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  • G. L. Gooding

Cooper Capers: The Beginning

My wife Sarah and I recently were joined by a four-legged friend we named Cooper. He is a miniature Labradoodle, although Sarah isn’t sure about the miniature part. As you can see from the photo, he is an interesting blend of dark brown, copper, and black breaking up an otherwise white coat. His eyes, when you can find them, are an incredible dusty, rust color that melted our hearts from day one.

We haven’t owned a dog for a long time, but since we live in what could be claimed as the dog owner capital of Ohio, if not the entire country, it seemed our destiny. We wanted to be smart about this adventure at our ages, however. Cooper arrived quite well trained for a seven-month-old pup. He sits, lays down, waits to be given food or toys, and was potty and crate trained from day one. According to Sarah, that makes Cooper much better trained than I.

For years, I had said that I would not get another dog unless it was well trained and most importantly, would outlive me. But given the growing difficulties in our lives, it seemed the time had suddenly become right. My hope was that Sarah would gain a pal to keep her company and I would have a playmate. Seems I got my part of the bargain, but Sarah not so much, so far.

In a way, Cooper’s arrival has been both a blessing and a curse, well not a curse, but more challenging for Sarah. Given her malady, remembering commands has been difficult for her. Thus, when he wants to “puppy” bite, jump up, or just be too active for her liking, she shies away from him. Then, when he won’t accept affection from her, she is disappointed, especially when he follows me around like, well like a puppy. Hence, Cooper is a blessing for me, not so much for Sarah, at least at the present.

Every morning I get Cooper out of his crate. All twenty-five pounds of furry energy heads for the back door at warp speed. Regardless of the weather (it is now January and 11 degrees in Chagrin Falls, Ohio) we head out to the large, well fenced back yard. A dozen bushes and one pile later, we head back inside for a treat and a drink, coffee for me and water for Cooper. Then while I do my morning routine, Cooper waits next to a comfy chair in the living room.

When I sit down, Cooper immediately launches (and I do mean launch) himself into my arms. After Cooper licks me from ear to ear, I hold him for the next ten minutes scratching his back, tummy, and behind his ears while Cooper gazes out the front window watching other dogs and dog owners walk by in a steady stream.

Then Cooper hops down and waits for treats that he earns by obeying commands to sit, lie down, and “leave it”. Then we play toy toss across the living room (not a big place) until I stop. This annoys Cooper greatly as he could go on for hours. At this point, Cooper settles in next to the chair while I sip coffee and we both wait for Sarah to join us.

I used to walk Cooper around the block, but now that the weather has turned, we take advantage of the big yard and the close proximity to the back door and heat. I’ve seen more sunrises than I’ve ever seen before thanks to Cooper. His companionship and the solitude we have each morning has quickly created a bond for which man’s best friend is famous. Now the goal is to create that same bond between Sarah and Cooper.

Stay tuned for the adventures of Cooper as he changes our lives.


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