We took our family dog to the vet today to be put down. She was a tibetan spaniel and australian terrior cross, a sweet little dog with a rabbity-soft black and white coat and a brushy tail that curled up to her back. She had become very sick with cancer and was obviously losing the battle against the horrible lumps which had taken over her small body.
She had the sweetest puppy-face, right up until the end, with a petite black nose, folded over velvety black ears, and a little black bottom lip which looked like a shiny strip of licorice. Her "rocky road" belly was spotted pink, brown and white.
We used to joke that she was more like a cat than a dog - when you called her, she would come in her own time, and she was never terribly obedient - but in truth she hated cats. And joggers. And possums, which were her sworn enemies. She spent many long nights letting her outrage be heard as the possums cavorted out of reach in the trees and over the roof of our house.
Pepper was there when I spent hours out in the backyard researching, writing, and day-dreaming; my tears fell on her head when my heart was broken; she gave me comfort when I felt misunderstood and isolated from my family.
I still expect to hear her little nails as she trots across the decking out the back, and to see her expectant face at the window when she wants to come inside, breath from her little black nose frosting the glass.
A much loved member of the family, she will be dearly missed. If there is a heaven, she is there with Biff and Max from next door, and grandpa is sneaking her biscuits under the table.