by Jon Brooks
I found him at our neighborhood APL 6 1/2 years ago. He was an older dog already and I initially passed him by in his holding cage to look at a 1 year old beautiful German Shepherd puppy who literally seemed to be saying, "Take me home, take me home!!"
She melted my heart, so I turned to go back to inquire about her adoption and I saw Pepe for the first time in his cage, looking depressed yet still accepting of his fate, and an air of dignity about him that touched me, so my heart re-melted.
I looked back at the puppy and something told me that she would have a good home in no time, so I ended up taking him home a few days later after he was totally healed from the neutering. They had guessed his age at between 6 and 8. I was already watching
two other dogs, Floppsie and Maggie, for my housemate while she was out of town caring for grandchildren, and they all hit it off. Maggie was taking Rhymadil, and the following day I walked into the kitchen, and there was Pepe standing on top of the kitchen table trying to get into the second bottle of medication. The entire first bottle of Rhymadil (chewable) he had already eaten. That cost him several days on IV at the vets and me $750.
Next was the garbage. LOL There was a battle to keep him out of it ongoing for the rest of his life.
Then came the tumors of all shapes and sizes growing on his body. One tumor on his stomach was 5 pounds when it was removed. There were several on his neck, multiple eye styes removed, another tumor displacing a toenail which required a toe amputation. Surgery was also performed on both ears when they became infected and he broke the blood vessels in them. For a week with his head wrapped, he looked like a persian sheik. LOL
But every day, no matter what, he was always there to greet me and try to guess where I had hidden the treat I would bring home. Every walk was..with..me, not dragging me hither and yon.
Each day when I came home we would have a talk on the couch and he would sit up, propping himself off my chest with one paw, looking intently at me till I mentioned, "Okay, let's go for a walk or get a treat."
He loved being scratched where the tail base meets the butt, and would bump the chair I was sitting in to get one. His smile and demeanor were always friendly and genuine. When his hearing went, I would talk with lips pressed against the top of his head, hoping he could hear/feel the vibration of my words, "I love you. You have a good heart and a good soul Pepe." He would look at me and smile/pant and then beg a treat, of course knowing he had me wrapped around his paw.
Going home is empty now. I don't know how much longer it will feel that way. Maggie and Floppsie left before Pepe, so the house is truly empty now.
Thank you Pepe, for being my friend. I will bury your ashes in the spring when the honeysuckle blooms beneath the kitchen window, with your other friends. I will remember those evenings on the porch when God answered the prayer, "Oh Lord, give me a friend with whom I can share the silence."
Rest in peace old friend.