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  • Writer's pictureglassyviolist

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Full discloser: We’re a family that is very obsessed with our dog. We both agree that Pepper is the #1 best boy, and that he is the center of our universe. If you’ve met him, you probably know him as the energetic, silly guy that likes to run up and down hotel hallways. He’s now been to eleven states, five companies, and at least six times across the country in a car.

Sgt. Pepper (Catherine) Glass became a part of our lives in April 2019. Tommy and I had been going back and forth about getting a fur baby for awhile, but couldn’t agree on what kind of dog would be best. He wanted something “sporty“, and I was pretty determined to rescue a bull dog. At the time, I would enter “Frenchie rescue Houston” every so often to see what was in our area. I come from a family that is pretty firm on “adopt don’t shop”- and frenchies can be hard to come by in a google search. One day I found out guy Pepper- named Mr. Boombastic at the time.

He had been rescued from an over filled kill shelter by Our Pet Project, a rescue based in the Houston area. The first shelter had found Pepper wandering the streets in Humble, Texas- and it was clear that he had been abandoned and was starving. I quickly emailed his foster mom at OPP, and found out they would be a bar down the street from us only a few days later. Total kismet! I immediately arranged to meet them. A couple days later, I coerced Tommy to come get a drink with me at the Dogwood and about a block away he heard the barking. I can’t lie to save my life, so Tommy pretty quickly found out what was happening. We met the goofy guy and walked him around, and he immediately crept into our hearts. We wanted to make sure that he would be a good fit for us before filling the paperwork- so he came with us for a weekend where Tommy and some of his colleagues sang as loud as possible- and Pepper fell asleep. Our first night, he peed in our bed twice and we knew he was going to be ours forever.

The day we first met Pepper in Houston

Second disclosure: My Psychiatrist thought getting an animal would be good for my anxiety. Pepper is a registered support animal, and having him as a part of my life takes off a lot of tension, and also keeps me in a routine that helps keep me centered. I’m someone who can easily panic when I lose control, and having Pepper gives me a sense of routine that I can always depend on. If you’re someone who suffers from anxiety, I cannot recommend more to talk about it with a professional. Its something that can be life saving- as much as an allergy sniffing dog- and I hope that certification and acceptance of emotional support animals can become more accessible and widely accepted.

Traveling with Pepper has been mostly easy- and having his support paperwork is very helpful when Tommy and I travel- it makes it a lot easier to stay a unit. Sometimes we still have to pay fees, or send Delta five extra pages of proof of his purpose- convince a hotel that I’m not lying about his support status- but it’s all worth it to keep him nearby me. We’ll never know Peppers past. Or his age. We have had multiple vets and trainers tell us that he has anxiety towards other dogs- and his actions combined with some of the injuries they found when they rescued him- led them all to believe Pepper was physically abused and used as a bait dog. He had purposely broken teeth, scratches on his body, his mixed breeding was indicative in the turning of his paws, and was always shying away when someone tried to get to close. We’ve also had to do a lot of training for the pup- mostly in working on his interactions with other dogs. Training is an expensive venture- anywhere from $80 to $165 for a private session. We’re lucky to currently be working with the Canine coach- a group that is very experienced with reactive dogs, and are the first recommended for shelters or people that have dogs that “can’t be fixed.” We’re actually starting our first course class in person this fall, and I am personally excited to work on his dog to dog social skills.

Pepper has also already had two major surgeries; one for a prolapsed urethra and one to remove one of his purposely broken teeth. The first surgery ran us $3,400, and the second was $1,100- and we’ve only had him for two years now! As musicians, we could have never prepared for the financial stop that we faced for a year and a half. Thankfully, we were able to raise money through Gofundme for his first surgery- Thank you again for that friends! - That being said, always plan to spend $3,000- $5,000 a year for your new best friend. Especially if he/she are a bulldog breed. I even have a specific “Pepper” savings account that I now put part of our paychecks into so we never run into a complete emergency again.

Traveling with Pepper

It has taken us two years to figure out how to travel with Pepper- from too much stuff, to not enough stuff- sending things to wrong addresses, being out on a gig and Pepper needing Vet attention…the list goes on and on. The biggest thing we’ve learned is patience- and we’re lucky to have a very involved veterinary clinic in Minnesota. After two years, this is the check off list, and we know that we can fit it all in 1.5 seats in the back of the car.

5 Weeks on the road

Our Packing list:

🐾 12 lbs of dog food

🐾 Dog food storage (lots of options at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s )

🐾 Food mat

🐾 Travel bowls (2 total - 1 is collapsible and works really well when we’re in the car)

🐾 Medications (Heartgard and Bravecto)

🐾 Collapsing metal crate (Pepper has chewed through two soft crates)

🐾 3-5 toys so I don’t buy any

🐾 Soft dog bed

🐾 1 harness, 1 collar, 2 leashes (long and short- we use the thick rope leashes)

🐾 1 car seat hammock

All in all, our dog set up probably is around $350 invested. It’s much improved from him sitting in our laps for 6 hours or in the wheel well.

Tommy and I are very fortunate to have our dog in our lives, and even more so to be able to take him on the road with us. He gives us so much love and happiness, it’s hard to imagine life without him. So my colleague and friends, if you feel like you’re ready to add a fur baby to your life, go for it. It’ll probably be one of the best decisions you make, and if you ever have any questions for us, just call or drop a comment down below. 🐾

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