When I think of how often I said she was a nuisance, how I complained about giving her walks, how many times I wished we’d never gotten a dog, I cry. She was so good. She was so sweet and never bad. Her name was Pepper—Peppercheanie actually, but for short, we called her Pepper. She was speckled with brown on top of a white background of fur. Her whole head was plain brown, and smooth. Her ears were the softest and silkiest ears I have ever felt. And her eyes. They looked up at you in their sad way, sweet and sad and almost sorry. We loved her—I still do. Traces of her lie all around. Her couch, her bed, her bowls, her collars, her smell, her hair…she was taken to the rescue for help. We were called to say goodbye right after my church music rehearsal. As soon as we opened the door, she got up and wagged her tail. As we gathered round, my mom cried openly, my sister cried silently, and the rest were keeping our tears for later. We soothed her and sat down beside her, lathering her with all the care and love we ever had for her. We shared memories of that first day she came to us. I would see smiles through unshed tears. And a lump would grow in my throat.
I will never see her again—that thought hurt me so much. And I prayed. I prayed hard. I begged God to spare her, to bring her back again; she wasn’t the terrible dog that I called her. As I looked down at her, she looked up at me, her eyes sad, but content, her breathing calm; it was almost as if she said “I forgive you; I still love you, and I know you love me.” Now, as I’m writing this, I don’t know whether they’ve put her down or not, whether she’s still alive, asleep, or dead. I miss her.
They said they would send us her ashes. And I hated it when they said that. I don't want her to fade out of my life. I remember her so well now; I still love her. It's like she's still real to me. And I don't want that to change. I want her to be as vivid in my memory as she was when she lived. She was meant to be alive, not...
I wouldn’t have missed having her for the world. Tonight, I’ll cry myself to sleep, thinking about her. But I know that God let our family have her for a good long ten years. He let us enjoy her. So how can I complain?
Pepper: our dog; loved her family so much, and was greatly loved back.
Written the night she died, August 3, 2017