By Savannah Verdon, RedRover Development and Engagement Coordinator

It’s hard not to have love for every sweet-faced pup we see walking down the street or scrolling through our social media feeds, imagining – if only for a moment – welcoming them into our family. But when asked, each of us likely has a special love in our heart for a certain breed or a certain look, perhaps a certain age of dog that fills us with joy and delight. Tammy had always wanted to welcome an Australian Shepherd into her home. Finally in 2007, her dream came true.

I will never forget the moment I first laid eyes on her. She was playing with her littermates and bouncing around like a fluff ball, all of 8 weeks old. When I had finally decided to fulfill my lifelong desire to get an Aussie, I knew I wanted a girl, and she was the last girl left in the litter. That’s how Pepper joined our family. What followed was almost 13 amazing years of a bond based on love, trust and companionship. I raised her, cared for her and trained her. As the years passed and my life circumstances changed, there were times I needed her more than ever, and she has never failed me. She has always been there, a constant I could depend on and look to for unconditional love and comfort. She is the reason why my life has been so good. She has taught me how to be a good human. My Pepper girl is the most amazing member of my family.

Of all the ways Tammy and Pepper enjoyed each other’s companionship, their favorite pastime was taking walks together around the neighborhood. Though Tammy had lost both of her jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and was consumed with caring for her mother with Alzheimer’s disease, taking a walk with Pepper remained a peaceful part of her day, now more than ever.

Even at 13 years old, Pepper still had the exuberance and mischievous spirit she did when she was just an 8-week-old fluff ball. Tammy was caught off guard when Pepper was spooked by a passing FedEx truck. She slipped her collar and dashed after the truck. In the ensuing chaos, she sustained a broken leg and her back left paw was degloved. Her injuries were horrific – but Tammy jumped into action to save her life.

With what savings she had, she rushed Pepper to the emergency veterinary hospital. The veterinarians were able to repair her broken leg and put her in a cast, in addition to providing antibiotics and pain medication. While she would survive, Pepper needed ongoing care to ensure she would heal properly. 

Tammy had no money left to afford Pepper’s ongoing care, but she wasn’t going to give up on her special girl. Though she was denied CareCredit, she applied for help from as many foundations as she could find online, never discouraged by a rejection. When she reached out to RedRover, we were able to award a RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant with the help of our compassionate and generous supporters.

Pepper continues to heal, but her future is bright. Tammy is looking forward to the day they can take their walks again, but for now, she is thankful for the second chance you made possible: 

I was consumed by guilt because as a pet owner I believe I have a responsibility to protect my fur baby from harm. As the days have turned into weeks, she is slowly mended, her bone is healing, and I am beginning to forgive myself. All these monumental hurdles could not have been possible without the kindness and generosity from RedRover. Thank you, you saved more than just my dog Pepper. You saved me too.

We, too, are thankful for you and the Happy Tails you create. Please share Pepper’s Happy Tail with your friends and family to let them know how you are making a lifesaving difference and keeping families together through crisis. 

Thank you for making these Happy Tails possible with your support of RedRover. You can read more Happy Tails here or follow us on Facebook for news and updates.