Tag Archives: Cooper

Cooper – ADOPTED!

Well Cooper, you did it! You finally found your most perfectest, wonderfulest, fureverest family. The Ones who will take care of you until the end, who will continue to train you and have patience while you continue to work on yourself – which they understand could be a life-long process.  But most importantly, you found The Ones who will love you so fiercely, so completely that they can’t imagine their lives without you. 

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Actually Cooper, you found us a long time ago. It just took  us a little longer to realize that you were our One, too. 


When did you first Know? Was it that first weekend you came home from the shelter with me and snuggled up next to me on the couch? You haven’t left my side ever since.

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You’ve always been a momma’s boy, that’s for sure. But you soon figured out Dad was pretty good for snugglin’, too – was that when you decided to stay?

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Was it the way Oscar accepted you and took his under his wing paw, to show you the ropes, and how to be part of a Family? Did your Brother help you make up your mind?

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How did you know that we would always take care of you? Even when you’re afraid, you trust us that everything will be OK. 

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Was it the all the training we did together? Did that show you that we would always work our absolute hardest for you?

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Whatever it was, Cooper – I’m sorry it took us so long to figure it out. But the wait is over – you’re Ours now. Furever. Another heartbeat – always to be at our feet.

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We love you, Cooper! Welcome to the Family.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Why So Glum, Schmoop?

Coopers 212Broke my collar again.

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What’s a Coop to do?


Looks like it’s time for hand-me-downs, such is the plight of all younger siblings.




Filed under Our Foster Journey

Adventuring With Dogs

Last weekend I bravely embarked on an adventure with Oscar and Cooper that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time – a canoe trip.  It’s something I was pretty sure the dogs would enjoy, but I’d been putting it off for a long time because frankly, I didn’t know exactly “how” to do it.  I was nervous I wasn’t prepared for taking the dogs on such a journey, and I was worried because I had no idea how they would handle it. However, on this particular weekend, my adventurous spirit got the better of me and I thought, “I’m just going to do it.” So I rented a canoe, strapped it to the ol’ Honda, and off we went.

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Foster dad was otherwise engaged so I grabbed two of my girlfriends, one of whom is a total outdoor nut and is on the river often, so I at least had her to rely on as the expert of the canoe part of the trip. The dog part would be up to me. I resigned myself to the fact that the first 45 minutes or so of the trip would probably be pretty horrible, until the boys and I got our rhythm down.

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I was right. The first 45 minutes totally sucked.

Oscar almost drowned. Well maybe not actually nearly drowned, but he sure freaked me out.  The canoe probably freaked him a bit at first, because one of the first things he did as we pushed off was jump right out in the middle of the river.  Now, Oscar has been swimming plenty of times, and is very at home in the water. But, at this particular point in our journey, there was nowhere in sight easy to pull off to the shore and hoist him back into the canoe. So, poor Oscar had no choice but to swim along side the canoe until we could find somewhere to pull over. It was definitely the farthest he’d ever swam, and I thanked my good sense that I had put him in a life jacket with a handle on the top. Picture me carrying an Oscar suitcase over the side of the canoe as he paddled along. He did not jump out again.

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We nearly lost Cooper over the side as he tried to eat the splashing water. Cooper has a thing for splashing water, remember? However I think he learned from Oscar because we managed to keep him in the boat.

We nearly lost both the boys on a stop, after they swam to the other side of the river and scrambled up a steep bank. This was easily the scariest moment of the day. After Oscar abandoned ship and we nearly lost Cooper over the side as well, we decided we needed to pull off and regroup. We found a nice little pebbly area and pulled the boats up onto the rocks. It looked like a great secluded spot where there was “nowhere for the dogs to disappear off to,” and they could splash around and release some energy.  Well that was a foolish thought. Almost immediately both Oscar and Cooper bounded into the water, swam to the opposite side of the river and climbed out onto some slippery rocks. Too nervous to jump back into the water off of said slippery rocks, Oscar just froze and Cooper scrambled up the steepest river bank I had ever seen – I would have thought there was no way he could have gotten up there, but he proved me wrong!  Thankfully he was responsive to my calls and came back down (who knows what was at the top??), but he still didn’t want to swim back across the river. So, I did what any momma would do, and went to the rescue of my boys in need. I waded across to collect them.

