Gardening with Pepper

Posted by on June 13, 2013

Pepper in Helen's Haven Gardening with ConfidenceTo say I’m enamored with my sweet Pepper would only scratch the surface of the obsession I have for this puppy. On January 5, 2013 we adopted a little dog from the Raleigh SPCA. Her estimated birth date is November 4, 2012, so, as I write this, Pepper is seven and a half months old today. I can hear her barking now as I write…just her way to suggest I come out to play.


Pepper with Aster and LilyHer name–Pepper–just seems to fit. Pepper is a border collie mix, with black and white coloring. She is our family dog, a pet the kids wanted for years. Getting a dog was something that I put off. Having had dogs growing up, I knew it was going to take commitment and some work. I needed to make sure I had the time to add a new life into our home. When I realized that if time was the criterion, my kids would never have a dog, since there is never enough time, so I relented.


PepperWe didn’t actually come up with her name. Stumped for the perfect name, and frankly, looking for an outside opinion so as not to usurp another child’s choice, we asked Facebook friends to suggest names. We had nearly 2 thousand suggestions. The criterion for her name was that it had to be botanical in nature. My friend Kelly Sensor with the  National Wildlife Federation  suggested the name Pepper. A few others suggested it, but Kelly was the first. We got some clever names like Collie-flower and Digger. It turns out the name Digger would have fit her perfectly because that is exactly what she is.  I’ve allowed a digger into Helen’s Haven, and I think it’s cute, sorta. My lackadaisical attitude is a good sign of transference of my garden obsession to a pet obsession. And that is okie dokie.

I just brought her in so she will stop the barking, and now I hear her trying to eat the metal chair legs. C’est la vie.  Lest you think less of me, I don’t care. She trumps. She is everything a pepper should be–a Sweet Pepper, Belle Pepper, Pretty Pepper, Princess Pepper, and Precious Pepper, and Pepperlicious.

She loves me too. Every time she sees me she wags her tail, races forward, and pees. I call it a happy pee, and take it as a sign of true love. The vet says she is submitting to me, and might out grow it.

Pepper likes to do her business on the garden paths, assuming she can’t get in to the house to go. I’m trying to help her re-direct this. Pepper also likes to take a running leap at the chickens in the coop. Even though she can’t get to them, the chickens get scared. I’m working on that too.


PepperShe likes to chew the cushions on the patio furniture, any paper towel she can find, and socks. There are half-eaten single socks everywhere. And of course, she likes to chew on the legs of furniture.

She knows some commands like stay, leave it, down, come to Mommy, and give me kisses, you know, those necessary commands that will make for an obedient animal.

We probably should have named her Digger. I stay pretty busy filling in the holes of her digging adventures. I’ve concluded she hears voles, and is going after them. So really she isn’t digging, but making a contribution to the benefit of the garden. That sounds about right, doesn’t it?

New obsessions are needed every now and then. They change your perspective of what is important in life. Gardens are great, gardens are good, but gardening with three kids and a dog is better.

Pepper in Helen's Haven


3 responses to “Gardening with Pepper”

  1. meghan says:

    super sweet helen. 🙂 she is a cutie!

  2. marmee says:

    that was the name i suggested and she is surely a pepper for sure.

  3. HelenYoest says:

    Ahh, Marmee, you suggested Pepper too? There were a few people of the 2 thousand names suggested to be Pepper. I attributed the name to Kelly since she was the first (early on) to suggest it. You are right, it is a great name!

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