Kay’s Kitchen: Dogs, Service, Sobriety and Love

By Kay Luckett

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.

Sadie was chronically ill and perpetually drunk. The stray twenty-something-year-old woman was troubled and heading nowhere fast. She had suddenly quit her job in Utah without notice, bailed on her lease and headed toward South Dakota’s Wind Cave National Park in search of her parents. Finally living out their hippie dream, her parents were camping and randomly traveling west into the sunset to a yet unknown destination.

Sadie was able to find them and moved into their campsite. But soon, she was overcome by the same allergies that had made her so sick while growing up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She could barely breathe. The family broke camp and headed to the Southwest with the hope that Sadie’s allergies might subside.

As the family was rambling through Arizona, they stopped to let their dog out at the Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona. They were so enamored with the town, they decided to rent a cabin and stay for the summer. Through that summer and into the fall, Sadie tried numerous times to quit drinking, but without success.

A year later, Sadie’s parents decided to move on. Sadie was unable to continue the journey; so she stayed in Prescott, bottomed out on alcohol and pills. She knew she was powerless over her addictions, and her life had become completely unmanageable.

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Despite relapsing three more times, Sadie eventually got sober in a Twelve Step program on January 23, 2011. She began living a solid, sober way of life; she found a sponsor, worked the Steps and began service work. Her priorities became the young people’s recovery community and the Arizona State Conference of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous.

After a time, Sadie became a full-time house manager at a local recovery home. While working there, she fell in love with and adopted Billie, a little mixed-breed puppy.

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By the age of 20, Taylor was alone and addicted to drugs. Desperate, he finally entered and successfully completed a Utah wilderness treatment program. He then was sent to a sober living home in Prescott, Arizona. He stayed a month, whereupon he proclaimed himself cured – he was sure he was not an addict or alcoholic after all.

Taylor’s journey into addiction continued. He eventually ended up in his hometown of Tallahassee, Florida. He was homeless – he had burned all his bridges and had exhausted all his resources. His parents would not let him move home, so he made a home in an abandoned truck in downtown Tallahassee.

In a moment of clarity, one night Taylor decided enough was enough. He called his counselor at the sober living home in Prescott, who welcomed his return. The most unique resident at the home was Rose, a golden retriever who became Taylor’s buddy. There were many days when Rose was his motivation to continue his life of sobriety.

Unknowingly, Taylor’s life was paralleling Sadie’s. He gradually became involved with the young people’s sober community in Prescott. Once again, this community saved a life.

In this small town in the mountains of Northern Arizona, Taylor learned how to love and to be of service. Like Sadie, he found a sponsor, worked the Steps and honored his service commitments. He became a house manager for a recovery home for young men.

At the 2011 Rocky Point Roundup in Mexico, Sadie and Taylor met. It soon became apparent that they had much in common: a love for dogs, nature, sobriety and service. It didn’t take much for their romance to blossom.

On their third date, they made a commitment to each other as they shared their goals and dreams. Taylor told Sadie about his passion for dogs, including his loving experience with Rose, the recovery house retriever. In that moment, the idea for Rose’s Ranch was born.

Eventually, the lovebirds moved into a house in the beautiful pine forests surrounding Prescott and soon found themselves parents to three dogs: Billie, Mama and Charlie. It was a home filled with lots of love and fur.

One day at her hotel job, Sadie received a call telling her to wait for her boss in the lobby. She had a terrible feeling she was going to be fired. As she nervously sat in the lobby with her back to the door, she heard some commotion and turned – there was Taylor on both knees with an engagement ring in his hand. He popped the question as her boss, coworkers and guests witnessed his romantic proposal.

They married in an outdoor ceremony at the Groom Creek Schoolhouse in June 2014. Both Sadie’s and Taylor’s parents and many sober friends watched the couple walk down the aisle accompanied by all their dogs.

They immediately began to make their dream of Rose’s Ranch a reality. The Ranch was to be a warm, safe, inviting home for recovering alcoholics and addicts. Clients could experience healing and refuge as they learned how to live a purposeful, sober life. The property would be amply fenced with space for ten foster dogs to run and play. Clean, warm kennels would provide cozy homes for each dog. It would be a place where both residents and dogs could help and encourage each other in their new lives.

All the finances, business logistics and legal issues are in place, and a board of directors has been assembled. With only one task left to complete, Sadie and Taylor are searching for the perfect piece of property; their dream is about to come true. They hope for a grand opening this year.

We celebrate so many things with this beautiful young couple: dogs, service, sobriety and love. In my opinion, the best way to do this is over a good meal. I invite you to try this Beefy Bolognese over Penne Pasta adapted from a Cooking Light recipe.

Bolognese over Penne Pasta

(Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe)

3 uncooked bacon slices, cut into bite-sized pieces
12 oz. lean ground beef
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup carrot, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ can tomato paste what size can?
½ cup unsalted chicken broth
⅓ cup unsweetened apple juice mixed with 2 tbsp. red vinegar (This alcohol substitute works well!)
14 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
Salt and pepper
12 oz. uncooked penne pasta

1. Over medium-high heat, place bacon in a heavy pot or Dutch oven; sauté 5 minutes or until bacon begins to crisp. Add ground beef to pan; cook 6 minutes or until partly browned, stirring to crumble.

2. Remove mixture from pan. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic to pan; sauté 4 minutes. Add tomato paste and sauté 1 minute. Add juice mixture; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return beef mixture to pan; stir in tomatoes, pepper and salt.

3. Cover; reduce heat to low and cook 1 hour, stirring 3 times to prevent sticking. (I prefer putting the mixture into a slow cooker and cooking it on low for 6 hours.)

4. Cook pasta according to package directions. Serve with Bolognese sauce.

Enjoy!

Kay Luckett

Kay Luckett

Kay Luckett has been in recovery since 1997. She formerly owned Memorable Occasions, a catering company in Los Angeles, where she produced and catered events for over 20 years. Her biggest thrill was catering for Julia Child. She is currently working in the recovery field and is a student at Yavapai College majoring in counseling. She may be reached at kayskitchen@inrecoverymagazine.com or using the contact form below.

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