Why We Adopted Cooper: Part I

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….

Summa 085

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.

Fall 020

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.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

15 responses to “Why We Adopted Cooper: Part I

  1. Callie's mom

    I do think Cooper is right where he belongs….I read somewhere that “you end up with the dog that is right for you” no matter the difficulties. Cooper is happy, safe and well-loved. He couldn’t be in a better place!


  2. Suzanne

    I’m so glad that you did adopt him for all the reasons you mentioned. I gave a reactive dog too so I know what you’re talking about but it’s for those reasons I’m so glad that you have Cooper. You know what to expect and how to deal with it and you’re willing to do what it takes. That’s not easy to find and poor cooper would have paid that price. Thanks again for rearranging your life for him. I really appreciate what you’ve done


  3. Thank you for your honesty! THAT is so valuable! My pack is a pack of mostly unadoptables (or ones that would really make a family alter their normal existence) so I appreciate your candor and letting other realize it was not Cooper but what adopting him would mean.


  4. beewitchinstitchin

    I can totally relate to your post and your concerns about adopting Cooper. We, too, live with a reactive dog and it’s not the easiest life to live. We wanted a dog to hike with and take to outdoor cafes and walk with ease. Instead, we live with a dog that is perfect in nearly every way, except he isn’t comfortable around other dogs and we are constantly on the alert when we are out and about. That being said, we are head over heals in love with him and can’t imagine life without him. Thank you for giving Cooper the love and understanding that he needs and deserves. Congratulations to the entire family!


  5. I feel you guys! It’s so comforting to know that there are other people out there with reactive dogs doing right by them and sticking it out- sometimes we feel like we are the only ones. We’ve got all the same issues- only one dog that can come over to play, waiting in the car at the vet, trip out of town issues… all of it. Kudos to you guys for taking on the challenge, it’s not an easy road but definitely one paved with LOVE!


  6. Teresa

    We also have a reactive dog. I go out at 5am to walk so he doesn’t run into other dogs and we have to do what you also do at the vet even when he’s muzzled. We are thinking of getting the vet mobile service to come in for his vaccines next month so he isn’t stressed out as well as myself. But even though we do all this I can’t imagine life without him. He loves his family deeply and when I look into those eyes I know even though we go through some tough times he’s ours. Congrats on giving Cooper that loving family he was looking for!


  7. Oh boy, this sounds exactly like what we went through when we finally adopted our foster after a year of searching for her forever family. The only difference for us was Mags isn’t reactive (thankfully) but she definitely isn’t what we would have picked as our third dog if we’d had a choice. Despite that, I cannot fathom life without her! Congratulations for all of you, especially Cooper 🙂


  8. True, deep, unconditional love at it’s finest! Having two dogs that are not ‘easy’, I understand. I love that Cooper is rocking your world! You get to rock his world back!


  9. Little Cooper sounds so much like my dog Maxx, we had all the same issues that you did. He was also such a love, so sweet and playful, kind of a permanent puppy. We lost him this past April to cancer at age 6. Not a day goes by that we don’t miss him terribly. When I saw you adopted Cooper I was soo happy. I was one of the ones that wondered what took you so long!


  10. I went through the same thought process with Rufus. Even though we can continue to foster with him (and will be again very soon!), he is not an easy dog. Despite all of these obstacles and limitations, he’s the love of my life. Cooper is so lucky to have an amazing family like yours.


  11. I am so glad you are writing about this. I think so often blog readers think that each foster should stay with their family… but there is a lot to consider when making a foster a forever dog. 🙂


  12. Like a bunch of other commenters…we know what it can be like to live with a reactive dog!! We didn’t know Maggie was reactive when we got her from the shelter but we wanted to be able to go hiking, to parades, 5k’s, all that good stuff…well, not with Miss Mags. Came as quite a surprise since we’ve never had a reactive dog growing up! But like Cooper, we LOOOOVE her to pieces because she’s so cuddly and wonderful. Honestly, in a good long while when the time comes to look at pups for our home, we will be more careful in finding the right fit. But we couldn’t be happier to have saved Maggie and given her a home and love. Congrats on adopting Cooper!!!!


  13. Buffy

    I love your boys and all stories about them both. When you describe Cooper, for the most part you are describing our dog. (We don’t have the small appliance issues.) Our life is perfect and she the perfect girl if we are home alone with smooth jazz blocking out the street noise, the park is empty except for us, only kitty cats are in the vets office…you know.
    I do wish we could be that family knocking over things in PetSmart with our happy tail, sniffing behinds at Barkaroo and Dogs Day, but I just don’t know if we ever will be. I love her so much and can’t imagine life without her though. The good and joy she brings definitely outweighs the bad. For the same reason my husband puts up with me hanging out in the shallow end and sitting on the beach, I will hang with her as we avoid PetSmart and the dog festivals. :-/


  14. Pingback: A Very Cooper Christmas | A Heartbeat at My Feet

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