My beloved dog walker has been battling with cancer - and it sounds like she's losing. What can I give her and her partner as a Christmas/New Year's gift in the midst of this?
So, back in 2005, I asked this question
and Metafilter said, "get a dog walker instead!"
And I did and she's been amazing. I was one of the first clients to her start up business and I've seen it grow and extend, but she's always gone out of her way for my dog, my tortoise (when we're out of town) and our family. She's given me mugs and tote bags with my dog on it. She once gave me a painting of my dog's paw print - like a baby footprint - that I cherish. She got my dog over her fears. She taught her to heel. When she was going for her dog training certification, she borrowed our dog and trained her to do basic tricks. She's let me in the house when I've locked myself out, even when my dog wasn't with her. Her partner (who joined the business when it got bigger) and her have been amazing to us. And our dog loves them.
She's been battling cancer for a while. I've made supportive noises, but I honestly don't know what to say or do. Now we've found out she's doing hospice at home and that things are not looking good.
In the past, we've given them champagne and cookies, PetSmart gift cards, gourmet food basket things. But this year it all seems wrong. Also, I don't believe they have dogs of their own anymore (with so many around for boarding) and I know she's been eating differently for her health. Money just seems incredibly crass or like a tip, rather than a gift. Slippers and a robe seem weird to give someone if you don't know if they already have them.
I don't know these people well, but I adore them and appreciate them so much. They've made an incredibly positive impact in our lives.
Any ideas of what I can do for them - especially in the guise of a Christmas gift rather than something more morbid?