Of course it rained all day last Tuesday, the day we said goodbye to Kirby. How wholly appropriate for the sky to shed tears on a day when our time with one of the universe’s most special creatures expired.
For 11 years and 11 months, he was so much more than the family pet. He was the first to greet us at the door, tail wagging in earnest, and the last to snuggle by our side in bed, just as the lights were turned off. He was the big black nose peeking out from under the dinner table, a countenance so endearing that it was impossible to deny him table scraps. He was our playmate and companion. A furry, shaggy, sometimes smelly presence that warmed our house, cheered our hearts, and soothed our souls. He was, as my husband used to say, “the family glue.”
Though we have struggled these last six days with his absence, we know in our hearts that Kirby isn’t really gone. True, we have packed away all physical reminders of him: his collar and dog tags (safely locked away and in the care of my son), his toys, his bed, and his bowls (personalized and hand painted by the kids many years ago). But his presence, his “spirit,” as my daughter likes to think of it, is everywhere. Around us, above us and within us. Forever holding this family together as we grieve, in remembrance and in love.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Initially, I had planned to write this post without a recipe. But the more I reflect on Kirby, the more I remember — always with a smile on my face — his essential sweetness. “Sweet as sugar” is how I think I referred to him in a blog post earlier this year. Today I received a card in the mail which was signed by every staff member at the veterinary hospital where he received the absolute best care these last few months.The theme was common: “Kirby was such a sweet guy; a truly great dog.” So, for Kirby, who never met a cookie he didn’t love, here is the essential chocolate chip cookie recipe.
3 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 t. vanilla extract
2 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl and set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light in texture, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract until well blended.
On low speed or by hand and using a wooden spoon, mix in the dry ingredients, followed by the chocolate chips. Scrape down the bowl as needed to blend evenly.
Using a small cookie scoop or two serving spoons, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake until the cookies are cracked on top but still slightly moist, approximately 12-14 minutes.Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool. (recipe adapted from The Culinary Institute of America’s Baking Boot Camp)