Tag Archives: Cooper

Dogs Vs. Celery

Hello, Blogosphere!

Quick update: everyone’s great! OK now that the catch-up part of this post is complete, on to the main event: a video of The Boys eating celery.

You know how parents love recording their human kids trying new foods for the first time? Human kids really aren’t my thing, but I decided I wanted in on that action. So without further ado, I bring you Oscar & Cooper’s first interaction with celery.

I love this video so much for so many reasons, mostly because this it is a great representation of each of their personalities. Cooper approaches life with reckless abandon, and is immediately trusting of anything his Person throws his way. Any time I offer Cooper a new food to try, he gobbles it up, no questions asked.

Oscar on the other hand has a much more discerning palate. When faced with a new culinary adventure he approaches it cautiously, examining every angle before diving in. The smell, the texture, and the size of the tasty nugget are properly considered before ingestion can take place. Even then, sometimes the new food won’t make the cut. (Ex: The Great Failed Raw Carrot Experiment of 2012.)

And of course when all else fails, just rip it apart!


1 Comment

Filed under Our Foster Journey

New Year, New Medical Emergencies!

Happy 2015, blogosphere!  Wow, we’ve been pretty radio-silent since August, huh? Well I’d love to say we’re making a New Years resolution to post more often, but who are we kidding? Thanks for sticking with us through the quiet times!

So, we had a little adventure over the weekend! Cooper came in from playing outside with a minor injury, with some major bleeding.


He split his back toenail right in two! If you recall, Molly Tamale had a similar injury when she was with us, so we knew not to be extremely worried, but we also knew it needed attention. And naturally, since it was after hours at our regular vet, off to the emergency clinic we went…

The staff at Nashville Pet Emergency Clinic were wonderful! They took great care of our little man, and were even understanding when we explained that he’s not a fan of other animals. They cleared the waiting room of their feline welcoming committee and got us right into an exam room. In true Cooper-fashion, our brave little warrior showed no pain and distress while waiting to see the Doc. He was just excited for an outing, and that ever-wagging tail never stopped.


Little Coop was sedated while they trimmed back his nail to the healthy quick, stopped the bleeding and wrapped him all up. I remember thinking, that’s a lot of bandage for a little toe nail! But at least it stayed put.


Once we got home Cooper was pretty loopy for the rest of the day. He kept falling asleep sitting up! Cooper got lots of snuggles and lots of rest, and by the next day he was good as new. And still – never showed any signs pain or discomfort. Such a little Cooper-trooper!


While a trip to the emergency vet is never fun (or cheap!) we’re certainly glad we have a great facility like Nashville Emergency Vet available to us. They’re open every night and weekend, so even though we hope we never need them again we’re sure happy they’re there. Never a dull moment around here!

I feelz better!

I feelz better!



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Pool Day

Oh my goodness, another record…Four months of silence on the ol’ bloggity-blog!  **hangs head in shame**

I promised you dear readers that we weren’t going anywhere, that even though we adopted Cooper and are on a semi-permanent hiatus from fostering, that the blog would live on. So, thanks to a gentle nudge from one of our favorite blogs, live on it shall…

You guys, is it hot where you are this summer? Because in Nashville, it is HOT. We are finally to a point in our ongoing backyard project where it’s becoming a usable space, and what better use to put it to than to help keep the pups cool on a hot summer day?

Pool Day (1)

Oscar loves the water, we know this for sure. Cooper is OK with it, though not quite as enamored with the wet stuff as his brother. We were interested to see how he would like his very own pool. So we dusted off the ol’ Sirius Republic water-doggin’ collars and a kiddie pool and let the magic happen. Oscar’s reaction did not surprise us, though it appears that Coop was much more interested in his old dear friend, the garden hose.

And of course what’s any good pool day without a little sunbathing?

Pool Day (4)

One five dollar kiddie pool =  two happy pups.

Pool Day (7)

How do you keep your pups cool in the summer? Are they water-lovers like Oscar or would they rather keep their paws dry like Cooper?



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Busy Bee

We have been lucky here in Nashville to have had some bee-you-tee-ful weather in the past few weeks. After being cooped up all winter, hibernating and hiding from the Polar Vortex, we have been taking full advantage of it!




All of the walks and sun-loungings in the world cannot compete with Cooper’s favorite spring time activity: chasing carpenter bees.

We’re not too surprised Coop enjoys passing his time this way. The bees are big, slow-moving tempting targets, and Cooper has displayed similar tendencies with water hoses and snowballs. Although, I have a feeling that the first time he actually catches a bee might be the last time he attempts it!


“Imma getchoo, bee.”




Filed under Our Foster Journey

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

Touch Me, Babe

Just because we’ve made Cooper a permanent resident around here doesn’t mean we’re about to slack off on his training. Our job as Cooper’s People is to help him be the absolute best Cooper he can be. Let’s catch up, shall we?

