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Happy Birthday, Cooper!

April 18, 2012

Two years ago today, a hairy little bundle of spunk was born. It was another 7.5 weeks before I finally met the pup who would eventually be named Cooper, but it’s clear now that we were meant to find each other.

First known picture of Cooper

Now, on his second birthday, I thought it might be the right time to give a little more of Cooper’s story.

As I’ve said before, Cooper is supposed to be a mix of a mini Australian shepherd and a mini poodle. His trainer and vet have both speculated that he must also have terrier in him. Poodle owners, though, tell me he’s clearly got a poodle face, while Aussie owners will tell me he definitely got the Aussie coloring and temperament.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. He’s Cooper and he’s my family.

Cooper was originally adopted/bought when he was just 7 weeks old by a young couple living in Hillsboro, Oregon. Within a couple of days, they listed him on Craigslist. When I reached out to them, they said they discovered they were allergic to him, although he was part poodle. I told them that I wanted to meet him, but I wasn’t sure exactly when I could stop by. The husband replied that the sooner I could get there, the better because they wanted to go to the bar for the evening.

At that point, I knew that even if I didn’t like the dog, I wasn’t going to leave without him. I’d take him and find him a new, better home.

I also decided that the story about being allergic to him was probably just that — a story. More than likely, they were overwhelmed with the responsibility of having a tiny puppy in their lives.

When I arrived, they met me outside of their apartment with the tiny caramel and chocolate bundle. I wasn’t exactly prepared for a pup that weighed in at only 2 pounds — less than the first kitten I ever owned. But I discovered that he was like any other pup once they put him on his feet and he pounced on my shoe and immediately started chewing on my laces.

I started asking a couple of questions and quickly realized that my gut reaction to take him out of their home had been right. They didn’t have a box or crate for him. Instead, they’d kept him locked up in the bathroom all night and had been surprised that he cried for hours and made a mess of the room. He also had a bad case of diarrhea, but they assumed it would just clear up and hadn’t taken him to the vet. I don’t think they meant any harm to the pup. I just don’t think they knew any better.

I thanked them for the information, bundled up the pup and took him home. I made a warm bed for him in a crate and called the vet as soon as they opened the next morning. The vet, who managed to squeeze him in between other appointments the same day, discovered that he had a bad case of coccidia, an intestinal parasite that wouldn’t have cleared up on its own.

Cooper clearly developed his love of sitting on things early. Now, he loves to sit on Zoey.

After two days on the medicine, the diarrhea disappeared. And after a week, he’d gained more than a pound, and started to show his spunky personality.

What do I mean by spunky? Well, he was too small to climb the stairs to the house from the back yard, so I would have to carry him in. If I picked him up before he decided he was finished playing, he’d growl at me in the most menacing little voice he could muster.

Then, there was his active imagination. I know that people say dogs can’t imagine, but I don’t know how else to describe his behavior. As a tiny pup, he’d scrabble under the bookshelf with one of his toys in tow. He’d then lay down with just his nose sticking out and start growling and barking at nothing. After about 30 seconds, he’d climb out, dragging the toy behind him and then prance around the room, almost as if he were proud of the fact that he’d saved the toy from some unseen enemy.

He also showed just how much he loved food. At 10 weeks of age, he stayed at my parents’ house for the afternoon. When I picked him up, I was told he had gotten into their dog’s food. He managed to eat an entire cup of kibble before they realized he wouldn’t stop on his own. That night, he was barely more than a tight, round belly with legs and all he wanted to do was sleep. Every time he rolled over, he’d groan.

Cooper and his Premier Pet Kibble Nibble. The toy slowed down his eating and kept him occupied for 20 to 30 minutes each feeding.

He survived the night, but his love of food persisted. I had to work with him through food aggression issues (thankfully now completely behind us) and find solutions when he would eat so fast that he would throw up afterward (the Premier Pet Kibble Nibble was a lifesaver for this).

Still, he’s eaten countless pieces of bark, cat toys, rawhides, baseboards, desiccated earthworms, rocks, slugs … the list goes on. He’s never met a treat he doesn’t like, and actually begs for vegetables (bell peppers are his favorite).

Cooper and Mr. Fox. This was his very favorite toy for many months. He'd carry it around all day and even sleep with it. When I first bought it, it was actually bigger than he was, so I think he thought of it as his big brother or something.

Cooper has also been a handful from an early age. His mind was always going and I had to give him numerous outlets to drain both his physical and mental energy. That was a big part of the reason I took him to training — not only to teach him something, but to give him an outlet for his excess energy.

Of course, as I’ve said many times before, if it wasn’t for his trainer, he likely wouldn’t have made it to his first birthday. After all, Cooper has been known to push boundaries. He’d ignore direct commands, climb on top of me to show dominance and find new and different ways to get his way even after he’d been told no multiple times. To this day, he still “talks back” to me from time to time when I give him a command he doesn’t want to complete.

Yes, he has driven me absolutely nuts in the (almost) two years since he came into my world, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cooper at 6 months old

Cooper at Halloween (18 months old)

Cooper at 23 months old

Just how much has Cooper grown since I’ve had him?

Consider the two pictures below. The first was taken just after I got him. The second was just a couple of months ago. In both, he is laying in the exact same cat bed that I bought from Cat Adoption Team more than two years ago for my feline friends. Since Cooper has come into the house, they haven’t even tried to get near it.

Cooper when he was about 2.5 pounds

Cooper at 25 pounds and holding steady.

From → Animals, Cooper

  1. Meaue permalink

    Well, happy birthday Cooper Boy! You are one lucky pup!

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