Pepper was our beloved Yorkshire terrier. We used to liken her to the Energizer Bunny, as once she started playing she’d just keep going and going. Her favorite game was fetching whatever you threw. It would finally get to the point where you’d have to pretend to throw something, just to get her to wander off for a bit, so you could buy yourself some time to run off. Then maybe, just maybe she’d finally quit. Amazingly, she carried on like this for 15 years.

Pepper really started to show some age maybe a year and a half ago. Heck, she was 16, so it should have been expected I guess. Gradually, her hearing went, then her eyesight. It was extremely heart wrenching to see our once endlessly energetic little Pepper like this. After several examinations, the veterinarian wasn’t convinced Pepper was in any pain. She was still eating, and would still take her daily walks with my parent’s neighbor, who we were very grateful for, as she always showed our pets a lot of love.

This went on for awhile, but it got to the point where we started to question the quality of life. After some time, the veterinarian was again consulted, and this time he said that Pepper may be experiencing some discomfort. My parents, being compassionate people, decided that having Pepper put to rest might be the most humane thing to do.

As long as I can remember, whenever one of our dogs had to be put down, it was something Dad dealt with. We’d say our goodbyes, he’d take the dog to the vet, and that was it. This time, it was decided to do it at home. I also wanted to be there. Having moved out of my parent’s house about 8 years ago, I wasn’t as emotionally connected to Pepper as I’d been in the past. I wasn’t sure how this would affect me. I was the one who held her when the final shot was administered. I felt her breathing slow down, and then eventually come to a stop. We all kissed her goodbye. Mom tried to close Pepper’s eyes, but I don’t know if she succeeded. It was a bittersweet moment. Pepper was finally at rest, and she deserved that. But none of us could help but think of the many long years she’d shared with us, and how that had just ended. I couldn’t help but think she wouldn’t see Spring this year. In my 39 years, I’d never experienced death up close. I’d always avoided it.. been afraid of it. I was glad I faced it yesterday, and was able to be there with my family and for Pepper.

My parents commented that they don’t think they could handle the pain of losing another pet. I reminded them that the last 17 years had been worth it. She had the best life that she could have. She will be missed dearly.

Jeffrey from NJ