Grace

Striking a pose
Striking a pose

And just when you thought you’d seen enough posts dedicated to the Cooper Pooper, here’s another one.

Ain’t he just adorbs in this pic? So regal, so graceful, so elegant…NOT! Don’t let that smile fool you. He is the farting-ist, smelly bulldog you could ever meet! Even with a very strict diet, he routinely stinks up the place. heehee

Otherwise, he doing quite well these days. It doesn’t even seem like it’s been 3 years since I rescued him (and he me). He is coming up on his 6th birthday in May.

I’ve mentioned several times my concerns about his future health. Bullies are prone to health problems, but being white makes Cooper even more so. So far he is still doing well.1 Other than his ever present sensitive skin, he has only shown small signs of developing arthritis. It seems minor and does not need medication as of yet.

Since he loves being under the covers anytime he is allowed in the bed, I’ve taken to throwing one of his blankets over him at night before he goes to bed. He looks so cute all tucked-in in. And make no mistake, he loves it.

I’m starting a new vitamin/supplement regimen for him soon. He already eats really healthy, but I am hoping to be as proactive as possible. I want my Pooper to have as much quality of life as quantity as he moves into his “golden years.”




  1. Bullies that are over-bred can die sometimes as early as 6 []

Leave

It is probably a good thing I am not a parent (of a human child). I can barely Cooper Smilestand to leave Cooper alone when I go on trips, I’m not sure I’d be able to with a kid.

We’re traveling to LA this weekend and I’m already sad that I have to leave him behind? I haven’t even left yet!  Granted, he is in good hands w/his Uncle Carl, but that isn’t the point. We would take him but our hosts already have a dog and I’d hate to cause them undue problems if they didn’t get along.

We went for a nice walk today and played on the floor for awhile. He got all his wrinkles (and ears) freshly cleaned so he wont’t be a burden to his Uncle. He is currently passed out from his walk and will probably not even notice I’m gone for awhile. lol We’re back on Monday so I’m not even gone that long. I’d probably be one of ‘those fathers‘ if I had a kid. hehehe

I’m headed to pick up Shawn from the airport and we are driving down to LA to see his two besties.

Cooper

Cooper is doing well. He is approaching

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Nap Buddies

his 6th birthday. Can you believe it? My little pooper is all grown up now. I hope all the love has washed away those bad memories of when he was young and left alone. Bullies aren’t overly bright but they do have long memories. Anyway, I’ve been very pleased with his progress and continued health. He has yet to develop or even exhibit any major health problems that bullies are prone to. Thank the stars!

His hearing is still good and has shown no signs of declining. He has issues with certain tones but that hasn’t gotten any worse.

His skin, of course, is an every present concern. Being white makes it worse. We did discover that letting him go longer w/o baths makes combating his skin issues easier. His natural oils help ward off the never ending staff flare ups.

He did manage to hurt himself a little bit recently. We occasionally let him on the bed in the mornings. He likes to hop up and curl up with us. Some days though he’ll get overly excited and the moment he thinks we are getting up, he’ll run and jump and land on the floor. He managed to strain a muscle or ligament the last time he did it. He earned himself a few days of minor limping. He’s better but he just gets so excited at times he forgets he isn’t super dog. hehehe We’re actually thinking of lowering the bed to prevent it. Of course, this means making even easier for him to get IN the bed.

Beyond his misadventures, life is good for the Cooper. He still brings me love and makes me laugh every day. You can see from the pic, he still loves his naps. Shawn still finds it hard to believe he doesn’t suffer when we are gone. While the Coop certainly wishes we were home, he routinely sleeps pretty much the whole time. Hell, he pretty much sleeps the whole time even when we are home. If he isn’t begging for a treat or slobbering on our legs, he is usually asleep.

2013

Well, 2013 turned out to be an amazing here for me. It was a time for personal reflection on past mistakes. It was a time of emotional and financial recovery. It was also a time of joy and happiness.

The year started rather ho-hum. Nothing bad or good, just rather uneventful. I switched shifts at work for a software project. This put me on day shift, which I lamented repeatedly. Ironically, the timing of my assignment was instrumental, even if I didn’t recognize it at the time.

As time went by the year just got better and better.

There is, of course, my beloved Cooper. He always brings me joy. His unconditional love is a constant light in my life. I will never understand how anyone could abandon such a wonderful animal. Being a special needs dog only makes me love him that much more.

