About 11 years ago, my kids started bugging me about getting a dog. We already had cats, but they just weren't the same as a dog. I think my daughter envisioned jogging down the street with her long haired sleek looking golden retriever type of dog. I don't know what my son envisioned. I just wanted a friendly dog to love.
One day I was reading the paper, in the pets for sale section, which lists all the breeds alphabetically. I was open to any type of dog so I read every listing. The one that caught my eye was listed under "H" and it was for a "Happy Dog." Mixed breed. Perfect. I called the number, and was told that the owner (Ted) and dog lived on the other side of town and that Ted was moving out of town and could not take the dog with him. I asked if we could set up a time to meet the dog. Sure, he said, you can pick a 15 minute time slot, and he told me what time slots were available (there weren't many left). I said well now wait a minute, I'm not gonna drive across town with my kids and have you tell me that someone else already bought the dog. No, he said, I am setting up one evening where people can visit "Pepper" and then I will decide who can get Pepper. I said ok, and the next night I drove my kids across town. We went to Ted's apartment, and there were people on their way out who had just viewed Pepper. Now we had our 15 minutes. I prayed for my kids to be good, for us to look like the perfect family for Pepper. I felt like we were all auditioning for a show. Pepper liked us and licked us, but Pepper liked and licked everyone. When our 15 minutes was up, the next couple appeared for their owner-of-Pepper-tryouts. We got home, and I sat down and waited for the phone to ring. After 15 minutes of silence, I thought oh hell, I'm calling Ted. So I did, introduced myself and said "I just want you to know our family really wants Pepper." To my amazement, he said "well you were the first to call, so Pepper is yours. I just want a few more days with her - can you get her on Saturday?" I said sure.
I forgot to mention what Pepper looked like. Before we went to view Pepper, I asked Ted what breeds she was, and he told me she was a shelty dachshund mix. I also asked how much Pepper weighed, and was told she weighed 21 pounds. I somehow expected a delicate looking dog. How wrong I was.
Well the real Pepper was very low to the ground and very, very wide. Someone we know hit the nail on the head when he said she looked like an ottoman.
So on Saturday, we got the hubby to go with us to fetch Pepper. Hubby, remember, had never met Pepper. His words when he first saw her were "oh my God." Not an enthusiastic OMG, but more of an eye-rolling what-have-you-gotten-us-into-dear OMG.
So after a sad goodbye between Ted and Pepper , we took Pepper home. We weighed her. She weighed 42 lbs, not 21. Ted had given me a bag of Bill Jac food and Pepper refused to eat it. Ted called the next day to see how Pepper was. I said she's not eating - did she usually eat this dog food? Ted said well, actually, she ate a lot of table scraps. I said did you know she weighs 42 pounds? No, he said. Ted had owned Pepper for one year and we had the vet's records from one year ago. Pepper doubled in weight in one year!
So we set off to put Pepper on a diet (a difficult task), and to welcome her into our home (an easy task). Pepper was a lover of life.
About six months after we brought Pepper home, Ted called and explained that his roommate was very ill with a brain tumor and he and his roommate were in town for a few days and it was his roommate's wish to see Pepper - could they come over now? OK, I said, and I scrambled to clean the house, a task that takes much longer than an hour. The doorbell rang 30 minutes later and only Ted was at the door. He told us his roommate was too sick to get out and could he take Pepper to the car to see him? I thought either this is the saddest thing I've ever seen, or these people are about to kidnap my dog. I said ok, and I stood at the door, thinking in my delusional state that I would run after the car if they indeed tried to kidnap Pepper. But I need not have worried; 20 minutes later, Tom returned with Pepper and said "thank you so much. This meant to much to my friend. And Pepper seems happy."
We determined that Pepper was a border collie - corgi mix. We got her weight down. Not to 21, but fairly close. Pepper loves to eat. She joined the right family.
Pepper has brought so much joy to our family and well, I admit it, especially to me. She is the only creature who is overjoyed to see me 100% of the time. She kisses me and I kiss her and when I want companionship in the garden, she comes out with me. She makes me laugh cause she loves food so much she spends her day sitting in front of her empty bowl. She loves people and all she asks for is a little attention in return for her love.
Pepper turned 14 last month. She used to follow me everywhere and she especially loved to get in bed with me (you had to hoist her up because those little legs of hers would not climb). Now she has slowed down considerably. When it's time to go out, she looks at you like you-mean-I have-to-get-up-now? Sometimes I get up in the morning and just touch her to make sure she's breathing. My happy dog has enriched our lives more than I ever would have thought possible.