I don’t know my dog’s date of birth or any information about how he came to be homeless. His age was estimated when he was picked up and admitted to the shelter. So I celebrate his adoption day each year.
Seven years ago I was in need of a dog. At the county shelter, I entered the doors that led to a row of dogs. I saw a small black and white dog alone and read that was his first day at the shelter. All of the other dogs were close to the front of their enclosures but he was way at the back. I started talking to him and tried to coax him to come nearer. He started to come over and over again, but was scared to cross the hump at the center divider. I don’t know why I didn’t move on and look at the rest of the dogs. I sat there and talked to the dog without a name. I talked softly to him until he finally found the courage to come up to the bars. I put a hold on him, but there was a 5 day waiting period to allow someone to claim him before he would be available for adoption.
When I came back, he was right up front like the others. That’s the day I snapped my first photo of him. His tag looked enormous on his small body.
I signed the adoption agreement and named him Pepper. They put a new sign on his cage that he was adopted and would be neutered the next morning. He would be ready to leave that afternoon after recovery time.
Finally I could take him home! I introduced him to his new life with a house and yard to explore, toys, and blankets. As our first days together passed and we got to know each other, one thing about him stood out. I never heard him bark. When the mailman was at the door he didn’t make a sound or even move; he just looked at me with wide eyes. I began to think something was wrong and he couldn’t bark. What had he been through?
One day we were taking a walk, and suddenly he barked at some loud kids across the street. He had a voice! And thereafter he barked at the mailman, the UPS man, and anyone walking by his house. He knew this wasn’t just some place he was staying– this was his home and he would protect it. He was home for good and not alone anymore.
He discovered the world of fashion:
Posing in his youth, and now in maturity…
My little dog with the big bark.