Of course, unless you never read my madness, there was my meeting The Pup. Knowing each other online for years, this was our first year to meet in person. I believe that life brought him to me. The coincidences and alignment of occurrences were all too obvious to ignore. My time on the project gave me a lot of flexibility to visit back and forth while he was still living in Phoenix. I truly believe I was meant to be with him. He has taught me the meaning of true love and what it feels like to be loved unconditionally. I eagerly anticipate our future together. I simply cannot imagine my life without him.

My finances came together and are well under control again. I’m still carrying a debt load but knowing I’m on top it takes a huge stress off of me. It will take a couple years to get it down to what I want but getting a consolidation loan most definitely helped. The interest was slightly higher than what I wanted but I can apply for a refinance in a year so I’m pleased.

As always, I struggle to be better than I am. It is not a NY resolution as much as an approach to life in general. The struggle continues. This past year didn’t test me as much as reaffirm my growth in this area.

I won’t miss 2013 as much as look back on it fondly. I am excited to greet 2014.

Grown

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Everyone has been asking about the Cooper. He is doing just fine. As you can see, he is sitting pretty and feeling good. We’ve had two years together this past November. What started out as a abandoned and unloved puppy has turned into a loved, valued, and wonderfully well adjusted bully. He is back down to a slim 62 lbs. And while learning to enjoy the life of leisure and comfort, he is still very active for a bully. Not to mention, having a toy been that is constantly being replenished. Update – I may have to start watching him with squeaky toys. He usually will chew the squeaker till it pops out and then ignore the toy. One toy recently we never found the squeaker so he may have taken to just eating it. The next one I’ll be watching….

We have noticed his hearing is a little off. He hears ok but has a lot of trouble triangulating where the sound is coming from.  While I’m hopeful, it won’t surprise me if he develops real hearing issues as he ages. I’ll still love my deaf monster as much as I possibly could if it happens. Beyond that, his skin is a constant battle to keep healthy. He is very prone to staff. Not surprising but still a frustration. Luckily, that is all so far. as he moves into adulthood more issues could pop up, but for an all-white bully, he is remarkably healthy so far.

Anything new still scares him at first but he is much less skiddish these days. He has become bored with the MUNI cable cars, skateboards, pigeons, and random recycle bins. They seem not to have the same “oh shit, hold onto the leash” fascination as they did previously. He knows the neighborhood pretty intimately now. He often times figures out where we are going just by the route we take to get there. hehehe

His life is easy but structured. He gets his meals, treats, and breaks pretty much on time consistently every day. I’ll probably be able to eliminate is mid-day pee break in this next year as he has mastered the art of holding it. The only mishap was once while I was gone, he peed on the floor for attention. Well that and every so often he’ll just randomly barf up his entire lunch. He proceeds to eat it a second time but it tends to leave a sticky stained mess on the carpet, which always needs attention.

I will admit every time he hacks or coughs I freak out a little bit. Apple guy and I discovered Spike’s cancer that way and I’ll always be scared the same will happen to Cooper. Of course, so far his hacks are always after food so once the irrational fear passes reason sets in. Just the thought of Cooper getting sick moves me to tears. I love him so very much.

Replaced

I was talking to a friend of a friend a while back who lost his dog recently. He was amazed when I shared how quickly I got Cooper after Spike passed.1  He said he just couldn’t bear the idea of another dog yet.

Like me, he was afraid of getting another dog for fear of betraying or trivializing the love he had for his previous one. After Spike passed, I too could not bear the idea of another dog. If it weren’t for Apple guy I probably still wouldn’t have another dog. Honestly, I think I would have closed my heart to the experience and moved on.

I explained my situation was slightly more complicated than his. His life is currently very stable with a minimum of drama. Not so much for me back then. I was extremely depressed over the recent break-up and my financial crisis. Also still living with my ex kept the wounds fresh and open. Getting Cooper was extremely therapeutic for me and saved me from more downward spirals. Out of all the memories (good and bad) I have of Apple guy’s and my time together, picking up Cooper will always be one of the brightest. It often outshines the pain and bad memories. I’ll always be grateful for him for it. He recognized it w/o me seeing it and it was the most unselfish caring thing he ever did for me.

