It started on Tuesday, April 16. I was driving to a client’s house along a country road and saw a small black dog all alone. She was all black except for a patch of white on her chest. She was short and stocky with long curly hair.
I stopped the car. I was torn. I never like seeing a dog alone, seemingly lost, but this was the country. I figured she must live at one of the area’s acreages. I drove away. Watching in my rearview mirror, I saw this dog running down the middle of the road toward me. Maybe she had been dumped in the country. You always hear stories of that happening. If she lived in one of the nearby homes she was running away from it. Thinking she probably had been dumped, I stopped, petted her, put her in my car and drove to my client’s house. On the way back home I stopped at a few of the neighboring houses. No one was home at any of them so I left notes.
Not one to be stuck in the back of a car, this dog made her way to the front and sat right next to me. On the way home I realized what I thought were warts on her actually were ticks that had become engorged with her blood. I took her to a vet to have the ticks removed and get some tick prevention. I found out she was unspayed and in heat. I brought her home, put her in my back yard and called Tony to prepare him to find a new dog at home.
Tony didn’t want to get a new dog yet. I had wanted to after the death of our Dalmation Daisy last summer, but Tony thought a new dog would pick up the bad habits of our two Jack Russell terriers, Dottie and Russell. He wanted to wait till both dogs, ages 13, were gone.
So it was pretty much by accident that we once again became a three-dog family, at least temporarily. The small black dog was amazingly quiet and calm, quite unlike Dottie and Russell. After spending the first couple hours outside, we brought her in. Surprisingly, the Jack Russells tolerated her just fine.
What a nice dog she was. We started calling her Pepper because a tech at the vet’s office when he saw her asked if it was Pepper. I liked the name. She seemed to crave attention, creeping up to us for pets. Other times she walked to an area of the house and plopped down on the hard floor, seeming very content.
No one had called to claim her, so we talked about taking her to a vet for shots and spaying. We talked about buying her a collar. We took her to Petco and gave her a good bath. Her course fur became soft. We took her home and combed and brushed her coat. We took her for walks.
Tony felt, however, that we should go back to where we found her just to make sure there was no family looking for her. We found a man who pointed out a house, saying he thought she lived there. We knocked on the door but no one was home. We left a note in the mailbox with my phone number. Later in the day my phone rang and I was worried it might be her owner. It wasn’t. I was relieved. I went about my day and had left my phone in another room. When I went to check it there was the voicemail I didn’t want to get. A man said he had lost his dog and had been looking for her most the week. He described Pepper to a tee. He wanted to come and get her. I offered that if he didn’t want her we would be happy to keep her. He said she was her daughter’s dog and they wanted her back. Reluctantly, I gave him directions to my house. He said he would come right away.
Tony and I sat down by Pepper. I started to cry, realizing that she wouldn’t be a part of our family after all. We had to usher at church Saturday night. I thought about staying and greeting the owner but felt it would be too difficult. Tony and I left for church, leaving the job of giving Pepper to her owner to my mother.
As I sat at church crying, my mother called and said the young man had picked her up. She said Pepper seemed excited to see him. The man said he thought his pet, named Cara, had probably been killed. He had told me she is an outside dog and runs around the area on her own.
I personally think Pepper would have had a better life with us. She would have been an inside dog. She probably slept in a dog bed in a real bedroom for the first time in her life. But she is back with her own family, back to being an outside dog. Bye Pepper. We will miss you. Please be happy and safe.