulated sugar, 4 TBSPs butter, ½ cup milk. Bring to a boil for one minute. Reduce heat and add cream cheese. Bring to a boil again for one minute. Turn off heat and add vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar. Add food coloring if desired. If the consistency is lumpy, pass frosting through a fine mesh sieve.
Pour onto cooled jar cupcakes. Let set up in the fridge for a few minutes. Top cupcakes with whipped cream and fun sprinkles!