Many people qualify as heroes in my life, but one great example to me was a little cocker spaniel dog named Pepper.
I remember the day that my Aunt Madge gave Pepper to my brother, Max, and me. Pepper was a tiny black puppy, and we were thrilled to have him. He had a long, heavy tail, and long ears that nearly touched the ground.
One day Pepper was seriously injured by an automobile. His shoulder was crushed, and afterward he always walked with just one of his front legs. He was a funny-looking little dog. My friends all made fun of Pepper, but my brother and I loved him. He was our loyal friend.
I was born with some birth defects that required several major surgeries on my left leg during my childhood. I couldn’t run and play like the other children. When I was twelve, I was in an accident that left my leg so badly broken that I had to use crutches or a wheelchair for the next six months.
One day as I was hobbling with my crutches to the local grocery store, I was attacked by a large dog. He bit me on the legs and arms and knocked me to the ground. I remember screaming for help but thinking that no one could hear me. Suddenly a little black figure came flying into the fight and began to defend me. It was a savage battle between a crippled little cocker spaniel and a ferocious, much larger dog. Pepper gave me enough time to get one of my crutches and join the battle. Together we were able to chase the dog away.
Pepper and I were both hurt, Pepper much worse than I. He suffered from his injuries for many days, but he did finally heal.
Pepper—my gentle, little, crippled friend. He was quite willing to give his life for me. I learned a great deal about friendship from the example of this little black dog. He didn’t require a single thing in return for his love and loyalty. He was pleased just to be patted on the head and treated with kindness. Maybe in some way I can return Pepper’s gift by remembering him and following his example of friendship. Because of Pepper, I have tried to be a loyal and devoted friend myself.