Fall 13 049

As you may remember, Cooper has anxiety. He had über separation anxiety when he first joined our household, thankfully that’s subsided substantially – I would even say completely, if I didn’t believe in jinxing myself. Cooper also has anxiety about the vacuum cleaner, the blender, the paper shredder, the lawn mower, the mailman, and the guy who walks past our house on the way to the bus at the exact same time every single day.  Those things would be manageable enough, but the main issue of Cooper’s anxiety lays with two Very Scary Things: other dogs and children.

Cooper has been through Basic Obedience, Relaxed Rovers (twice) and even Agility classes. The idea was to give Cooper confidence as well as to give Dad and I tools to help Cooper trust us and learn that when he gets nervous, there’s no need to freak out, the People have everything under control.

Agility 007

Recently we added a new weapon in our arsenal to battle Cooper’s anxiety: Tellington TTouch.  Linda Tellington-Jones developed TTouch in the 1970’s while working with horses. Since then, the technique has been found to be helpful on companion animals as well. According to their website, TTouch has been known to help in cases of:

– Excessive Barking and Chewing
– Leash Pulling
– Jumping Up
– aggressive Behavior
– Extreme Fear and Shyness
– Resistance to Grooming
– Excitability and Nervousness
– Car Sickness
– Problems Associated With Aging

TTouch 007

Miss Penny offering some nice soothing touches for Cooper.

There are hundreds of certified TTouch practitioners all over the world, and one of them is right here in Nashville. Miss Penny is an animal lover and Agape Animal Rescue volunteer and foster mom. She’s donated her time to help other Agape foster dogs, like Operation Freedom veteran Angel, overcome their demons. When Miss Penny heard that Cooper was having a hard time learning to relax, she though that TTouch might be the perfect thing to help him figure it out.

TTouch 003

Think of TTouch as focused doggy massage. Miss Penny works with Cooper rubbing his muscles in specific spots and targeting pressure points with light repetitive touches and circular motions. An important aspect of TTouch is for Miss Penny to build trust between her and Cooper – she encourages Cooper to engage with her, but she never forces the relationship. If Cooper wants to take a break, he’s allowed to walk away.

TTouch 035

Now I’ve only recently heard of TTouch so I’m no expert – I don’t know what’s going on inside Cooper’s little body and mind when he’s working with Miss Penny, but I DO know that Cooper has never looked more relaxed in all the time I’ve known him than when he’s under her healing hands.

TTouch 028

Miss Penny has been involved in TTouch since 1982.  She says, “Through decades of exploring healing practices, I have never found a single modality as powerful and effective as Tellington TTouch.  Simple, gentle touches and movements affect the receiver on mental, physical and emotional levels.  TT reduces pain, speeds physical healing, promotes soundness, releases anxiety, changes behavior, leads to self confidence, improves bonding…so many things.  With such a long list of benefits, it can sound like snake oil, but like good nutrition, TT affects every aspect of an animal.”

Cooper has now had about half a dozen TTouch sessions with Miss Penny and every time she leaves, he’s diminished to a big pile of Cooper-mush for the rest of the day. Is it helping with his anxiety? It’s hard to say.  Time, training, and practice will tell. What I can tell you is this – Cooper has now made it through two entire episodes of Pit Bulls and Parolees without going berserk at barking dogs on TV. That, my friends – is growth.

Have any of you worked with TTouch? Has it helped your pets? Please share your experiences below!



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Guest Post: Dad takes over the blog!

Bye Coop, be a good boy, I love you


A nice way to say “good bye” right?  As Cooper stood there on that brisk early morning, stretching out every inch of his long-lead, his face and slight quiver of his body disagreed.  But standing there in slippers and my Ohio State sweat suit, I was rubbing the sleep out of my eyes and didn’t notice.  The sun was just peaking up over the trees and its warmth was covering the front yard, so when Cooper didn’t feel like coming inside after Mom drove away, I thought nothing of it – he probably just wants to bask in the morning sun for a while. I went right inside, bringing Oscar with me so I could read some ElevenWarriors before work. It was then that I heard it.

Coming from the front yard, a slightly distressed, but not at all aggressive bark from the Coop called to me.  I’d heard this bark before, it’s common to hear this bark when Cooper get’s tangled up, or stuck, or just want’s to come inside.  As I walked to the front of my house I fully expected to see Cooper wrapped around a bush or my tulip poplar. To my surprise, he was just sitting there, leash fully extended, body positioned towards the street, head looking back at me.

I didn’t really understand it, I wasn’t sure what to make of his bark, or lack of being tangled.  Confused, I grabbed another leash and walked out to him. I thought that perhaps he wanted to sniff further out in the yard today? Or maybe he wanted to go for a walk? I clipped the leash on him and started walking farther out in our yard; Cooper followed, then peed. I started walking up the hill towards a park, but now I was the one that was tethered, not to my porch as Cooper was before, but to Cooper himself.


Now I was really confused.  Cooper was just sitting by the passenger side door of my truck.  Unable to coax him away, I thought to myself “Well this is weird. I guess I’ll take a picture to show Mom later today.”  This was totally new behavior.  Sure, Cooper loves to ride in the car, but he’s never insisted on “going for a ride” before.  So, reluctantly, I sort-of dragged Cooper back towards the house so that I could grab my keys and lock the door, and was lead back to the truck by Cooper.


