In praise of Pepper

I almost called this post ‘Alice’s Friend that made me me’. Because that’s sort of what it is really. Just like in other FTMMM posts, Alice talks about shared interests, love despite differences, and life lessons being taught. I will leave it to Alice to explain who the wonderful Pepper (who having met in real life, I can confirm is as wonderful as is described here) is, but I think you’ll agree she’s rather beautiful, and that we’d all like a friend like her…

First, a bit of a disclaimer. This post is another step along the path that will (hopefully) lead to me writing for myself a bit more. I’m a comms and PR girl in my day job, so I write all the time, but not about me, my life, my experiences. It was writing for this lovely blog (*high fives Clare, Aisling and Anna*) that introduced me to the joy / catharthis / satisfaction of writing about things that have a deeper meaning on a more personal level. I’ve got subjects that I really do want to write about and share in the future, and while I’m not quite ready to dive into the heavy stuff just yet, this post gets me that little bit closer. Anyway…

Pepper is our (mine and my husband Si’s) nearly five years old Weimaraner. Here is a pic.

 I come from a long line of dog lovers – my family have pretty much always had Labrador crosses.  Labs are generally eager to please, obedient, easily trainable and utterly loyal. Pepper is not a lab. She is fickle, demanding, a bit of a princess, stubborn – in short, the most strong-willed, defiant dog I have ever experienced.  But I love her dearly and here are some of the reasons why:

  1. When we play fight, she is incredibly conscious of how pathetically weak and flimsy us humans are. She could cause us serious damage if she wanted to, but she doesn’t. Even when Si has poked her in the head for half an hour with an empty kitchen roll tube. Bad Si.
  2. She can lift my spirits instantly after the crappiest day. It’s a bit of a cliché but to have another creature be so overjoyed to see you when you walk through the door is pretty awesome. Even if you do get a bit drool covered and tail whipped in the process.

  1. If I’m upset or low, she’ll know to just come and put her head in my lap or lick my hand rather than barge my leg for her dinner. A while back when I was not in a good place myself for rather a long time, she actually got more anxious, naughtier and really restless. To know that my mood affects her so much helps keep me on the right track – or at least gives me another reason to pull myself up if I’m in danger of sinking.
  2. Despite me saying that she is demanding, she really has some very simple needs and wants – food, love, sleep, stimulation and lots of walks. She helps me to remember that we humans add on all this other stuff that we think we need to make us happy – we don’t, the simple things can be more than enough.
  3. Using the ‘dog years’ formula, Pepper and I are pretty much exactly the same age at the moment. And she’s still a bit of a baby – if a (usually much, much smaller) dog has a bit of a go in the park, she’ll run behind me for safety. If there are fireworks outside, she’ll hide under the table. If I’m working in our study, she’ll whine at me until I drag her bed in from the living room as she prefers to have company. And I think, yes, even at the ripe old age of 32, you can still be vulnerable and scared and unsure. And that’s OK.
  4. We are totally agreed on our love of a stable door.


So that’s Pepper. Smelly, clumsy, hairy and very, very loveable. I’d love to hear about your non-human friends and companions who add that special something to your life.

Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships, Friend That Made Me Me
17 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Oh I love everything about this!

    There have been dogs in my family for as long as I can remember, our dog Holly (a black lab) was one year older than me and so brought me up as much as my parents did! She taught me to be gentle, to look after things other than myself, how to share (yes, we shared breakfast toast nearly everyday), how to run and why rules were important. I miss her everyday.

    Later when I was a teenager I worked on a farm and lived there 4-5 days out of 7. There we had up to 10 dogs at any one time. They were crackers but excellent guard dogs and I would never have felt comfortable doing the late night feeds/walks across the fields on my own without a couple of Alsatians by my side in the dark.

    We are due to move house in September and I am getting a dog again as soon as we do. I don’t feel comfortable without a dog in the house, without someone to feed before myself or keep me company on my runs and without the sound of a slapping tail against the cupboard doors when I get through the front door.

    L x

  2. Carly
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Awwww, Pepper! She is beautiful. I absolutely love dogs and am desperate to get one but my Fiancé hates them and repeatedly says a firm no to my many requests! We have a cat though, called Archie. She’s actually a girl but we didn’t know that for a while & the name stuck. She is my first baby and I love her to bits. I always thought people were a bit wierd who loved their pets loads but now I don’t because I’m one of them!


  3. Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Oh I loved this Alice! Pepper is so gorgeous!!! I so can’t wait until we have space for a dog. We are both real dog lovers and its actually one of the things we bonded over – many moons (about 15 years) ago we used to each walk our respective dog around the same route but in opposite directions on the hope of bumping into one another, and we still relay the stories of the times they disgraced us – mine by pooing in the middle of the pavement as he walked around the corner and his by jumping up at me to say hello and leaving big muddy paw prints all up my new jeans. We are both far too soft though so I know we will have the most mischievous dog ever!

    • Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      This is like something out of a rom-com, it’s AWESOME! How did I never know this about you guys??


  4. Elsie
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    The stable door shot looks like you’re having a right good chin wag and Pepper has just said something amusing. I’d be rubbish at caring for a dog full time but the idea of having one is so cosy. I make do with borrowing my neighbour’s dog for walks when I’m at my parent’s house happy in the knowledge I don’t have to have the responsibility all the time.

