Cooper was born on a beautiful farm in Southern Indiana, a setting so idyllic it seemed to be right out of a Fannie Flagg novel. He was a regal Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Cavaliers were bred simply to be lap dogs for royalty. He looked delicate, but loved the outdoors.
After being returned to this farm two times in his short 4 months of life, he finally met the girl of his dreams. He left the country and settled into a permanent home and new life with his girl, in a Chicago high rise.
Initially, Cooper only had eyes for his girl, and those eyes were big! He was a shy boy, darting away from dog lovers eager to give him gentle pats. He especially didn’t care much for men, with their imposing height and booming voices.
Like his royal ancestors depicted in English paintings, he happily fulfilled his role as a lapdog whenever his girl was home. His girl soon learned he was a sensitive soul, and when she was at work or away, he was lonely and anxious.
After a few months, his girl knew he needed a companion of his own. Cooper and his girl rescued a Cavalier from some hardscrabble beginnings and named him Harley. The boys instantly bonded. Cooper now had a brother.
Cooper remained the perfect gentleman, with his soft step, quiet nature, and good manners. In contrast, Harley was more Animal House frat boy, full of uncouth behavior: loud barking, belching after every meal, butt-scootin’ on the carpet, and of course, the most disgusting and disturbing of all canine behaviors….poo-eating.
Cooper was dignified and reserved. Harley was a party on four legs and loved everybody. This odd couple embarked on the adventure of life, like a pair of bookends.
For the next few years, they were livin’ the city life with their girl all to themselves.
The boys loved their walks on the city streets,
and their weekends at the lake in Indiana.
Then, their girl introduced her boys to a man. Of course the always social Harley liked him right away, but even the usually bashful Cooper did, too. He let this guy feed him, pet him, and even hold him.
With Cooper’s approval, the four of them officially became a pack.
They settled into a new home in the city, and welcomed a new pack member the next year.
This baby girl came with soft, cuddly blankets, and smelled so good.
Cooper understood his girl’s new role as a Mommie. When her lap was full, he happily took a spot next to her.
When the baby girl began to move around, the boys found higher ground to escape her curious grasp.
As the little girl grew, they let her invade their space.
She loved the boys, calling them Poopie and Harwee.
She told everyone they were her best friends.
Soon, they welcomed a baby boy to the pack.
By now, Cooper took it all in stride.
Cooper had blossomed from a shy puppy to a gentle family dog.
Ironically, this sweetheart of a dog born on St. Valentine’s day, had a heart condition.
After 9 years, including one great, final summer at the lake, and one last Christmas, his heart was growing too weak to continue doing all the things he loved. So, today on a cold January morning, in the arms of his beloved girl-turned-Mommie and his Dad, his brother Harley cuddled up next to him, and under the tender care of his lifelong Veterinarian, he became a true angel dog.
Sure, cats have nine lives, but lucky dogs like Cooper live a life so full and are so well-loved, one life is all they need.
All of us, most especially his brother, Harley and his best friend, Mina, just wish it could have been longer.
That’s the thing about a dog’s life, isn’t it?
It’s just never long enough.