anne_mikolay_120The internet amazes me! If you have a question or are looking for an illusive item, the internet brings the answer to your fingertips. Computers are so commonplace in the home we take them for granted; did you ever stop to think about the tremendous power that instrument has? The internet has the power to bring people together. Case in point: a simple, little website called “Dogpawfile” and an afghan of many colors.

I've written about Dogpawfile, which promotes itself as “facebook for dogs,” before. On Dogpawfile.com, dog lovers from around the world communicate with one another, share photos and stories about their treasured pets (birds, cats, bunnies, dogs), and in so doing, form strong friendships. Despite the fact that most Dogpawfile members have never met, time and time again, they prove the real meaning of friendship.

One beloved Dogpawfile member, Lynn, is going through a truly difficult time; her husband, Alan, has been diagnosed with cancer and is receiving medical care far away from their home. At the moment, the couple is in Houston, Texas, while Alan receives radiation and chemotherapy treatments. The couple's Dogpawfile friends rallied to help them in any way they could. Though far away in Canada, long-time member Marjorie Bilous found a unique way to literally wrap Alan in a loving hug.

An expert crafter, Marjorie asked Dogpawfile friends to crochet granny squares to be stitched together into a bright, colorful afghan for Alan. Dogpawfile members, some of whom had little or no experience crocheting, immediately gathered yarn, crochet needles, and patterns, and set to work. Granny squares were stitched in Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Colorado, and Canada; even non-Dogpawfile members in New Jersey donated granny squares to the project. In a relatively short time, Marjorie and her friends crocheted enough squares for Marjorie to join together into a beautiful afghan for Alan. Though some of the squares produced by novice crocheters were less than expertly crafted, the donations are absolutely perfect in Marjorie's eyes.

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Marjorie Bilous' dogs pose with the afghan she and Dogpawfile members made for their friend in need.

“I like to think that it is a gift unconditional love,” Marjorie said. “Our dogs brought us together. Our beloved pets have taught us that love is unconditional, and this is something we have learned to share with our fellow dog owners. Each one of these wonderful ladies has put their unconditional love and support into their squares, and now this beautiful blanket can wrap that love around our dear friend.”

Marjorie's unconditional love extends to other cancer patients at Alan's hospital in Houston. This week, the afghan and a book of photos of the crafters and their pets, will be sent to Alan and Lynn in Houston (along with knitted caps Marjorie handmade for other cancer patients in Alan's hospital). When Alan wraps himself in the afghan to keep warm, he will feel a true hug of love, support, and prayers. Like Dolly Parton's “Coat of Many Colors,” every square in Alan's afghan of many colors was pieced together with love.

Allow me to amend my opening paragraph: the human heart has the power to bring people together.

Thank you, Marjorie, for including me in the afghan of many colors, and for showing us all (one again!) what true friendship is all about.