Jan 13, 2011

Princess Pepper T. Lincecum

She's 11 years old and looks it. Greying muzzle, warty, lumpy, wonky hips, but one doesn’t really see all that. One sees that happy tail, that beautiful face reaching up for touch, and the carefree body wiggle when she spots pretty much anyone.
                 She wasn’t that open when she came to live at my house. It’s been a new and wondrous adventure for all of us; myself, my two little guys - Munchie and Mutley, also from Give a Dog a Bone - and her especially. After having led an unbelievably barren life for most of her 11 years, moving into a home with furniture, music, television, other people, doggie beds and water bowls everywhere, and in particular, enough food, she’s well on her way to being a regular dog. All new to her.
                 She eats regularly, something else new, and when she first began to recognize doggie meal preparation indicators, my heart stung at the sight of her drool on the floor. She was so very anxious. After around three months, she still gets a bit worried around meal time, but her progression from high level anxiety to almost mere nervousness is so gratifying.
           She rearranges the dog beds frequently, and curls up in the smallest of beds. She hops in pleasure and heads for the front door when she spies her leash in my hand. She is able to settle now, unlike when she first moved in, unable to relax.       
She loves riding in the car. She loves going on walks.  Her favorite place to go turned out to be Bernal Hill, as soon as she discovered the joy of trolling for gophers. If staring into holes on the hill for long periods of time was an Olympic event, the Princess would win the gold medal hands down.                
            She’s slowed down some, my theory being that she finally feels safe, and I think that if she spoke English, she would now be able to define the word “home”. She IS safe, she is cherished, the boys are comfortable around her, and she with them. I do not allow her to make mistakes with them. We have had, of course, some “faux paws”, not at all unexpected, but our learning curve continually steadies.
            When we go upstairs at night, she hums softly as I kneel and tuck her into her bed, covers up to her neck. Bedtime rituals have developed. Pepper sleeps on two soft beds, with a lovely heavy quilt covering her.                                                                   
         I feel almost compelled to photograph her. I have to document that she has a life, that she is a good weight now. Not just for me, but for her shelter family, who have greatly loved and cared for her. Each of us remembers being stricken by our first sight of her, every rib visible, her bony skull, her graying muzzle.                                                                                                    We’re well aware that Pepper’s life, her life now, is to be recognized and cheered. I don’t need to say why that is so. Soon she’ll just be a regular dog. I can’t think of anything better.

 For more on Pepper and from whence she hailed:                   
 read incorrigible animal lover Eileen Mitchell's column in the San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgif=/c/a/2010/12/29/DDAV1GUCSQ.DTL
              "Give a Dog a Bone cares for animals in custody"
  (Please note Pepper’s unique necklace.
     It’s made of 2010 World Series tix.
        The Princess is a diehard SF Giants fan.
            She looooves Orange Fridays in particular)  
 - AND -  from the January 2011 issue of the Bay Woof:
    (scroll down Happy Tails for Princess Pepper T. Lincecum )

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