One of a litter of six Jack Russell Terrier pups born on October 15 in the 1,997th year of our Lord Jesus Christ, Pepper Trust became a part of our household on December 15th of that same year.
Not the usual color for his breed, Pepper was predominantly black with some tan and white around his face and on his legs. True to his breed, he was as one acquaintance put it “all spit and vinegar.” Sometimes his temperament was made known by his antics. So as not to beatify him, let it be known that another way he showed that temperament was by a snarl or growl directed even toward his masters. Nevertheless, he was beloved of them and will be missed!
A few memories and highlights of his lifespan of eighteen years and two months (he was given a little cod liver oil every day) include the way he would race in a U-shaped course from one side of his backyard to the other side, especially when his favorite postman was on hand to be the target of his high pitched bark.
In a similar way our approximately twenty pound pet who loved to go for rides “ran to Florida” (from New Jersey!) a couple of times in a way: constantly darting from one side of the back seat of the car to the other for virtually the entire trip, barking at various objects of interest on Interstate 95 and other roadways. As a pup and young adult dog, he would get a good grip on a tug toy with his strong jaws and his entire body could be held aloft by it – he would not let go!
His second name reflects his master’s comparison of the trust and loyalty of a dog to the confident dependence which those who know and love Jesus the loving Savior of the world have toward their heavenly Father and Lord. The diminutive “Peps” was only one of the nicknames with which he was dubbed, some fanciful and fleeting, others more abiding.
Pepper’s decline began in the last year or so of his life. His bark went silent, various minor maladies set in, his faculties diminished, and there was a marked, general slowing down in all his behavior. Incontinence, severe tooth decay, and the onset of hip dysplasia were the final blows to his well being which led to the decision to put him down as the saying goes. It was very painful to us his masters, but we are persuaded it was the best and most merciful thing for Pepper.
At approximately 5:10 P.M. on December 15th in the 2,015th year of grace, our beloved pet passed away very peacefully by way of preliminary sedation followed by a lethal injection administered tenderly and professionally by a veterinarian. Pepper was interred the following morning in his own back yard.
The following was posted on Facebook shortly after Pepper died:
Keith Graham is this day better prepared to face whatever even gloomier shadows might lie ahead. He Whose rod and staff bring unfailing comfort is with us even now. He will restore our souls and lead us by still waters again. By His grace we do not fear this evil. With Ecclesiastes 3:21 in mind, we grieve this loss in the presence of the One Who will restore all things. Good bye, sometimes ornery but always loved little dog with a middle name!
Pepper Trust of the Grahams, October 15, A.D. 1997 – December 15, A.D. 2015
“The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” (Genesis 9:16)
previously published elsewhere, December 17, A.D. 2015