Pepe still peppy at 15 years old

This spring marks milestone birthdays for two Canadian icons. Tim Hortons celebrates 50 years of donuts – that’s a half century of dunking pleasure!

Another Canadian icon is about to turn 15. When you’re a dog, 15 is a milestone birthday. I don’t know how Tim Hortons is marking the occasion but Pepe the Chihuahua is attending a fiesta fundraiser in his honour and you’re all invited!


Okay, so maybe you don’t know Pepe like you know Tim Hortons. He keeps a low profile, especially over winter when he prefers to deep blanket dive in the great indoors. But Pepe is every bit a Canadian icon as Tim Horton’s. That’s because Pepe is, without a doubt, Tim Hortons’ best customer ever!

Some of you might argue that YOU are Timmies’ best customer, but Pepe and I beg to differ. Pepe is to his local Timmies what Norm was to Cheers – everybody knows his name and the staff is always glad to see him … at the drive-thru window.

It’s not the coffee that keeps him coming back, and it’s not the donuts (although he would have been the perfect poster boy for Timbits when they were introduced in 1976). Pepe has been known to indulge in a nibble or two from his foster mom’s toasted bagel. No self-respecting dog would pass that up. But none of these are the reason for Pepe’s loyalty. The plain and simple truth is he loves the car ride there and back.

This was the second time in Pepe’s life when someone came to his rescue. The first time Pepe was rescued was 10 years back, when Canadian Chihuahua Rescue and Transport (CCRT) took a much younger but no less peppy Pepe into its care. At that time, he needed 14 teeth removed due to decay and obvious neglect.

For the next decade he belonged to someone, even if that someone’s work was keeping her away from home more often than not. Loneliness got the better of Pepe. He became a compulsive groomer and stress licking his paws was made easy with the eventual loss of his remaining teeth.

At least this owner didn’t outright abandon him. She contacted the good folks at CCRT, and they knew who to call. If anyone could come to the rescue of a 14 year-old toothless, mostly deaf dog with obsessive compulsive disorder, it’s Catherine Pokrywa, founder of Sheba’s Haven Rescue.

Since 2006, Catherine has been buffing up the golden years for palliative-care pups at her sprawling property north of Kingston. Given the wildlife in her neck of the woods, she tends to rescue medium to large breed dogs – heaven forbid Pepe be mistaken for a predator’s lunch.

Right after Woofstock wrapped up last year, Pepe nestled on the lap of Catherine’s husband Bill and didn’t budge until reaching their destination three hours later. They’ve been buddies ever since. Whenever Pepe’s foster mom goes on a trip, Pepe assumes his position at Sheba’s Haven. If it’s TV time, he takes the couch next to Bill. If it’s bedtime, he takes Bill’s night stand. No other dog can fit there anyway.

Pepe may not be at the Haven permanently, but he’s still got his little slice of heaven.


About that fiesta – it’s more than just a birthday party. It’s the opportunity to contribute to the heaven that is Sheba’s Haven so more abandoned old dogs with whatever medical condition you can think of can do whatever crazy dog activity they can think of.

Yes, it’s worth the drive to Kingston to attend this fabulous fiesta complete with A-listers! Stormy the Donkey, famed Parliament Hill protestor for farm animal rights, will be in attendance along with Ignatzz and Cleo – two wild and crazy Iguanas from Recycled Reptiles Rescue! No lounging for these lizards when the Cork Sniffers will be performing live Mexican music on ukuleles! Ole!

If anyone knows how to celebrate diversity and the 15th birthday of a devoted drive-thru dog, it’s us Canadians … eh?

Come celebrate Pepe’s 15th birthday in support of Sheba’s Haven Rescue on June 1! For all the spicy details on Pepe’s Mexican Fiesta, visit Sheba’s Haven on Facebook.

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