Cooper has been an official member of our family for two months now. All the reactions we’ve gotten have been positive, but the ones that stand out are the “We knew it!” and “What took you so long?” ones. We actually started thinking about adopting Cooper a very long time ago, and there was a lot for us to consider. So, if you were wondering, here’s what took us so long….
If there was a “Meant to Be” family for Cooper out there somewhere, we wanted to make every effort to find them. We’re five-for-five finding the perfect match for our foster dogs since we started fostering. Even with one that we had to “try again” with, she ended up in the most perfect place for her. So, even with all of Cooper’s quirks, we always held out hope that his perfect match might be “out there somewhere” and just hadn’t found him yet. The longer that Cooper was with us, the harder it got to believe that they existed – but we had to try to find them. We owed it to Cooper, and to this mystery family who might be looking for Their Dog.
We’re a foster family. Adopting Cooper would end that. We LOVE fostering! We love the excitement and anticipation of bringing a new dog into our home. We love teaching them basic manners and how to be part of a family. We love seeing their progress, and we even love letting them go – because then comes the absolute best part, seeing them happy and loved in with their new families. However, after two back-to-back stints with three pups, we decided firmly that we are a two-dog household - especially when one of those pups is as high maintenance as Cooper. We knew that if we made the leap and adopted Cooper, it would be the end of our fostering days, and we were very reluctant to let that part of our lives go.
And finally, I’m just going to bring the honesty hammer down here…
It isn’t what we wanted. I am oozing with Momma guilt as I say this, because as I look down at a snoozing Cooper I can’t begin to imagine my life without him. But, the truth is, Cooper is not an easy dog.
He barks at any vehicle larger than a sedan that drives past our house, the and any person walking down the street. We can’t run the vacuum cleaner, the blender or the paper shredder with him in the house. We can’t take Cooper to our friends or families houses with dogs. Friends can’t bring their dogs over to our house (with exactly one exception). A trip out-of-town means getting a pet-sitter or finding a dog-friendly hotel (and keeping our fingers crossed that he doesn’t cause any damage). Even a simple trip to the vet requires leaving Cooper in the car, running inside to let them know we’re here, then waiting in the car with Cooper until the vet tech comes outside to let us know the coast is clear and we have a safe path through the waiting room. Outdoor dog-friendly festivals? No way. Dog parks? Forget it.
These things, among others, are the reality of a life with Cooper, and a life with a reactive dog isn’t the life we wanted for ourselves. It wasn’t so much that we didn’t “want” Cooper, it’s that we didn’t know if we were ready to commit to the life that came with owning a dog like Cooper. Maybe we were selfish for thinking this way, but it’s the honest truth. We would have wanted any potential adopter to think long and hard about what it meant to add a reactive dog to the family, so we had to do the same.
But when it came right down to it, after weighing the pros and cons, the answer was clear. Because Love makes you do crazy things, abandon all logic and reason. We were in Love. We wanted Cooper to be with us Furever and that’s all there is to it. So, he’s Ours.
Stay tuned for Why We Adopted Cooper: Part II – what pushed us over the edge.