On May 3rd 2014, our adopted dog Pepper passed away after having her for over seven years. Pepper was my brother-in-law’s dog. He found Pepper on the street in Northern California being taunted by children. She was about a year old then. A few years later, he moved to San Diego and the move did not sit well with Pepper. She was distressed and would always try to escape from their new house. A few times, the neighbors called Animal Control on them and were cited. At that time, they decided to send Pepper to the dog pound.
When I learned about it, I drove to San Diego and told them that I would bring Pepper to Los Angeles and see how she does. Sure enough, any opportunity she got, she would run away. On one occasion, my husband even had to chase her in the PetSmart parking lot. This went on for several weeks, but as time went by we noticed she would return after half an hour or so. It seemed she had warmed up to us.
On the day that she passed away, she went for a walk that morning with my husband and our other dog. When they returned, she was breathing hard. Around 12:00 PM, I drove her for her grooming appointment at 1:00 PM. It was hot that day and I remembered seeing in the corner of my eye that Pepper was sitting on the other end, in the back seat, enjoying the wind in her face. When I dropped her off at the groomer’s, she hesitated a little to go in the back, but complied anyway like a good dog that she was. I told her that I will see her later and left. Later, I received a text message from my husband that Pepper was not breathing and he was taking her to the emergency vet. I told him that I would meet him there. When I arrived, my husband told me Pepper did not make it. They tried to revive her but it was too late. I cried non-stop. The staff brought Pepper in to one of the rooms so that we could spend some time with her. She looked so pretty with her new haircut and bath.
It was the first experience we had in losing a dog who captured our heart. Pepper used to be afraid to be loved in the beginning. She would turn her head the other way when we try to get near her and hug her. Despite being emotionally distant, she was a good dog. She would make sure that before she goes inside the house at night, she would check every perimeter in the back. She was very patient and even-tempered to our other dog who is a brat. It is unusual to have these traits for a Chow.
With Pepper passing away, we felt that we would never want to have another dog again. The loss was so painful and we felt that no one would ever compare to how great Pepper was. We continued to mourn her loss and I cried every day. To help our other dog with her mourning, we spent more time with her and took her for a walk more often. Every time we came back from our walk, our dog would be the first to walk in the house and would be looking in every single room as if to say “Where is Pepper? How come it’s been so long and she’s still not back?” It was then that we decided to look into adopting a new dog so that she would have company.
We spent at least a good month, probably a couple of weeks more, visiting every shelter – Downey, San Bernardino, Carson, Pasadena, etc. There were lots of possibilities but the one that we ended up with was in Pasadena. When my husband and I first went there, we saw this white and brown dog and I thought that she was very pretty. However, we looked passed her because she had a laceration in her ear, there were many bald spots in her hair/body, and she moved so slow. There was another dog that was like her, same breed, an Australian Shepherd and Newfoundland, but black in color. They were both found together wandering in Arcadia. This dog was much more active and was in good shape and condition. We met with a counselor and met the black dog. However, we did not decide right away to adopt her and continued to look at other dogs. In the meantime, I continued to visit both dogs after work. I get off at 5:30 pm and would stop by at the Pasadena Humane Society every other day. Although I only had 10 minutes before they closed, it was more than enough for me to check in and say hello and tell staff to take care of my dog (the black one).
Then we decided to proceed in adopting the black dog. The night before, I prayed and asked Pepper to guide us on which dog we can make the most difference in. When we arrived at the shelter that morning, we were told that the black dog was adopted the day before. The white and brown dog was still there however. We met with a counselor again, this time for the white and brown dog. In addition to the obvious – the laceration in her ear and the thinning hair, we were told that she has hypothyroidism. This means that she had to take meds everyday. My husband and I left and went to lunch and talked about whether to take the dog or not given her medical condition. We were unsure of the burden it would put on us so we said that we would give it some thought. When we went home, my husband did not want to take the dog because of the time, cost, and other demands of taking care of her.
We continued again with our search but she never left my mind. Even though my husband told me not to see her anymore, I would still go after work and see her. Every now and then I would check with staff if anyone had shown any interest in her and they told me that no one else had asked about her and that we were the only ones who had. Sometimes, I would see a volunteer spend one-on-one with her at the cage. I was told that they do not take her on a walk because they don’t know how she would react to other people since she is very shy.
Despite all her conditions, my heart was hers. I pleaded with my husband to take her. Finally, he agreed. On July 5, 2014, I went to the shelter to adopt her. When they called one of the volunteers to bring her to the office, I saw her energy go up and saw the youthfulness in her. It was then that I named her Mia, which means mine. When we got to the house, she was very timid and afraid. Our dog would gnarl at her and she was clearly frightened. Her first week, she would not eat as she was still very timid and shy. When we took her to the doctor, it was also discovered that she had ear infection so we had it treated. We bought more meds for her hypothyroidism because we were only given a few days of supply. We were told to return in 30 days to do another blood work, costing about $300, to re-evaluate if the dosage is correct.
After 30 days, Mia had her blood work done. When we got the result, we were told that she did not have hypothyroidism and to stop giving her her meds. By then, the laceration in her ear had healed and the ear infection was gone. We also noticed that her hair started growing back and it is now full. Soon, she really developed an appetite and loved to eat rice and chicken. When we took her for a walk, she was a good walker. We did not even have to train her. She walks next to you or if she was in front, she makes sure she looks back every now and then. She never poos or pees during walks. She’s too classy to do that in public. She waits until we get home and does it in the backyard. We took both dogs to the beach and discovered that she was a good swimmer! In September, we participated in the Wiggle Waggle walk and she walked with pride and led the walk in front of us. It was amazing how the signs of her condition were wrong. I guess it took finding a home and having a family for her to feel safe and loved again. In the end, I believe that Pepper led us to her!
Mia and Ginki
Do you have a PET OF THE MONTH?
Do you have an extraordinary pet with a special story? We’d love to hear from you! Submit your pet to be the Centinela Feed pet of the month! In addition to your pet’s story and photos being featured on our website, each Pet of the Month will receive a Centinela Feed gift card worth $20!
- Please include your name, as well as the name of your pet.
- Remember: The longer the story, the better! We want to hear as much about your pet as possible.
- Larger, high-resolution photos are best.
- Submissions must have a valid first name, last name and e-mail address, as this is how we will contact you should your pet be chosen. Submissions without these details will not be eligible. We will not share this information.
- Only one pet per month will be selected. Winners are selected at random. You may enter multiple pets. Once you have entered your pet, there is no need to re-enter. Multiple entries of the same pet will not be eligible. Please do not enter a pet that is not yours! Such submissions will not be eligible.
- If your pet is chosen, we will contact you via e-mail. Gift cards will be mailed. Gift cards are valid at any Centinela Feed location. Gift cards are not redeemable for cash value.
- Contest not for employees of Centinela Feed.
Ready to submit your story? Click here!