  5. Leni
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    What a lovely heart warming post Alice. We do not have the time or the space for a dog but would love to have one. We do have 2 very spoilt and very loved cats. I have heard a quote that says something like “Dogs have masters and cats have slaves”. This is definitely true in our house. My husband moans about having to drink supermarket own brand coffee when the cats get Whiskers! They cheer me up every day when I get home and fat ginger cat is waiting on the front porch (for food, but I can pretend its for love!). x

  6. Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Oh I loved this post. And you really pointed out beautifully how animals can lift you up… there are endless stories of people being saved by their furry companions. I love how beautiful Pepper reminds you constantly that all we need are the little things (something I try to be very aware of).

    ” And I think, yes, even at the ripe old age of 32, you can still be vulnerable and scared and unsure. And that’s OK.”

    At the moment we don’t have any pets (we have to decide to get a cat soon, as our apartment is small). But growing up we had at least 5 cats (3 inside, 2 outside), 2 Yorkshire Terriers, 2 Geese, Australian Perokeets, a bunch of Belier / Lop bunnies, Hamsters… no wonder I became a vet.

    I would love to live in a farm and raise goats as pets. They are such smart, funny animals. I also have a soft spot for cows, they are incredibly sweet, and curious, and they recognize / remember you.

  7. Lucy S
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I love this post! I think a relationship with a dog can be one of the most important you can ever have- and one of the most loving, just in time for Valentines Day. My beloved dog was put down a year ago last Christmas- only a baby at 3, he had the most horrible brain disease which was only diagnosed through MRI scans after continual fits. I’m crying writing this remembering the steadfastness of his love. People, enjoy your dogs and all those you love and who love you. And Pepper is beautiful xxxxx

  8. Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    What a lovely post! Pepper is a gorgeous dog. My two cats do exactly the same thing when I’m feeling sad or ill, they seem to know straight away and come cuddle with me

  9. Mahj
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Pepper is beautiful!
    Martin and I have had our dog Bertie since 2009. He’s a staffie but we don’t know much about his history as he is a rescue dog. We think he may have been used in dog fighting which makes us incredibly sad and angry as he is such a daft, sweet natured lump!
    I honestly don’t remember what it was like before having Bertie, he is such an integral part of our lives and our little family. And having him barrel up to you when you come home after work is possibly my most favourite part of the day.
    Yay for dogs!


  10. Lynsey
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Pepper looks lovely – I have to admit though, I’d be a bit scared of her in real life – I’m a total wimp with dogs after being bitten as a child. Nevertheless I can completely understand the feeling of “someone” looking forward to you getting home and wanting some affection – our cat is always waiting for me after work, and desperate to sit on my lap (this may be more to do with stealing body heat than love, but never mind!). x

  11. Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Aw, thanks for all the great comments guys, Pepper and I are enjoying the blog love today!

    So, so sorry to hear about your little one Lucy S – I’m positive he would have known how much he was loved in his short life. xxx

    Another Pepper related fact – when a particular song by The Knack comes on the radio, Si and I sing ‘Weimaraner’ instead of ‘My Sharona’. Yep, we are that cool.

    • Posted February 16, 2013 at 12:31 am | Permalink

      Um, that lyrical interpretation is one of the awesomest things I’ve ever heard. And until reading this post, it never dawned on me that my dog’s recent onset of “I’m a freak and cannot calm myself down” might have been related to my recent onset of “Hi, depression. Welcome back into my life.” Kudos for pointing this out and giving me the shove I needed to take care of myself and my adoring canine companion.

  12. Amanda M
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I have no broodiness for children but I want a puppy so much it HURTS. (Not to actually give birth to one obv, that would be icky). I continually flirt with the idea of breeds – Clumber Spanial, Weimaraner, Pointer, Vizsla – but it will be a Lab. My mum has had Labs since I was 7 and they’ve always been part of the family – their personalities differ but essentially they’re the same (good natured, loving, greedy).

    My husband was not particularly interested in dogs until he met me and now he’s as keen as me. It was helped by a short stay with my mum whilst our flat was being built where the Lab of the time used to literally sit on her haunches and put her paws round his neck.

    But until we live somewhere more suitable I know it would be unfair to a dog to have one – live in a London flat, work long hours. One day….

  13. Sarah
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Aww, great post : ) We love our cat, Roger…a bit TOO much!! He is like our first baby and now an actual human baby is due to arrive in April, I hope he’s not too put out! Pets can be a wonderful part of your life x

  14. jennycake
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Agree with every point of this post! I have two Jack Rusell x pugs (jugs) who are the most loving, needy and infuriating things ever! Life would not be the same without Bruno and Bessie! Bessie is currently in surgery so really praying all goes well today, and not looking forward to spending Valentine’s with her dosed up on tramadol – yes that’s really what they use!

    Pepper is a beauty x

  15. Posted February 14, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Aww, so lovely. I’ve never in my life had a pet of any kind, but in just over 2 weeks we’ll be getting a cat. This post, and all the comments, make me very excited about it!

    K x

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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