Remembering Peppyr - For about a year, Peppyr had been feeling the ill effects of old age. We celebrated her 15th birthday this month, with special dog treats from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. But, her worsening arthritis, the loss of some forty percent of her weight, an increasing inability to stand, and a dramatic lessening of appetite, led us to have her put to sleep this past Friday. She was a great companion and the first dog I've ever had. The sadness felt by Cara Lynn, Eric and me is certainly a testament of how easily it was for us to project some of ourselves onto her.
I have a great many fond memories of Peppyr. I took her hiking a lot. I can still see her trying to hop up the steep steps on her first hike on the Fatman's Loop at Mt. Elden. She was to the top of Mt. Humphreys at least twice. We would often hike up, and jog back, along the trails at Sandy Seep and the Inner Basin. Our longest hike together was from the Inner Basin to the Mt. Elden trailhead parking lot. We were both tired and sore for some days afterwards.
She came along on many camping trips to the North Rim - Saddle Mountain, Jumpup Canyon, and Crazy Jug were favorite spots to camp. The photo, on the right, shows us looking over a benchmark site above Hack Canyon in 2004. I am reasonably sure that she was the first dog to walk across the old Navajo Bridge, below Lees Ferry, as we happened by there right after the new bridge opened for business (but, before the ceremony marking its use). I also took her on some road trips - a couple of times to visit family in Denver, and once on a trip to Fargo. But, mostly we spent our time together hiking, especially in Flagstaff.
There are tons of humorous moments that I recall - like her chasing after snowballs in the deep snow of the front yard. She would stick her nose into the spot where the snowball had landed and try to fathom what had happened to it. She never did catch the LED pen light shining on the carpet. Nor, did she ever manage to catch her tail, as I recall. Also, she was great at holding a dog biscuit on her nose until I allowed her to lean over, let it slide off, and eat it.
I got Peppyr from the Humane Society in August of 1992. She, and two siblings, were the last of a large litter available for adoption. Exactly what kind of dog she was, besides "Humane Society Special," was unclear. She had a cool distinctive white tip to her always-curly tail, and her paws looked like someone had dipped her into white paint. The short hairs on her spine would shoot straight up when she got into an attack mode, which wasn't very often. She was very good at "fetch" but not so good at "let go."
The decision to put Peppyr to sleep was not an easy one, but we'll have many good memories to keep with us. During our final visit to the Canyon Pet Hospital, I should also note that the reception staff, the techs and our vet, Dr. Chris, showed us a great deal of kindness, consideration and professionalism.