Gig Line: All God’s creatures great and small

Published 2:06 pm Sunday, March 24, 2024

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My husband Billy was a dog lover all his life. As a young teen, he had raised Manchester Terriers, however after we were married we became owners of a variety of breeds: a St. Bernard – no wonder it was a “gift” (as we only came to realize she was pregnant and delivered 13 puppies under our porch a week after we got her … surprise, surprise, surprise!). Then a dachshund, a shih tzu, a basset hound, and a German shepherd, later a breed he had always wanted … an English bulldog named Petunia, then an American bulldog, then a shar pei (the “wrinkly” dog). Our family loved each one, Billy being their primary care giver – he was infatuated with dogs and he was good to them, taking excellent care of their grooming and he loved playing with each one every chance he got when he was not working.

The last dog we had was originally a Father’s Day gift I had gotten for Billy in 2014. She was a sweet little Yorkie we named Pepper, and she was only six weeks old, fitting comfortably in the palm of his big hand. He fell in love with her at first sight and from the minute we brought her home, she had completely stolen his heart. Until Billy became ill with brain cancer and passed in 2016, she was at his side, in his lap or in his arms. Before he was restricted from driving due to his doctor’s concern for the possibility of seizures, he took her with him in his truck cradled in his big strong arms … she was daddy’s girl and he loved her very much.

Now for those of you who read Gig Line often, you may remember me writing about Pepper soon after she died because since Billy went to Heaven, it has just been me and Pepper. She had become my constant companion, my little 11lb. buddy that was who I looked forward to seeing once I got home from work or errands; she was the odorless little wonder (hypoallergic and shed free) animal that helped distract from the constant ache in my heart missing Billy; she was my full responsibility and I loved her more than I can adequately express. She was a continual reminder of my Billy and the joy she had brought into our lives and I grieve her loss every single day.

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Why am I writing about little Pepper again this week? Because over the last almost eight years this coming July, I have become more interested in stories about animals, in particular dogs. I watch programs on T.V. especially the Animal Planet show, “Dr. Jeff (Young) Rocky Mountain Vet” mostly because of his love and care of not only his “patients” but the owners who love their animals so much. His base clinic is at his Planned Pethood Plus in Colorado and by watching his show often, I have focused on the variety of animals, their illnesses or injuries and the excellent care Dr. Jeff and his staff provide. It reminds me of Dr. Hayes, who took care of Pepper from the time she took over (when Dr. Welch moved away) and especially from December 18 – January 4, 2024, when Pepper was too sick to recover.

You just can’t help but love and respect the people in your lives who have shown love, care and compassion for the people and animals you love, be it Dr. Hayes at Sound Veterinary Hospital, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Walter Reed Army Medical Center or official Walter Reed General Hospital or any and every facility and group of medical personnel across our nation … they matter so very much.

Personally, I am not a fan of social media, however, I do look at Facebook mostly every day to see if there are prayer requests for someone’s family member; happy news, but also alerts regarding our communities; craft show announcements and most definitely for veteran related news in particular about Vietnam veterans and Agent Orange. Not only do I find uplifting quotes, scripture references and requests for prayer but many stories about animals and the amazing creatures they are.

God is good and folks, I can tell you this for sure – when you watch video after video of animals and I mean all kinds, sizes and species taking care to prepare a nest for their babies, seeking help from people when their little ones are hurt or stuck in a fence or trap, you see for yourself how intelligent, protective and nurturing they are … it is nothing short of incredible! It is not by mistake or a fluke or because they were trained to do what comes naturally – it just is. I believe it is solely God inspired for animals to know how and what to do for their babies. We should take lessons from them and be ever so protective.

Our world has lost its footing and next week for Easter Sunday, I will give you a straight up reason I feel that way and why my concerns are so deep. A lot of this chaos and heartache is a result of fear mongering and prejudice – over everything anymore. It is over the top and we have much to gain or much to lose … depending.

Until next time, I pray for your good health, safety and happiness and that you think carefully about what extremes we are dealing with as a nation. Never take anything for granted – not your family, devoted friends, our military and especially not your faith is God the Father. You are welcome to call/text me on my cell if you wish at 252-202-2058 or email me at If you are a veteran or spouse of a veteran and have questions about potential benefits or a disability claim, please contact Patty O’Sullivan, veteran service officer, office: (252) 475-5604, cell: (252) 473-7749 or by email: patricia.o’

God bless you all and until next week remember that I love you. Stay tuned!