Dogs who are rescued never forget the humans who saved them. We are highlighting heartwarming stories of dogs saved from dire situations and then cherished as invaluable family members.
When an estranged relative asked Jane Ballard if she would be willing to take their elderly Chihuahua, Jane could not refuse. For Jane, her home’s motto is “No Chihuahua Left Behind” and explains why rescuing Peeper was so very special to her:
“In January 2010, a woman who’d always hated me contacted me out of the blue. Two months earlier, she and her son had lost their home, and at that time they’d turned over their elderly chihuahua to the local animal shelter. They’d made no effort to stay in touch with the shelter until the director called to tell them that if they didn’t come get the chihuahua or turn him over to another party, he was going to be euthanized.
“Knowing I had a houseful of rescued chihuahuas, this woman who hated me called to ask if I’d take in this elderly gentleman until they could get back on their feet. And of course, I said yes – my house motto is “No Chihuahua Left Behind.”
“I picked up Peeper late on a Friday afternoon, as soon as the woman had signed release papers. He was screeching in fear when I arrived at the shelter – most of his kennelmates were muscled pit bulls rescued from local fight rings – and continued to screech as I drove the two hours to my home.
“He was shaking in fear after I gently scooped him out of the carrier when we pulled into my front yard. He growled when I kissed the top of his head. But in a few minutes, when he realized he was in the company of dogs his own size and no longer confined to a cage, he began calming down – and attaching himself to me.”
“Basically, wherever I went, so did Peeper. He followed me into the kitchen while I cooked, sitting patiently on top of the carrier near the range in anticipation of a casserole. He pattered down the hall with me and insisted on sitting on my lap while I worked, preferring to nestle on my left side.
“When I stretched out in a chair to watch TV, he perched on my chest and nestled in, often staring worshipfully at me. And when I jumped into my truck one morning to chase his older sister across my four and a half acre yard, a little white blur sped under my legs and into the shotgun seat – Peeper wasn’t letting me go anywhere without him.
“After one phone call to check on him, Peeper’s original owner never called again – the same behavior she’d demonstrated at the county shelter.
“Late on November 20, 2011, Peeper started having breathing trouble – he could only take shallow, gasping breaths. I’d just taken a sleeping pill and knew I wouldn’t be alert enough to take him to the emergency vet more than an hour away, so I asked God to take care of him during the night and slept with Peeper in my arms.
“The next morning, I phoned the vet as soon as she opened and was told to bring him in. The news was bad: my sweet little Peeper’s heart wasn’t pumping properly and his lungs were filled with fluid; he would never get better. So, while I kissed his sweet little head and told him how much I loved him and what an honor it had been to be his mom for nearly two years, my vet helped this brave little man cross the Rainbow Bridge on November 21, 2011. I buried him under two trees in my yard beside two of his siblings that had passed earlier.
“Of all the many qualities that made Peeper so special, the most important was this: I know without a doubt that my husband, who’d passed away nine months before Peeper’s former owner made her request, was responsible for him coming to me. He’d once been related to the former owner, which was one reason she hated me so much, but I believe he was able to shuffle a few cosmic cards to remind her I’d provide a good home for Peeper. And I believe when Peeper trotted across the bridge, my husband was waiting to greet that sweet little man, just as I hope that one day both of them will be waiting for me.
“P.S. – my husband was a Harley owner & fanatic, so even though I’m not a motorcycle person, I bought that little Harley flag in 2010.”
“Peeper went out to stand beside it, and given how much my husband loved him – so much that he sent him to me after he died – that’s a very special photo.”
~ Submitted by Jane Ballard
DogHeirs member comments:
Magicwalk: “Wonderful story! Your kind heart deserves Peeper’s beautiful soul. Your story demonstrates the stark contrast in human relationship with each other, humans and their pets.
Darrin Henry: “Way to go Jane for rescuing Peeper from the brink of death and giving him a loving home for the remaining years of his life. Your husband would be very pleased with what you have done. I know this dog lover is.”