Pepper is an extremely sweet, happy, senior female cattle dog, who loves to cuddle with her humans, is big on treats, balls and tummy rubs. Currently she weighs 42 lbs. Our best estimate is that she is at least 13 years old. While Pepper may be a senior, she is still a very alert, smart, attentive, thinking dog, with a lot of personality.
She is a calm, low energy dog, who is happiest when in the company of her humans. At home, Pepper mostly hangs out in a comfy spot near her person/people. She will follow her humans or the other dog move, around the house. Pepper loves meeting new people and will walk right up to them, sniff their hands and/or legs and give them kisses. She doesn't like to be left at home, and will bark when she sees her humans leave through the front door. However, when left alone, she seems to pretty much sleep until people return. She is not destructive in any way. She is definitely housebroken and knows how to use a dog door.
Pepper likes a soft place to curl up for her arthritic joints, and uses multiple dog beds around the house. Pepper usually chooses the bed that her canine foster brother likes best, she sometimes tries to climb into an easy chair. If her legs cannot launch her into the chair, she will look to someone for help. At night, she likes to sleep in a dog bed that is near her people. While a crate is always available to her, it is not her preference.
Pepper is calm and gentle when meeting and being with other dogs, and gets along nicely with the other heeler (male) in her foster home. We have not yet seen her around cats or children.
While Pepper may have a lot of miles on her, she is still very much a cattle dog who will make you smile and laugh! Pepper has figured out how to sit when she wants a treat and has a way of letting her people know when she needs to go potty. She will approach you, attempting to make eye contact, and then walk to one of the doors. If her people are too slow, this herder will give out a bark to speed it up. When she wants a snack or a meal, Pepper will gently nudge the legs of her foster people towards the kitchen, to get them there sooner.
Pepper is also a ball dog! In the first hour at her foster home, she found the toy box and searched to the bottom to pull out the tennis balls. She loves tennis balls and wants to play fetch, the way she did when she was younger. Pepper will bring a ball to her human and expect them to throw it for her. However, she is not steady on her legs, which are weak and stiff, and she often falls when just stepping up or down from a curb. She also enjoys other toys and carries them around with her. Pepper has NOT shown any food or resource guarding.
Our old girl does well on shorter walks and on the leash. She would love to go on long walks, but tends to tire. While her legs and joints cannot endure long walks or on uneven terrain, Pepper has an excellent nose, and still very much enjoys short “enrichment” walks to sniff, explore and feel like a dog. She loves food, and can smell a treat or food while walking. When she does, she will stubbornly stop and give you the heeler side eye. When Pepper first arrived, her foster mom put some chicken in the oven to make chicken and rice for her. Almost immediately, Pepper raised her nose and began searching the air for the source of that baking chicken (YouTube video link: https://youtu.be/EUm3v3WYrDY).
Pepper is generally a very quiet dog, especially when she is content and with her people. She will only bark if upset, when she thinks she is being left alone, or occasionally in the car if she is worried. Most of the time in a car she is quiet and happy to just ride along.
Pepper was found in very poor condition as a stray wandering the streets. She came with a number of existing physical ailments associated with her age and untreated medical issues from her past life. We are trying to make up for lost time on her medical issues. Besides supplements, vitamins, and enhanced nutrition for her joints and to build her strength, we have begun weekly anti-fungal and anti-bacterial shampooing for her itchy skin (which she enjoys!), are consulting with our vet for her chronic ear infections, and have an appointment to check her eyes and cataracts. Potential adopters considering Pepper, must be willing to continue the work we have begun to improve these conditions.
While Pepper has obvious cataracts, she is still able to see well enough to move around and function normally. We believe that her hearing is greatly diminished, due to untreated ear infections. Her ear canals are very narrow due to scar tissue from past infections, and may need long term care. Her poor hearing may be the reason she makes such excellent eye contact and is very observant.
In summary, Pepper is the sweetest and most wonderful companion, with a lot of life left in her! She deserves - and we are seeking - a forever home that will pamper her and give her all the best treats for the rest of her days.