Pepper’s Success Story
Pepper was bounced between two foster homes and a rescue group before taking up “temporary” residence at our household. He was recovering from a severe urinary and prostate infection. Pepper was also facing exploratory surgery for an unexplained at The Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital. I welcomed the opportunity to care for him, as I am especially drawn to collies in need. This was only going to be temporary…
Once Pepper recovered from the infections, he was scheduled for surgery. At the time, he weighed a scant fifty-six pounds. The day he was operated on is a day I’ll never forget! I received a call telling me that his prognosis was grim. The surgical team closed him up, believing his condition to be terminal cancer. With tears streaming down my face, I committed to fostering this special boy until the end. Caring for a dying collie was an unusual, learning experience.
Imagine our surprise to learn two weeks later that Pepper’s biopsies were negative! There was no cancer after all! We considered this our “Christmas Miracle.”
Back to the drawing board! Bloodwork revealed high levels of testosterone which should not be present in a neutered pet. This explained the enlarged prostate gland, infections and abdominal scars from a previous, partial neuter. OSU performed the next surgery to complete Pepper’s neuter as a learning experience for others. A case such as Pepper’s had never been presented in their history.
Pepper began gaining weight and feeling better. The ordeal of a near-death experience, two surgeries, twenty-two hundred dollars in medical expenses, combined with his “unique” personality needs, dimmed his adoption prospects. Very few people were willing to take a chance on him, based on his history.
I have heard that the “blueberries” are a bit different. Pepper was certainly no exception! He has been the most complex dog we have ever owned. There was a time we considered he may be mixed with Australian Shepherd or even hybrid wolf. His mannerisms were aloof, cautious and reserved. He avoided all eye contact, preferring to slink around like a cat. In a flash, he could leap off the ground on all fours – barking hysterically at anything that moved. He has pulled me to the ground with his strength.
After more than a year in our home, we chose to adopt Pepper as our own. In spite of his quirks, (male, black dogs being one of them), I felt we owed him the security and love of a permanent home. Pepper had been through so much and life had been so unfair and unkind. I flunked fostering AGAIN!
November 2007 marked our two year anniversary with Pepper. Looking back, we are amazed at how far he has progressed. His weight is a healthy seventy- six pounds and he is gorgeous! Pepper makes eye contact, wags his tail, knows his name, plays, greets us at the door and “growly talks” when happy. He, Buddy, Beauty and Clancey Kitty are great friends. It is not unusual to see them all curled up together. His body has softened up, including his ears which he can adjust sideways. He is respectful on leash and obedient to commands…far less “frantic” when he sees squirrels, although deer are a different matter!
Pepper has definitely taken on the role of our protector, surveying all doors and windows before going out. We are so happy that he is part of our family. He has turned out to be a wonderful collie!