Our Dog PepperPepper was a pound puppy--part terrier of some kind. We rescued him when our two girls were just starting elementary school, and he was part of our family for nearly eighteen years. He was all black and had huge ears that stuck out from his head almost like Yoda of Star Wars fame. As he grew older, his black hair turned gray around the muzzle.
So many humorous stories come to mind when I think of Pepper. If I told them all, I might wind up with a best selling book called "Pepper and Me." Wouldn't that be nice?
Pepper liked to roam. Whenever he had the chance to escape the confines of our house, he was gone. That might have been okay except he liked to chase joggers. Nipping at the runners' heels was so much fun. He was always on the lookout for an open door. When he would get loose, I had to chase him--sometimes while I was still in my bathrobe and big fuzzy pink slippers. He would make a game of it and stand still just until I got close enough to grab him. Then he'd take off again. Finally, as a last resort, I made him wear his leash around the house. That way I only had to get within six feet of him to stomp on his leash and bring him back home. So he roamed our house dragging his leash behind him.
Another story attached to Pepper's leash occurred one afternoon when I was washing and vacuuming my car. We had a two-car garage with two doors. One of the doors was down, and I had hooked the end of Pepper's leash over the door handle. He was lying on the driveway and watched as I worked. While I was vacuuming the car, my husband who had been in the house watching TV decided to drive his car somewhere. He came into the garage and punched the button to the garage door opener on his side of the garage. I was busy vacuuming and didn't hear the other garage door going up or see the dog going up with it. Suddenly above the sound of the vacuum, I heard my husband screaming my name. I looked up just as he grabbed the dog before the poor thing was hung by his own leash. Sometimes, my husband wondered why he rescued that dog, especially on the evening the dog ate my husband's supper while we all went outside to talk with the yard man who had arrived to give us a bid on new sod.
I took Pepper to obedience school, but we both failed. In fact, I think obedience school is more for the owner than it is for the dog. He did learn to sit, stay and heel, but only if he was on a leash. Take the leash away, and that dog was gone. I think he had a Napoleon complex. If there was a big dog nearby, Pepper was sure to attack, even though the dog was four times his size.
Pepper was very protective of his territory--our house. When our girls were in middle school, we had a cleaning lady. I was teaching school and had to leave the house about half an hour before they caught the bus. On the day that our cleaning lady came, I had the girls put the dog in the basement before they went out to the bus stop. One day I got a call from the school office. I went up to the office and discovered that the cleaning lady was calling from my house while she stood on the desk in the kitchen to keep away from the dog, because the girls had forgotten to put the dog in the basement.. I had to go home and rescue her. The next time the girls forgot to put the dog downstairs, Pepper greeted her at the door, and she went backwards through the screen. That was the last of the cleaning lady.
One Christmas Pepper ate one of those huge chocolate kisses that one of the girls got for a gift, but it didn't kill him. Pepper was too tough to die from an overdose of chocolate. All of the different vets we had over the years loved him, and amazingly, he was a model citizen when we boarded him during our vacations. He learned to tolerate three different cats. In his later years, he was great buddies with our cat Allie. In the end, he lost his hearing and his eyesight to cataracts. He slept a lot and didn't bark when the doorbell rang.
He lived longer than we ever expected. He had a stroke when he was nearly eighteen while we were on vacation. So we had to have him put down while we were gone. I always felt bad about not getting to see him again, but my husband said it was better that way. We would always remember him being up and about rather than debilitated by a stroke. Through the years, Pepper brought us a good deal of irritation but a lot of laughs as well. He's been gone for nearly ten years, but we remember him fondly. Everyone in the family has a Pepper story they like to tell.
What kinds of stories do you have to tell about your pet?