Once I got out into the river I realized it was traveling faster than I thought, so even if the boys had jumped in to swim back across, they would have ended up way down stream. Thankfully the water only came up to my waist so I was able to keep two feet on the river bottom, and coaxed Oscar and Cooper off of the rocks into the water. I held onto their life jacket handles as they swam along beside me back safely to shore, where they stayed safely clipped to their long leashes for the rest of the trip.

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Cooper peed in the boat.  Yep, nothing else really to say about that.

So what did I learn?  Lots. First of all, no matter how good of swimmers I think they are, life jackets are super important for the dogs. No, not important – necessary. Oscar and Cooper are both great swimmers, but I can’t shake the feeling that something horrible could have happened if they hadn’t been wearing them. Shoot, if for no other reason than ease of picking them up, they are the best money I’ve ever spent on dog stuff. Both Oscar’s and Cooper’s vests were from Outward Hound, and they worked perfectly.

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Second, they boys have to stay leashed. As much fun as it is to let the dogs run around on their own and let them swim and play at will, the fact is that they don’t have enough off leash training for me to trust them to stay close, even in what I think might be a safe atmosphere. Even after we returned safely from the other side of the river, Oscar tried to swim over again. This time, since he was on a leash, I could gently spin him around and bring him back to our side.

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Third, seating arrangements: at first, I thought it would be better if my friend sat in front of the canoe, and for me to sit in the back so I could keep an eye on the boys. As it turns out, the person in back is pretty dang important to things like steering, and you know, going. I was so distracted by the dogs most the time that we ended up hitting trees, rocks, and even spinning completely around backwards. After our regroup, my friend and I switched positions and I sat in the front but faced backwards. That way, if I had to stop paddling to keep a dog from jumping out or something, it wouldn’t matter as much as if I had been in the back.

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The last thing I learned is that there’s always going to be a “first time” you do something new with your dogs. You can live in fear and worry and wait until you magically know that everything will go perfectly, or you could realize that some things are impossible to predict, prepare as best you can, and just jump in. I would absolutely take the boys canoeing again. Next time, it still won’t go perfectly, but it will go a little better. And a little better still the time after that.  Hey, even by the end of this first trip, I had two dogs laying down in the canoe. And that’s pretty darn good.

Plus, then they came home and did this…

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….can’t beat that!

So, now I ask you guys…what kind of adventures to do you go on with your dogs, and how did your first time go? How did you prepare, practice and get better?  Or, what’s something you’ve wanted to do with your dog, but have put off because you’re nervous about how it will go?  Please share your canine adventurings below!



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Cooper Says Relax

As we mentioned a little while back, Cooper is temporarily off the market. No, he hasn’t been adopted, but the Cooper-monster is in limbo for now while he continues “working on himself.”  We started his second round of Relaxed Rovers class this month. We first went through the class last year when Cooper started showing some reactivity towards other dogs when we’d be out and about. Cooper’s reactivity comes from a classic case of anxiety, he just doesn’t like what he doesn’t know – that includes strangers coming into the house, scary two-legged three-foot tall monsters (aka “children”), and other dogs.

"Go 'way go 'way!!"

“Go ‘way go ‘way!! Look, I’m ferocious, RAWR!!”

Kat Martin of Dogs & Kat teaches our Relaxed Rovers class.  We worked with Kat for Cooper’s Basic Obedience Class, as well as Agility. In Relaxed Rovers, “we work on helping dogs learn to be calm and focused on their people in distracting environments. This class if for dogs who have a hard time being calm, whether due to excitement, reactivity with other dogs or people  (especially when on leash), anxiety, or just plain lack of focus. This class is also very beneficial for dogs who compete in sports like agility.”In other words, this class is right up Cooper’s alley.

"Yes, I simply must learn how to relax."

“Yes, I simply must learn how to relax.”

When Cooper encounters a strange pooch on a walk, or at the vet, or anywhere in public, he puts on his big boy bark and puffs up his little chest and starts yelling at the offending canine: “HEY! YOU’RE TOO CLOSE! I DON’T KNOW YOU AND YOU’RE FREAKING ME OUT! GO ‘WAY PLEASE!!”  He’s not misbehaving, he just doesn’t know any other way to communicate to us that he’s uncomfortable. Unfortunately, when a Cooper freak-out happens, our first instinct is to pull Cooper out of the situation STAT – which unintentionally reinforces his “bad” behavior. Cooper learns that if he tells us with his words that he’s scared, we’ll take him out of the situation. And so the cycle continues.

