Cooper – A Gift To Children

This blog post is dedicated to Cooper, a rescued dog who inspired everyone she met.  Here is her story written by the person who knew her best . . . the woman who adopted her shortly after Cooper’s rear leg was amputated.  This story reminds us of the strength of the human-animal bond and the way animals enrich our lives!  

Cooper’s Story

    I realized years ago that our dog Cooper was put on this earth for some very special reasons and that she is one very lucky dog!  When she was about 8 months old she suffered an accident and her owners at the time decided the only answer was to euthanize her.  As luck would have it one of the vet techs saw a sweet young dog that wasn’t ready to go.  A call was made to my rescue group for financial help but the money wasn’t there for emergency surgery as is often the case.  The group couldn’t do it but a compassionate volunteer agreed to personally pay for her surgery.  Her right hind leg was amputated at that time, surgery was done to repair her  intenstinal damage, a kidney was removed then several years later (during an x-ray) we found that she also and had several bridged vertebrae.

    I so vividly remember the moment I first met her; she had recently had her stitches removed and was still weak from her leg amputation and surgery but when I walked up to her kennel she smiled in greeting and wagged her entire body as her eyes asked if all was good.  Cooper came to live with us as a foster dog in April of 2002.  She was so fearful at first and was so concerned about pleasing us as we slowly introduced her to her new world.  She had gone from an ignored dog in the back yard to Queen of her castle!  We started her rehabilitation right away as she had not yet learned how to balance on the one hind leg.  Ever so slowly she gained strength and found her courage as we quickly learned that she had the biggest heart in the world.  When I got a call from the rescue Adoption Chairperson that someone was interested in interviewing her for a potential adoption my husband and I decided that NO WAY was this little girl ever leaving our home!

    In June of 2002 the White Mountains were ravaged by the Rodeo-Chediski fire and we found ourselves evacuated with our three house rabbits and one very fearful cattle dog.  At that time Cooper had barely learned to walk on a leash and we evacuated to my mom’s home in Scottsdale were we spent 12 days.  I was once again amazed with her resiliency as she still wasn’t quite housebroken and had never seen the hustle and bustle of the big city.  We came home from that experience and started working with her on basic commands and attended a few training classes.  In 2003 she passed the AKC Canine Good Citizenship class and then I was so pleased and proud of her when in January of 2004 she passed her evaluation for Therapy Dog International and became a Therapy Dog.  What an opportunity for her to give back to the community.

    During the school year Cooper visits the Step Ahead Pre-School every Friday.  There she teaches Pre-School children how to be respectful to dogs, groom them, care for them and most of all love them.  When I say “come let’s go see the kids” her eye light up and her entire body erupts in a huge wag.  Her summers are spent at the Show Low Public Library where every Friday in the Tail Wagging Tutor program kids make appointments to read to the dogs.  This program gives the kids reading confidence and Cooper lot’s of love.

So here we are almost 11 years later and truly what I find is that we are the lucky ones to have found her.  Not a day goes by that we don’t thank the amazing and loving volunteers that make our rescue group the organization that it is.  Adopt a rescue pet and you will forever be as grateful as we are!

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.