In December, Pepper was purchased from a kennel as a 2-year-old. She wasn’t a family pet, but she seemed friendly enough. Her new family took her home and she was fine on the ride. Then they opened the car door and she bolted away. They couldn’t get within six feet of her, and she disappeared. For weeks, she seemed to have dropped off the face of the earth. Then she reappeared and Animal Control received at least one call per week (sometimes several per day) about her. She led a furtive and feral existence, sometimes coming up to be fed, but always wary of being caught. "Nessie" might have been a better name, as she was so often sighted, but never corralled.
The Animal Control officers tried feeding her, and tried feeding her baits with tranquilizers. They tried darting her with the capture gun. She sailed over six-foot fences with ease. On Saturday they finally succeeded in bringing her back alive — after only three months. She looks pretty sad in the kennel here. She looked pretty scary in the official truck with the control pole around her neck and a look in her eye that reminded you of the miner in "The Shooting of Dan McGrew". "He looked like a man with a foot in the grave, and scarcely the strength of a louse…"
She doesn’t look much better up close while she’s still full of tranquilizer, covered with dirt and scars and fleas, mighty thin. We put her up for the night with a big bowl of food and water. I must confess that I had some concerns about handling her when she woke up. I think that’s what prompted my having a dream of purchasing two horses and a black leopard without any adequate place to put them. That or the manicotti I had for super… I don’t know.
This morning she’s feeling much better, has a great appetite, and is not unfriendly, despite her long and difficult adventures. In addition to another big bowl of Science Diet, I fed her some balls of canned food, most of which had a pill inside: some Capstar for the fleas, de-wormer, Rimadyl for pain, and some antibiotics for the hole in her leg and the ripped-off toenail.
I don’t know that we’re exactly "friends" yet, but we’re not enemies. With any luck, she’ll be going home tomorrow.