Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

Pepper and The Toy



Gus and I were watching a football game one afternoon while Pepper was busy at work on another project in the sunroom. Later, I discovered what she’d been up to: one of her very favorite toys, a plush peanut butter and jelly sandwich with squeaker inside, had been eviscerated. White puffy stuffing was strewn about, plus the remains of the broken squeaker heart.

My own heart lurched. It was Peanut Butter and Jelly! Her favorite toy for months on end! She squeaked it, she carried it around, she offered to play tug of war with it though I always declined.  Now, it was past the point of no return.  

“Peppy!” I cried. “What have you done?”

She sat quietly on her chair in the sunroom, the formerly beloved toy in shreds nearby. She looked shell shocked.

“I am a mystery to myself,” she said. “I don’t know why I hurt the thing I loved.” She coiled into a very tight curl on her chair and wouldn’t look at me.

I sat down beside the chair and petted her, trying to soothe her. “I’m a mystery to myself sometimes too, Pep,” I confessed. “It’s okay. We all contain multitudes. And Peanut Butter and Jelly was just a thing, just a toy. You’ve never ever done anything to hurt me.”

She looked up.  “And I never will,” she promised.



  1. Squeakers must be removed by any means necessary. This is a fundamental aspect of the canine code of conduct.

  2. Jennifer,
    I love listening in as Pepper matures! This is why we have several iterations of “Brown Bunny” at our house…all missing something important like a tail, a nose, ears or stuffing. The most loved get the most wear.

    • Brown Bunny! The name alone is completely adorable! I might have to investigate acquiring another Peanut Butter and Jelly… it came in a Bark Box so I didn’t actually pick it out… I can only imagine the surprise and joy at our house if another one appeared! Thanks, Elizabeth, xo

  3. Awww…Pepper. You were lucky that PB&J lasted for months, though. If it has a squeaker in it, Bella will tear a toy to shreds the moment she hears the first squeak. I’ve given up buying them. Have a happy Sunday and thanks for always giving us humans something to chew on.

    • Pepper used to de-squeak toys regularly, but she had become a little gentler with them. Then THIS happened, so all bets are off. It sounds like you’ve got Bella’s number on the squeak toys! I’m so glad you enjoy the Pepper posts, thank you for all warm wishes, Dallas, xo

  4. The post and the photograph remind me of my beloved and lost Belle

  5. Sometimes we make mistakes, even Pepper! It just happens! PB&J had a good life with Pepper!

  6. Pepper always gives us something profound to ponder. Was it Kant who studied the collateral damage that comes when a moment of joyful abandon collides with existential angst? Either way, I’m glad you were there to help her pick up the pieces, so to speak.

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