Yesterday we had to say goodbye to a good friend and fellow member of the family - our dog Pepper. Pepper has been a part of our family for the past 14 years. He came into our life a few months before Jordan was born. He was a Border Collie / Akita mix (we think) and when he was a puppy he had dark fur with a sprinkling of white reminding us of pepper - thus his name.
He wasn't always the most obedient dog. He was just a puppy when I planted several citrus trees in our back yard. He would dig around the tree roots and eat the sprinkler head off the drip line. I replaced many drip heads and tried a variety of solutions to curb his appetite. It took many tries before I was able to come up with a way to stop him.
Then there were the nights when he wanted to come in the house. He would sit by the back door and perform a half-bark until someone would let him in. I'm sure our neighbors loved it!
He would occasionally sneak out and roam the neighborhood. One time, he got out at night and we couldn't find him in the morning. We were all feeling some despair so we gathered as a family and offered a prayer to our Heavenly Father that He would help us locate Pepper. Not long afterwards, a friend of ours recognized Pepper as he was bounding along the side of the road having crossed at least one busy intersection. He was soaking wet but otherwise unharmed. We felt blessed and once again gathered as a family to express our thanks to God for His tender mercy in bringing our dog home.
He loved to run, wrestle, and play. One of his favorite activities was going for a walk in the neighborhood. He would practically drag you around, sniffing and checking out the sights. He loved our family and was a great watch dog. He hated to take a bath and he very much disliked going to the vet. He was a big dog (around 75 lbs) but he was gentle and patient with our children as they grew. He took a lot of abuse from toddlers over the years, probably more than we realized. But through it all, he was a true friend. He was always there to lend an ear for your troubles - there were many times when we would find an upset child outside talking things over with Pepper.
He had slowed considerably over the past couple years. His hearing had diminished and his joints gave him problems. But he was still always happy as he would struggle to his feet and make his way to you for an affectionate lick. We loved Pepper and he loved us. He will be missed.