Sweet Home New Mexico: Pet considered part of our family

My column this week is written with a heavy heart. Our family dog, a medium-sized black-lab mutt named Pepper, who wore a blue collar, escaped from our home last week and has yet to turn up. I have plastered pictures and information about him on every Clovis-related Facebook group I know of. I have made multiple checks at the animal shelter, and have even put up flyers. So far, nothing. I think my kids assume he is on some kind of extended vacation.

It’s crazy to me we even have a dog at this point in our lives. I decided, pretty much on my own, that we would have no dogs, cats, hamsters, or even fish until all of my kids were out of diapers and bathing themselves. I did not want one more living, breathing thing in my care with my husband’s demanding career and frequent TDYs. There is only so much of me to go around, right?

Well, so much for all that. We adopted him from a friend who was relocating, and our whole family fell in love with him. My two-year-old will feed him his dog food one single piece at a time and loves to pull on his ears. He is so tolerant of all the kids’ antics.

His worst habit was when he liked to bolt from us when we weren’t paying good attention to him. When that would happen, I’d load up the kids and drive around to his usual haunts until I found him. On a rare occasion, I wouldn’t be able to flush him out of his hiding spots and he’d show up at our back door a few hours later, filthy and with a guilty look on his face. But he always came home; only he didn’t last week.

I keep going to the animal shelter with his leash in my hand and keep leaving, bawling. I just want my dog back. Even though he is (was) a lot of extra work, I’m now from the camp that every kid needs a dog. Dogs are the most loving, forgiving, loyal and adoring pets. They want to please their owners almost more than they want to eat, it seems. Our family, and my children, are saying prayers that he will find his way home.

Please keep your eyes out for our dog, and email me at the address below if you have him or have seen him. We fear because he is such a sweet, good dog that someone has taken him in and has kept him. I know three sweet kids that would be forever grateful you helped them get their dog back.