Today I say goodbye to some “one” who has been a faithful friend and comforter during some of the darkest periods of my life. The “one” isn’t a person though she was more human than most humans I’ve ever known. She’s my beloved dog “Pepper.”
She entered my life when I was at a rescue center trying to make arrangements for another dog. I had already tried to adopt a boxer that turned out to be dying from distemper. After doing everything possible, even the absurd, to try to keep Nugget alive I was forced to bring her back to be euthanized. It was then that a homeless woman arrived and begged me to take her dog so she wouldn’t have to give her to a place that couldn’t promise they wouldn’t put her down if they couldn’t find a home for her. Watching the despair in the eyes of a woman who was already suffering great hardship I could not turn her pleas away. Pepper was certainly not my choice, but she was God’s and I thank Him for knowing better than I what I would need.
Of course I share many of the same wonderful memories other pet parents do, playing in the yard, days at the beach, watching as she patiently let the babies tug on her ears and tail, or stand on her while she tried to lay in peace and take a nap. One of the great memories will always be the simple routine of coming home after a long day, walking in the door, and being met by a ball of fluff, tail spinning at high speed, excited that I’ve finally come home (in stead of wagging her tail back and forth she would spin it in circles.)
Later, during a period when God, in his mercy, was allowing everything, and I do mean everything, to be stripped away to allow me to see how completely I need Him, she was the one thing He allowed to remain in my immediate life, for awhile. Then, eventually even she would leave me. But through the deep generosity of my Dad and his wife, who would later take Pepper in when I could no longer give her a home, I was blessed to at least keep her from the same fate that the homeless woman feared years before.
I watched over time as she bonded to my dad as her “dad” but nevertheless she would always show me that she was my girl, sometimes heartbreakingly, like when I went to leave and she would try to get out the door to go with me, or just sit there and look at me with those sad, disappointed eyes.
Only God and I know how her love for me, even when I could do little for her, kept me from falling into utter despair. How she would sense my grief and stay close until my spirits would improve, even trying to lick my tears away at times.
Pepper, you were more faithful and compassionate than most humans I’ve ever met, including myself, showing the love that us fallen humans are rarely capable of. Though I cannot prove it, I believe some day when I reach eternity, part of what will make heaven just that, will be a fluffy black lab, tail spinning in circles, excited that I’ve finally come home.