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Pepper: My first “Extreme Canine”

February 18, 2009

img_1969Pepper was born in 1996. I adopted him in November. Pepper was only about 12 weeks old when I brought him home. He whined and cried the first few nights as most puppies do.  I remember waking up in the middle of the night to sleep with him on the floor. Pepper and I immediately bonded.

Training my boy Pepper came pretty easy. He loved to play non-stop. His motivation level was extremly high and since he was an only dog he received 100% of my attention. We would play and train everyday, in the house, the front yard, or at the park.  He was a natural and sometimes I was his apprentice.  I could look him in the eyes and feel my mind subconsciously hear him saying, “Do this and I’ll do that Dad”.  He was a natural catching his first Frisbee by five months old. Pepper competed in his first local Frisbee dog competition in Bakersfield, CA in 1998. He earned second place overall.  His first comeptition win was at another local event a month later in St. Helena, California. Pepper got serious competing in 1999 placing third in the ALPO West Regionals and forth in the ALPO U.S. Open. In 2000, Pepper won the Incredible Dog Challenge nationals. I was so proud of him! I was the youngest trainer to ever win at the time. His last competition was in 2001 where he took second place in the nationals. We missed first place by half of a point.

My heart was broken in 2001 when Pepper was diagnosed with a genetic back disorder. The fact that this tail wagged up and down rather than side to side was a telling sign. He started to show symptoms when he was only 5 years old. The experts suggested back surgery which I declined because there was a  50% chance of him being in worse condition or paralyzed after the surgery. I had to change his training program and reduce his performance time.  I had to put my MVP All-Star player on the bench. It was heart wrenching for me and he did not understand. I had to retire him from shows completely after the 2004 season.

Peppers most notable career moments include performing for the San Francisco 49ers as the official canine mascot for two seasons (1999 & 2000), starring on the CBS Early Morning show (2000) and flying as a celebrity pet on American Airlines. Pepper was also photographed by Sports Illustrated Magazine and had a feature half page spread in 1999. Pepper had his 30 seconds of fame in 1999 as ABC’s Monday Night Football aired him catching Frisbees and doing tricks for a good 30 to 40 seconds during the rainy 49ers vs. Green Bay game. Their commentary was he was the only one catching anything on the field. That’s my boy!

Extreme Pepper 49ers Canine Mascot (1999-2000)

Extreme Pepper 49ers Canine Mascot (1999-2000)

His original nickname was “Pepper the boo dog” , however in 1999, I started the “Extreme Canines Show” and changed his show name to “Extreme Pepper”.  He was the original Extreme Canine and has inspired me to be the person I am today. I do not know where I would be without him. Pepper is one of those once in a lifetime dogs!  He is now 12 years old and is still with me. Right now he is playing with his stuffed football under my desk.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lon aka Dad permalink
    February 18, 2009 10:00 pm

    Pepper is the best dog I have ever seen and would do anything for you, there can only be one Pepper and I am glad you got him. He is a quick learner even to this day, and Pepper helped me get involved in the sport of Frisbee.

  2. Paula Gremour permalink
    May 24, 2012 6:37 am

    RIP, Pepper

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