The Pepper Story – Early on
My wife Marilyn and I were just beginning to settle into our recently empty nest and make plans for our retirement. She was about to turn 62 and I had already begun collecting Social Security, such as it was, several years previous. 2015 had been a pretty decent year with no hospital time on the clock for either of us (yay!). All of our kids had found lives of their own, or so I thought. More on that later. We were left with the seemingly indestructible Siamese tomcat, Tuffy. Sorry, there is no gender-neutral term for a tomcat, not even a neutered one! We move on… Tuffy, as most indoor-outdoor felines are wont, failed to turn up for dinner for several days. After several weeks of searching, posting and checking shelter, Tuffers was still missing and presumed deceased. He had managed to survive beyond the generally accepted limit for outdoor tomcats of 8-10 years to the ripe old age of 16. He left a hole in our hearts and our lives.
Early in December, our next-door neighbor Gary Myers asked if we might be interested in giving a home to a 5 year old male toy poodle. He volunteered at the senior center. There was a lady there with early onset Alzheimer’s who was being transferred to constant care and couldn’t take Pepper with her. The little guy was about to become homeless. To tell you the truth, we weren’t all that excited to have a new furbaby in our lives just yet but we decided to interview Pepper to keep Gary happy. Long story short, we both fell in love with Pepper at first sight. He rode home with us that night. He quickly wrapped Marilyn around his tiny paws, slept with her and spent every waking minute with her when she was home. There was only one hiccup in the whole Pepper/Dave/Marilyn relationship and that was his total dislike of riding in a vehicle of any kind. The only sound out of him the day we took him home was a constant ear-piercing whine all the way home. What the hell have we gotten ourselves into? The instant we exited the van, the whining stopped. This was a constant source of disappointment to both of us and an additional stress to Marilyn because she was the one to take him to the groomer. A miserable ride for both of them, I’m sure, in both directions. All of us dreaded grooming day.
Aside from his hate/hate relationship with the automobile, Pepper was the model companion dog. Unlike most dogs in his size and breed category, he didn’t yap at much of anything. He was sociable with most all beings including cats, other dogs and humans. A short stint of crate training corrected the spotty potty training (leftover from the senior center) and all was good at 1310 N 2nd. Of course this whole situation was bound to change…