What we need to do is teach Cooper that he can trust his People to take care of him if he gets nervous. When a strange dog or scary monster appears out of nowhere, Cooper needs to know that his People will take care of the situation, and he doesn’t need to worry. Part of this learning experience is on us, as Cooper’s handlers, learning how to read his cues so we’ll know when he’s starting to get nervous, before we enter full on freak-out mode. Us learning how to read Cooper, and managing the situation to keep it below his “threshold” helps build trust, and ultimately let’s Cooper know that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Cooper practicing "Look at That" like a bawse.

Cooper practicing “Look at That” like a bawse.

Cooper is crazy-smart, like freakin’ Mensa level smart. He gets it, he really does. The hardest part of this class will be training foster mom and foster dad (OK, mostly foster mom) to keep their cool in “scary” situations – easier said than done at times!

Cooper is off the market for now, but Agape Animal Rescue has lots of other wonderful, adorable, adoptable pooches searching for their furever families! Check ’em out, here.

For any of our Nashville readers who are interested in Relaxed Rovers or other training classes with Dogs & Kat: Dog Training & Behavior Counseling, visit their website for class descriptions  and schedules.

….oh, and don’t forget to mark your calendars for Glitter and Glam this weekend!



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Did Cooper Get Adopted?

A few of you savvy investigative readers have noticed that Cooper has disappeared from Agape’s “Adoptable Dogs” page on their website.  Of course the natural question that followed has been, “Did Cooper get adopted??”

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First off let me say – shame on you, readers! Did you honestly think I would let Cooper get adopted after a year and a half at Foster House and not let you know immediately??  Well, I’m so sorry to disappoint, but no, Cooper has not been adopted, and no – we have not foster failed and adopted him ourselves. He is, however, temporarily off the market.

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As we’ve mentioned before, Cooper is “working on himself.” We’ve been through Basic Obedience classes, Relaxed Rovers class, even Agility – in the hopes that we could help Cooper learn some skills that would ease his anxiety. It’s been a process, and it continues to be a process. Cooper hasn’t improved as much as we’d like in the “plays well with others” department.  When it comes right down to it, Cooper is darn unpredictable around strange dogs.  So we’re going to put Cooper through another round of training, then reevaluate to see what he needs.

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So for now, Cooper is in limbo, hanging out where he has been for the past 18 months – with us at Foster House, where he is happy, healthy, and loved.  Trust me when I tell you that when Cooper DOES finally find his furever family, you will have to be living in a cave under the ocean not to know about it, because I will be shouting it from the rooftops and writing it in the sky!

Super Cooper may be of the market for now, but Agape Animal Rescue has lots of amazing wonderful adorable loving dogs who need loving furever homes. To add one of them to your family, please fill out an online application.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

28 Things You’re Gonna LOVE About Cooper: #17

#17 Fetch.

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Give this guy a squeaky ball to run after and he’s a happy pooch!

If you’d like to add Cooper to your family, please fill out an adoption application with Agape Animal Rescue.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Re: radio silence

We’re still here, I swear!

To say we’ve had a busy spring would be the understatement of the century.  Foster Dad has been finishing up two grad school classes (teaching one and taking one) on top of a full work schedule, and me…well I’ve been working on this:


Nashville is opening up a brand new state-of-the-art, LEED certified, 1.2 million square foot gor-gee-ous Convention Center this weekend, where I am lucky enough to be gainfully employed. I’ve worked at the existing Nashville Convention Center for the last six years, and as we transition over to the new Music City Center things have been a little cray-cray.  This weekend is what we’ve all been working towards, the Grand Opening.


Grand Ballroom

The two-day Grand Opening festivities include an open house with tours of the building, an exhibit hall full of fun kids activities and free concerts. Needless to say, preparation has taken up just about every moment of my time. Not that I’m complaining – I mean, look at this place!


I keep pinching myself, I can’t believe I get to work here!
A quick update on the pooches: Oscar has an ear infection, brought on by seasonal allergies. He’s not a fan of the daily ear cleaning, but he’s taking it like  a champ.
And Cooper….well, Cooper is still adorable and adoptable.
That’s about it! Hopefully when things slow down we can catch up and finally finish our 28 Things You’re Going to Love about Cooper. In the meantime, check our Facebook page for quick updates and photos.  If you’re in Nashville this weekend, please stop by the Music City Center and say hi!  Oh, and Foster Dad’s class he just finished? He got an A. 🙂
If you’d like to add Cooper to your family, please fill out an adoption application with Agape Animal Rescue.


