Saturday morning our farm dog Pepper got hit by a car. She has aged a lot this summer and her habit of crossing the road in front of our house to do her business on the other side of the road caught up with her. A car hit her and never stopped. True to Pepper’s nature she made it back up to the house and to her perch at the top of the steps but her leg was injured. We watched her and checked on her hoping she was just battered but Monday we came to realize that this time, Pepper wasn’t going to just snap out of it.
Years ago as the kids were at the bus stop at the end of our driveway a snowmobile barreled down the ditch. Pepper ran towards the snowmobile thinking she was protecting the kids when a car came along and hit her. She went for an awful roll end over end. She spent two days in the dog house until I made Hubby help me get her out to take her to the vet. Finally, he dumped her out of the doghouse and carried her into the back of the Suburban. She TOTALLY freaked out being in the vehicle and ended up jumping out an open window. The dog we thought was horribly injured suddenly seemed just fine.
From that time on, Pepper hasn’t quite been the same. She was still a good and faithful dog but she seemed to have a brain injury. Her eyes didn’t focus quite the same. She wasn’t as people friendly either. She became deathly afraid of confined spaces or entering buildings. Try as we would, we could never get her to sleep inside the garage. She wouldn’t even put a paw in the garage. Thankfully in the winter she made a bed for herself in the commodity shed on some bales of straw. Yet she was always good to everyone in our family.
That injury left Pepper arthritic and at the beginning of summer we noticed that she had a large lump on her inner rear thigh. We knew that Pepper’s time was numbered. As the summer progressed and we bought the house we started to wonder more and more about Pepper, seeing more smaller lumps appear and knowing that she’d never make the transition to moving to town.
Sunday as a family we talked about Pepper trying to decide what was best for her. It was so hard. I watched my grown boy who loved and cherished Pepper as his childhood buddy say that he too thought that we needed to put her to sleep if she wasn’t better on Monday. Pepper always was “his dog”. She always liked him best. The other kids that were here agreed. We all know that Pepper is 13 years old. We all know that the arthritis is getting worse and worse. We all know those lumps she has growing on her underside can’t be good. By mutual agreement, we decided if by Monday she wasn’t better we’d call the vet and have them come to the farm to put her to sleep.
Thankfully I had some pain pills left from when Ruby had surgery that we were able to get Pepper to them to keep her comfortable.
Monday came the vet wasn’t available so she came today. Today we put Pepper to sleep…a year and 5 days after Gracie died. I am so thankful that we have the best vet and the best vet assistant. They were kind, considerate and so respectful of Pepper. You never really know how much you can love your vet until you have to put your dog to sleep.
It is so sad…so sad. I so miss walking the field paths with these two-Pepper and Gracie. They kept me safe and kept perfect company as we walked.
All the time when we’d walk, Pepper would stop right here, look at me and wait to see what direction I would go…if I was going to turn towards home or continue down the path on a longer walk. Sadly Pepper Girl, this is where we split up. You go home. I have to continue down the path.
Pepper was such a part of the farm….such a part mine and the kids’ lives. You were forever faithful and if dogs go to heaven, I’ll see you there Pepper Girl.