My dog, Pepper, died last night. She’d lived a good, long life and, sadly, had to be euthanized because of advanced arthritis. As my son, Chris, and I said our final farewells to Pepper last night, I thought of all the funny, and not-so-funny, things Pepper did in her life.
To begin with, Pepper wasn’t the friendliest dog in the world. For example:
1.) At the very first agency pool party in 1996, some original Peppercommers decided to snap some photos by my pool. We were sporting our new Peppercom t-shirts and thought the timing was perfect for a photo op. Someone suggested we grab Pepper, put a shirt on her and include her in the pic. To say that Pepper was less than thrilled with the idea is an understatement. She snapped and snarled at anyone trying to put the shirt on. Finally, my partner held her while I slipped the shirt over Pepper’s neck. The framed photo now hangs on our firm’s back walls.
2.) Ed and Pam Moed paid us a visit one day to sit by our pool and reflect on the agency’s early successes. Our revelry was disrupted, however, by shrill screaming coming from the bushes. Pepper had found a nest of rabbits and was busy scooping them out, one-by-one, and tossing them into the back of her throat. It was a brutal scene reminiscent of something from Animal Planet’s Shark Attack Week. Pepper wiped out an entire family. Or, so we thought. The next day, I found a solitary bunny floating face down in our pool. The little guy had left a note saying he couldn’t go on without his family.
3.) Pepper loved to run away from our backyard. I cannot tell you how many times our neighbors would call with "Pepper sightings." And, my wife or I would have to pile in the car and retrieve the dog. And, sure enough, there would be Pepper, soaking wet and muddy from having dove into some unsuspecting neighbor’s pool.
4.) Speaking of pools, Pepper loved ours and used to dive in repeatedly, swimming the length and width time and again. One of the saddest things to see this past Summer was Pepper’s inability to even walk up the steps to get to the pool.
When I think about Pepper, I think about the many ways in which she unknowingly helped Peppercom. Clients, prospects and everyone else loved the fact that we named the agency after a dog. I cannot tell you how many times the agency name served as a key icebreaker in a critically important new business meeting. People just love dogs and immediately bond with other people who love dogs. If I ever write a "business tips" book, I’ll dedicate an entire chapter to the importance of dogs to new business.
Pepper wasn’t the greatest dog in the world. And, her personality prevented anyone from getting very close to her. But, she was a good, loyal companion and gave us nearly 14 years of fun. And, hey, how many dogs can say they’ve had one of the country’s top, midsized firms named after them? Rest in peace, Pepper. We’ll miss you.