Filed under Our Foster Journey

28 Things You’re Gonna LOVE About Cooper: #16

If you follow us on Facebook, you know that Cooper and Oscar got into a bit of a disagreement last week, and Cooper came away with an ouchie his adorable tushy.  We were having some issues with our inter-web at Foster House, so the internet guru man came over to fix us up. While he was there, we let the dogs play outside to keep them out of his hair.  I heard Oscar start barking, which isn’t abnormal – he does that a lot. But something about his bark made me want to go out and check on them.

When I got down the stairs to the yard, I saw Oscar barking at something under the stairs. My first thought was that he had a mouse or something cornered under there that I was going to have to deal with (ew). But nope, it was Cooper under the stairs, hunkered down and going to town on some unidentified object, an object that Oscar clearly wanted for himself.

Now, Foster Dad and I both know that Oscar is a bit of a brat when it comes to sharing, so we make extra special sure not to leave any toys around the two of them unattended, and they never get bones antlers or Kongs or anything to chew on while they’re in the same room together.

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“I play with my toyz all by ‘self.”

So imagine my shock (and horror) when I got closer and saw that what Cooper was going nuts on was a rawhide bone. The first thought through my head was “Where the hell did that come from? We don’t give the boys rawhide.”  My second thought was, “Oh sh*t.”

No sooner had my second thought entered my brain than the dogs found themselves in full-on disagreement mode. Foster Dad heard the scuffle and ran out right away to help me separate them, and took that evil rawhide bone and chucked it out into the front yard to be dealt with later.

It was all over very quickly, but Oscar was clearly the one who came out on top of that situation. Thank you everyone who shared your concern for Coop, but rest assured, he’ll live.

…which brings us to our next installment in our series 28 Things You’re Gonna LOVE About Cooper!

#16 He has super-human puppy healing powers

Right after “the incident,” we examined both the boys to make sure everyone was OK. Oscar didn’t have a scratch on him, but Coop had what looked like two little puncture wounds on his tush. They weren’t very big, and they weren’t bleeding, but they were definitely deep. We made an appointment for the vet later that afternoon to get him patched up.



But Cooper was obviously not interested in going to the vet, and most likely having his tushy shaved.  Several hours later, Cooper was snuggled with me on the couch (as usual) and I was checking out his wound. And wouldn’t you know, that crazy Cooper went and healed himself! All that was left of his “punctures” were two little pink patches. No punctures at all.  What the what?

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“I haz magic on my bum!”

Foster Dad and I were totally baffled, but of course thrilled that he seemed to be just fine!

**Disclaimer: Cooper may or may not have actual magical healing powers. Always take your pet to a medical professional if you are uncertain of their magical healing abilities.

If you’d like to add Cooper to your family, please fill out an adoption application with Agape Animal Rescue.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

28 Things You’re Gonna LOVE about Cooper: #15

This next item about Cooper that you are going to LOVE is a very usefull trait, if you don’t happen to have a book or a shoe handy…

#15 Spidah Killah

Have problems with an insect infestation? Don’t hire an exterminator, adopt Cooper!

If you’d like to add Cooper to your family, please fill out an adoption application with Agape Animal Rescue.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

28 Things You’re Gonna LOVE About Cooper: #13 – 14

Cooper’s People are out there somewhere, we know it. And just in case they’re reading this blog,* we’ve been speaking directly to them  in our series “28 Things You’re Gonna LOVE About Cooper.”
*Shameless plug: won’t you please help spread the word about Cooper by sharing this blog with a dog-lover you know? It’s all about networking, people! Let’s find Cooper his home!!  OK, now back to business…

So, Cooper’s People, what else are you going to LOVE about Cooper once you add him to your family? Glad you asked…

#13 He’s secure in his manhood (…cuz he’s a real man)

Cooper has some tendencies that one might consider less-than-manly. Cooper pees like a girl (he’s a squatter, not a lifter).  He loves getting man-lovin’ from his brother, and his favorite ball is pink.

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What you’re going to love about Cooper is that he is who he is, and he likes what he likes. And hey, we don’t judge. Who’s to say boys can’t like pink? We’re all about busting through stereotypes here at Foster House.

#14 Easily amused.

As much as Cooper loves his “girly ball,” you won’t need fancy expensive toys to keep him entertained. One of Cooper’s favorite things to play with is a kitchen floor full of wadded up newspaper.

I think it’s really just his way of staying up to date on current events.

If you want to add Cooper to your family, please fill out an adoption application with Agape Animal Rescue.



Filed under Our Foster Journey