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Heights woman bakes treats, sets up daily 'bone buffet' for neighborhood dogs

'Thanks for being the bright spot in a tough time,' writes one of Elizabeth Kuharick's neighbors. Kuharick's bone buffet is bringing her neighbors together.

HOUSTON — We are celebrating Heroes Nextdoor. Neighbors who are bringing their block together, like Elizabeth Kuharick. She’s the woman behind a dog bone buffet.

“It started with just a simple bowl of treats and a little bowl of water,” Kuharick said. “And then I thought, well, I can do better.”

In March, when the coronavirus pandemic became a national emergency in the U.S., Kuharick wanted to do something to uplift her neighbors.

“What is everybody doing? They’re spending time with their pets," she said.

She set out a bowl of water and some generic, store-bought dog treats. Her setup evolved into a homemade buffet of treats, basically what dog dreams are made of.

“I always wanted to go to culinary school,” said the Heights homeowner who’s learned to bake her own dog bones.

Every morning, around 7 a.m., Kuharick sets out a menu of the day. It features nearly a dozen options for neighborhood dogs. The treats are stored in sealed glass containers. Dogs normally sniff out which treat they’d like.  A fresh bowl of water quenches thirst, and a driveway full of colorful jokes, puns and clichés keeps humans entertained while dogs stop to snack.

“There’s people that will come out here at 'Yappy Hour,' and they’ll just sit. They’ll bring all their dogs out,” Kuharick said. “So many neighbors have met so many other neighbors.”

Neighbors used Nextdoor to connect with and thank Kuharick for her treat station. Some families even use Nextdoor to share photos of their dogs at Kuharick’s buffet.

Credit: KHOU

At a time when social distancing makes the perfect excuse for missed connections, Kuharick’s doubling down on her community.

“And then people would drop off notes and thank you cards. I would come home and there would just be treats on the steps. Contributions," she said.

“Dear neighbor,” wrote one woman, “thanks for being the bright spot in a tough time.”

“You make living in Houston a delight,” wrote another neighbor.

Kuharick’s received thank you cards from dogs named Lydia, Lux, Luna, Scully, Britson, Hank and Max.

“It makes me so happy when people come by and they say, 'Oh, my God! You bring so much joy everyday,'” Kuharick  said.

That’s why Kuharick bakes the spread that’s available every single day from sun up to sun down.

She’s providing certainty in uncertain times. Any neighbor who can provide that might just be everyone’s best friend.