Writing my way through this is the only healthy way for me to honour the devotion she showed me. It's what I do and it's what she did. And it seems it did not go unnoticed all this time by my family. The outpouring of condolences from them, the tears, the fondness in their recollections of her as a "lovely old lady", the happy stories of being held captive to play ball with a dog who could fetch and return far longer than anyone ever wanted to play with her have helped to round out the significance Steve and I have always felt about her place in our home.
To me, my dog was always home.
We rescued her from a shelter just two years after Steve and I moved in together. I was 20, Steve was 23, the day we went and chose her out of those 35 other full cages. Steve will turn 40 in April and I will be 37 this year. At our wedding 13 years ago, Rusty (his cat) and Pepper were immortalized by the Best Man in the speeches. Everybody knew who they were. Pep got about with us like "one of the buddies" and anyone who came over had to acknowledge the dog. If I didn't mention her and they otherwise didn't take any notice of her, Pepper would make sure of it at some point.
From the moment she let go of her last breath last Thursday, my mind has been flooded with all of those wonderful, rich memories of my faithful dog.
I am keeping my head above water quite well now. The past three days have seen me break down at least every hour. Today is better. I am distracting my tired brain with some excellent comedy podcasts and also Tina Fey's "Bossypants" audio book - awesomely funny! - because every song is too sad and leaves too much room for my mind to wander back to Pepper. No, I'll do it this way. With distract and deflect tactics.
Her life was my joy. I want to be happy when I remember what she gave me.
This will not be the last post on the subject. And again, while on the one hand I'm sorry for that if you a) don't particularly care for dogs or b) am already rather tired of my bleating on the subject, on the other hand I say.... it's a big wide web out there with a zillion other blogs. I won't be offended in the slightest if you can't read mine for the time being.
But like all other times since starting this space, I turn here to express myself and connect with like souls.
I have to do this.
For now, I'll leave you with an absolutely delightful video I found on the weekend whilst cataloguing every digital photo we ever took of her. Oh yes... a slideshow is a must. And it's in the works but might be slow coming to fruition, as much as my heart and energy permits me to work on it.
What an honour it was to have her in my life.
The following footage is typical Pepper. The slight "I wanna say something but I won't" huff. The doleful expression. The paw on me in thanks for me saying "good girl".... even though I wasn't talking to her this time. We were in the part-regretful, part-trying-to-be-firm transition phase of shuffling her off her top spot - she had to make room for the LGBB. I am doing a separate post on that soon, because it is a huge thing for the loyal animals of a long-term TTC'er (TTC=Trying To Conceive) to step aside.
In this video, you can hear me (embarrassingly using baby-talk with the dog) trying to break it to Pep that I won't always be talking to her any more when there are no other adult humans around....
oh and p.s. if you were wondering, "Reenie" as in Pepperini, was her nickname - she had several, but this one stuck (even Lol called her Reenie).