"Are y'all going to 'have him put down'?"
I'm still surprised whenever people ask,
although hearing it now no longer draws a frown.
"No, he represents too much sentiment from our past."
Pepper, you see, is a rather old Shih Tzu,
rescued a decade back by my in-laws Willard and Nellie.
"If y'all don't want that dog, then we certainly do!",
seeing young Pepper staked out in a storm, wet and chilly.
Thus Pepper came from a life of abuse, neglect, and need
to share the warmth of the country home of Nellie and Willard.
Out of gratitude, or just being the nature of his breed,
Pepper gave unending affection -- fair payback, all considered.
Pepper thrived as their favorite pet, loved and loving,
for year upon year. Then three years ago at the death
of Willard, Pepper truly mourned, for weeks always moping.
Then, oh, how he gave Nellie pleasure until her last breath!
Sadly, this January Pepper came to his third, and last, home.
This docile, loveable dustmop of a dog elicits so much emotion,
from pity.. (he barks only when dreaming, but never, never awake,
since as a puppy he was beaten to keep quiet for neighbors' sake)
.. to gratitude (how he enriched Nellie's life could fill a tome).
This little dog has surely earned our love and lifelong devotion.