Life changes quickly. It’s fragile, it’s joyous, it’s scary. We never know which emotion the day will bring. Today was a sad day for us. We had to put our Ridgeback Mix Pepe down. To understand our journey with Pepe, you really have to know the story.
In 2006 we decided to rescue our first dog. We lived in Olde City in Philly and lived in a condo. It was a beagle/shepherd mix named Peyton. We would actually get the dog in January of 2007 and rename her Mia. Days before we went out to Lancaster to rescue her, we found out Rebecca was pregnant with our first child. She looked at me and asked if we should still get the dog. I told her absolutely! Days later our journey of rescuing dogs began.
Right before our first child was born, we moved out to Bucks County, Pa. We were living in a townhouse while we were building our dream home. In October 2008 we moved in! It was a beautiful neighborhood, very rural, with woods, ponds and horse farms all over. One day in 2012, we were in the backyard with our now 3 kids and our dog Mia, and we saw a big, what looked like 100 lb. dog playing with Mia. On his collar, it said his name was Pepe. We called the owner, he lived not far from us, and later he came to pick up this extremely sweet and friendly dog.
Over the next few months, Pepe kept showing up on a daily basis. Rebecca or I would call the owner, tell him we had his dog, and he’d come over, often not until the next day, to get him. We set up a bed in the garage and would often tell him if he doesn’t want the dog to let us know, we’d find him a home. He would always say he has a 4-year-old and they wanted the dog. One day the UPS guy was dropping off a package and started petting Pepe and calling him by his name. We asked how he knew him, and he told us he’d pick the dog up 6/7 miles away all the time and take him home. That was weird to hear. Our neighbors would come over and do the same, and tell us he spent days at their house in the past waiting for the owner to come get him. Pepe stopped sleeping in our garage and became a welcome member of our home.
That summer, Rebecca and her friend were driving by the home Pepe lived at and they saw him tied up with 6 feet of give on a chain. It was an 100-degree day and he was stuck on the pavement of the driveway. The two of them went crazy on how mean and wrong that was. Like a typical day, Pepe would somehow get away and come to our house to be with us. This happened pretty much all the time. During the winter, the same thing was happening; keeping him outside and chained to a very small area on freezing cold, icy, snowy and rainy days. Rebecca and Krista decided they were going to create a plan to steal the dog and adopt it out to one of Krista’s relatives. As I heard this, I told them they were NOT stealing the dog! They had a plan, a scheme, and they were going to save this dog. I continually told them they are crazy, you cannot steal a dog, and this is ridiculous. As funny as I thought it was, they were going to do this!
I was getting ready to go to an appointment one day, and I called Rebecca to check in before my meeting started. She answered the phone and said, “Sorry I can’t talk, the Police are here.” I responded with, ‘Did you steal the f@#!%$ dog??” and she hung up. I called my appointment; I said I was in his parking lot but need to hear back from Rebecca as we are having an issue.
The first time we let Pepe in the house and on the couch 2012
Steam is pouring out of my ears. She and Krista stole the dog and got caught! Un freaking real!!! About 10 minutes later she called m and said, “Hey what’s up?” “What’s up??? Did you steal the freaking dog????” She then told me she did not, the police were over because the owner of the dog had just put a shotgun in his mouth and blew his head off in front of the dog and his 4-year-old son. They were going to take the dog to the SPCA, but Rebecca told them we would take care of him and find him a home. The Police called the devastated family and they gave the OK.
We were going to find him a wonderful home to treat him the way he should be treated, and one day after the incident I told Rebecca we found him a home, ours. He was our protector. He loved us more than words can explain. When the kids were little and I would wrestle with them, he would stand over and start to growl to let me know he would protect them. If someone broke into our house, Mia would lick them like crazy, Pepe would never allow anything to happen to us. He was meant to be with us, and we were a more complete family having him. We were all meant to have each other.
In 2013 when I got sick and was diagnosed with brain cancer, he never left my side, ever. I would actually yell at him sometimes as I went to stand up and he’d be on me or at my feet. I’d trip on him sometimes. I knew deep down he wanted me to know he was there for me. It was love, it was mutual, and it was real. As the years went on, Pepe was the missing link to our family. In 2018, Pepe started to have some issues. He was losing sight, hearing, and his age started to set in. We got a puppy, Brooklyn, to soften the sting on our children when the inevitable would eventually happen. Over those 2 years, three times we brought him to the Vet where we sure we were going to say goodbye to him. All three times he came home. As the time progressed, he became a shell physically of who he was, but our connection and love for each other never wavered. That was real and it was pure.
Today, March 19, 2020, we took Pepe to the Vet to allow him to rest in peace. We think he was about 15 years old. He would no longer deal with the pain, the confusion, and to go to a better place. All of us went, and all said our goodbyes. We know he’s leaving us physically, but he will always be with us in some fashion. He now is able to walk again with my father in law Larry. They can go through the woods like when he was young. He can look down on us and always protect us like he always has, just from a different position. I love you buddy, as much as you were thankful that we did for you, that doesn’t even compare to what you have done for us. I’m so sorry what you had to go through, but the last 8 years having you with us was a gift; a gift that we will always own. Thank you Pepe.