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  • G. L. Gooding

Cooper Capers: The Fix




Our odyssey with little Cooper’s neutering his over! As dog owners who have experienced this process, the surgery, at least for the owners is the easiest part. Not so much for the dog. It’s when we brought Cooper home that first night that the “fun” began.


Recovery was estimated at from 10 days to two weeks. During that time it is our job to keep Cooper quiet with a hideous cone around his neck the entire time. With any young, energetic dog, this is easier said than done.


Sarah and I worked out what we felt was a good plan to address the challenges presented by his surgery and our three-story house. The two sets of stairs inside and outside were off limits during the recovery. That meant we’d be keeping Cooper on the lowest level. This would give him room to roam, rest, and recuperate safely with easy access outside.


Inside, we had restricted his movements to the floor level, blocking off his favorite giant, old leather couch, but leaving him the entire level filled with easily cleaned floors in case of an accident. Plenty of old blankets, a soft bed, and lots of toys would hopefully keep him relatively quiet.


Then, the snows came. On successive days shortly before the surgery, mother nature dropped over a foot of snow on Chagrin Falls not once - twice. With a strong wind, drifts surrounded our house. After a one-day break in the snow, one filled with lots of shoveling, I made a space for the dog just outside the basement door.

We were fortunate to get Cooper to the vet on the morning of the surgery. That night, after he returned home, the snow returned, dumping nearly another foot. By this time, the 15’ by 20’ space I’d been shoveling repeatedly was surrounded by a wall of snow over five-feet high, and I was eating Ibuprofen like candy.

Imagine Cooper’s surprise when he ventured outside for the first time to find his “exercise”, multi-purpose prison, surrounded by ice walls. This made access to his normal yard, a huge playground for him, impossible to reach. The confinement coupled with the 10’ lead I used to keep him from being too active, did not please him, or encourage doing his business.

For the first two-days, thanks to medications, he was relatively docile. By day three however, Cooper was itching to run, jump, and play, making our job more difficult. Meanwhile, the snow kept coming, thankfully only a few inches at a time. It still required constant shoveling for Cooper’s space, followed by more OTC meds for me.

In addition to monitoring Cooper’s daily activity, my role was to spend the night with him. Sarah took over during the day while I caught up on missed sleep or cooked. Otherwise, we both spent lots of time watching television and watching the snow fall while the temperature plummeted to below zero. Needless to say, lengthy trips outside with Cooper were no fun.

Then, rather unexpectedly, Sarah got an invite to visit her sister in Sarasota, Florida. She jumped at the chance. Who wouldn’t when faced by a winter that reminded us of why people go to Florida this time of year in the first place. As for me, I remained behind to nurse Cooper through the remainder of his recovery.

Slowly but surely, Cooper’s surgical incision healed, and I began to allow him more freedom and access to the house and the snow. By day five, he had been allowed on the old couch, first with my help, then on his own. Day six he made a single trip upstairs into familiar territory. And so it went, Cooper getting better and getting more freedom in spite of the cone.

He had made such rapid progress that I took the cone off on day eight. Cooper, thankfully, left his surgery sight alone. That same night, we moved upstairs. I slept with Cooper next to me on the couch in the TV room.


The next day we walked around the block on dry sidewalks. The snow had begun to recede thanks to some warmer days and sunshine. Still, Cooper’s access to the backyard has been restricted by the massive accumulation of snow. Then, last night I let him romp in the deep snow for a while and roughhouse like days of old. He’s back better than ever. Well, maybe not exactly.

Sarah and I knew this “fix” would be arduous for Cooper and us. In spite of the pain of losing his private parts, wearing the hated cone, and being restricted inside and out, Cooper was a trooper. The experience further confirmed how lucky we are to have our precious mini-Labradoodle. Cooper seems to have forgiven us, and without a doubt, he owns our hearts. Now I’m off to give him another treat.