If you stick around long enough there are five things you will undeniably read about at least once if not multiple times. They are as follows: My kooky family, my upcoming wedding, my boy, my politics and my dog. Today you got lucky, its my dog.
Cooper is what could be considered a project dog, to say the least. He's old, he's moody, he's afraid of grass and water, he has no front teeth, and he is, with the exception of Guy, one of the best things that has happened to me by chance. I never expected to find my sort of a dog person fiance glued to the front of a kennel containing a smelly ratty old terrier mix that looked more like an abandoned mop head than a dog when we weren't even looking for a dog, but I did one warm day in June while stopping at the San Diego Animal Shelter to pick up my volunteer sweatshirt. I found Guy squatting down, attempting to make himself small in the eyes of this 15 pound dog which is not an easy feat for a man who stands at 6 feet 5 inches. Did I mention he was baby talking to this dog, a mildly unresponsive dog who's matted tail would occasionally wag across the cement floor which ,of course, only fueled Guy's efforts more. If you have ever been to an animal shelter you know that the noise in the dog kennels is nearly unbearable, full of excited dogs showing off to every passerby and my first question of course was then why doesn't this dog care? The truth of the matter, as I found out later, was that he had given up. In his nearly seven week stay at the shelter he had seen hundreds of pairs of feet pass him by and hundreds of kind hands had pressed up against the front of his kennel until they read his chart. " 9 and 1/2 years old, too old. Let's look for a puppy". Guy was set on taking this dog home. We did an interact. The woman who oversaw everything told us he was going to be the worse dog we ever had, he was going to pee on everything, he was going to snarl, he was going to chew and for the most part she was right. After having him pee on the floor too many times to count, we crate trained him. But in his defense Cooper never has, to this day, chewed on anything of importance although he has a gum fetish and will seek it out until he finds the prize. We adopted him. We paid $35 and we came back to pick him up the next day. He was newly neutered and came with a leash, a personalized dog tag, shots and licensing for a year. He had a name, Cooper, which derived from two placed Gary Cooper, the actor and Coop, a character from MegasXLR, and he had a family. Despite all his old man grumpiness at times he has turned out to be the best money-pit I have ever owned.
He's not the best behaved dog I've ever owned although he's learning and he wants to be that dog. Everyday he does something that makes me laugh, something that makes me angry and something that makes me stop a minute and think about the world and the idiosyncrasies created by so many things all mashed together. Today as I was taking him out for an early morning pee and walk about the complex he stopped to sniff a ray of sunshine peaking through the leaves onto the sidewalk as though it was a tangible thing. After licking it twice, apparently satisfied that he had either welcomed it to the neighborhood or vanquished its evil he wandered on looking for a proper place to pee and when he was finished with that he cantered back to the door where he took a seat upon the mat and waited for further instructions. Since that day at the shelter he has livened up quite a bit and people are often surprised to find that he is indeed an older dog at 10 and 1/2 years and not the new spirit of the puppy but the unbreakable and ever vigilant soul of a wise old man. In trying to help Cooper along in this world, Guy and I have both found out things about ourselves and learned to appreciate small moments of joy and relish in the unexpected, as they make getting out of bed in the morning worth all the while.
2 days ago