On my way to the truck I started wondering what was happening. Where did he want to go? Am I crazy for actually following my dog? Yes. Did I care that I was acting crazy? No. How long do I have before I need to get ready for work? But most importantly, what is wrong with Cooper?  Then I remembered the last time I saw Cooper act this way.

Cooper 364

It was two winters ago, and our friends had decided to build a fence in their backyard.  Cooper was brand new to our foster family. Mom had just picked him up from the shelter a day ago.  Everybody (dogs included) was in the back yard working on the fence and watching the dogs play.  Again, Cooper was tethered (I promise we don’t leave our dogs tied up outside as much as it seems).  When Mom went inside to refresh our libations, Cooper was immediately distressed.  He ran and lunged against his tether in the trail left by Mom.  His bark wasn’t aggressive, but stressed, almost whimpering.  I was right there, not leaving, not going anywhere, and Mom was coming right back. But Cooper didn’t know that – all he saw was Her walking away from Him. And he couldn’t stand it. You see, Mom saved Cooper.  She was the one who plucked him from animal control, I didn’t meet Coop until I came home from work later that night. Mom and Cooper have, and always will have, a different bond than he and I do.

Coop & Mom

So as I backed out of my driveway, I knew right where I needed to go. Somehow, Cooper seemed to guide my turns with his nose, though he’s never been there before.  He was excited. His tongue lapped at the air, tail wagged, eyes darted into every turn before it was made.  He somehow “saw” where she had gone and knew where to find her.


So as I pulled into the garage and down the tunnel of her building where I would meet her, it was no surprise to me that he became so excited that he tried to jump out of the car, through the door as she approached.  Mom.  That was all he needed – to know where she was, that she loves him, that she’s safe, and that she will be back.

After our visit when I drove away from her, there was no mystery as to why I was getting pelted in the face by a tail whipping furiously back and forth.  Cooper was standing tall, paws to the rear window of my cab saying goodbye. When we got back home, Cooper went straight inside.  He jumped up on the couch next to Oscar, took a deep breath and sighed it all the way out, and settled in ready to snooze the day away.

Coopers 014

This is a true story, a story about Cooper and Mom, and a story of a crazy Dad. A story about Love, and I’m glad it’s mine to share.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

It’s Official!

The contract is signed, and the check is in the mail. But an adoption isn’t really complete until the family photos come back, right?


Well we must be a real family now!


Taken by the photographic genius behind Agape Animal Rescue‘s professional photos, including Cooper’s holiday portraits from last year, April Hollingsworth knocked it outta the park once again, amiright?


…and my absolute favorite:


Thank you April Hollingsworth and Harmony Designs Photography for these gorgeous photos – and of course, thank you Agape Animal Rescue for bringing Cooper into our lives!



Filed under Our Foster Journey

What’s in a name?

We have about a gazillion nicknames for the Cooper-monster,  but at the end of the day – the name suits him perfectly. Cooper couldn’t really have been anything other than “Cooper.”


This gorgeous fellow is one of the newest members of the Agape family, and he’s having a bit of an identity crisis.  He’s one of the Operation Unbridled Spirit dogs, and is currently camping out with our friends Jen & Jason (that’s right, Olive’s former pad).  At the emergency shelter he known as Jelly Roll.


Then one day he started singing a lovely song, which sounded remarkably like a certain character from a beloved sci-fi movie classic.

I happen to believe he resembles a different character from that particular movie.



Another name on the table is Frank.


So, just for fun, blog readers – let your voices be heard: Which name best suits the big guy: Jelly Roll, Chewie, Jabba, or Frank?  Cast your votes in the Comments, and please defend your answers!


If you’re interested in adding Jelly Roll/Chewie/Jabba/Frank to your family, please fill out an application with Agape Animal Rescue.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

So Now What?

Last week we announced that Cooper is now a permanent member of our family. Turns out, we just couldn’t bear the thought of letting the little nugget go! Which begs the question – now what?

Summa 089

I started this blog two years ago to chronicle our journey as a Foster Family. While Cooper continues to work on himself, that portion of our lives is put on hold. We decided a long time ago that things work best around here as a two-dog household, especially when one of our perma-dogs is a little “particular” about what kind of canine company he enjoys. But even though we won’t be fostering again for the time being, fear not faithful readers – the blog is here to stay.

We started this blog as a foster-centric endeavor, but it turns out we have a lot more to talk about: Local eventslarge-scale rescues, reviews of our favorite puppy swag


…and of course, there are always adorable hilarious antics of these two crazy beasts to keep us busy!

Oh, and remember how there was a very generous Cooper supporter who sponsored his adoption fee?  We decided to pay it forward and sponsor the dog who’s been in the Agape program the longest (after Cooper, of course). This is Prince – one of the dogs rescued during Animal Rescue Corps’ Operation Freedom.


Price had been in the Agape program since July 2013, and the poor guy had his own set of fear issues that were keeping him from finding his Furever. Well, it turns out that a sponsorship was all Prince’s foster mom needed to make the leap and join the Foster Failure Club!


Congratulations Prince & Carolyn!



Filed under Our Foster Journey