He literally had to goad me into it. I was against the idea and resisted pretty much up until he filled out the app online. By the time the application completed and we were waiting for an answer, I was beside myself with anticipation. The idea had taken root and I couldn’t let it go. It was all I could think of and I’m sure Apple guy was more than a little annoyed that I kept asking if he’d heard anything. Finally, I couldn’t wait any longer and started emailing them directly. lol

Fast forward to the big day, it was truly love at first site when little Norm (his name back then) came bounding into the room. He was so energetic, alive, and just happy to be the center of attention.2  There wasn’t a seconds hesitation on my part. He came home with us that very day. That little monster saved me in ways he’ll never know or even understand. And my new love for Cooper has never once diminished my feelings for Spike. I see now how silly it was of me to think I could ever replace him. The care, love, and support Spike was shown at the SPCA vet center is also the primary reason I’m a volunteer there now. So even his passing inspired me in ways I didn’t expect. And now I can help other animals even if I can’t bring them home.

After sharing my story, we were both in tears and hugged over it. He said afterwards he still wasn’t ready but he had now decided to rescue another dog later on. I guess at that time he was even unsure if he could ever own another dog. It made me smile knowing my story helped him.

I found out yesterday he has started the process of rescuing a new dog. It’s been 5 months for him and he said he’s ready. I was very touched that he reached out to me just to let me know. He lives local and has started his search at the local SPCA as well as other shelters. He has 3 dogs that he is deciding from.

On a total side note, Maya, the bully I mentioned a while back, got rescued pretty quickly. I knew she wouldn’t stay long at the shelter. She was barely there two weeks and someone took her home!

On a second side note, my neighbor three doors down is dealing with end of life care for his doggie. He is 16 and his physical health is declining. He has some spine issues and lost a lot of mobility in his back legs. My neighbor got him a doggie assist wheelchair (think of training wheels for a dog) and it’s been helping. He is also on a very strong drug which is helping but it’s only a matter or time now.

I hope I can be there as a friend for my neighbor when the sad day comes.




  1. It was just over 3 months []
  2. The latter still being his favorite! lol []

Three

Little Cooper turned three this past weekend. We’d originally planned to celebrate on Sunday but the day was rainy and Cooper was in one of his mellow moods so we called it a lazy day on the couch together. He also got extra treats and a rare night sleeping in the  bed with Daddy.

I know I’ve blathered on about him here plenty. I can’t help it, I’m a proud pappa. To say he has settled into his life with me would be an understatement. He is happy and enjoys the life he lives. His only complaint would be Daddy doesn’t let him eat like the pig he would like to be. lol

He inspires me in so many ways and never ceases to make me laugh. Be it his run and flip back scratches in the morning, his “Speedy Gonzales” style runs, or just the soulful loving look in his eyes, the dog is a wonder to have around. Of course, looking at the picture you’d never believe he can run like a cat when is motivated. lol

It was because of him1 that I decided to start volunteering at the local SPCA a while back. I’ve given plenty of time, energy, and money for humans in my life. It’s time I devote some of my energies to doggies. I see so many wonderful doggies in the shelter, it can be heart-wrenching at times. It also makes me angry that humans can be so callous or uncaring for their animals. The abuse and abandonment really sets me blood on fire at times. But, I get to help out in many ways. I spend time with the dogs, I help feed and walk them. I just spend time letting them know some humans do care. The SF SPCA is a no-kill shelter which makes it all the better that so many people give up their time and love to help the dogs. And while it can be sad at times, overall it is a wonderful experience. Seeing someone go home with a new pet is quite joy-inspiring.

On a side note, The shelter just happened to get a bully recently. Bullies are special needs dogs so they usually end up with specialty orgs that deal specifically with the breed. Anyway, I nagged the staffing coordinator to let me see her even though she was still in quarantine and not really open to be visited.2 Her name was Maya and so sweet. She was malnourished a bit but otherwise in good shape. Like most bullies she was immediately ready to give/receive attention. So sweet and affectionate. She was in good shape w/few visible signs of problems that are prone to bullies. I honestly don’t think she’ll be in the shelter very long. I’m just hoping I get to spend one more day with her this coming weekend. If not, I’ll be happy she got adopted, but I so want to love on her some more first. I posted a link to her profile on my FB and Google+ page.

And as always, if you are considering getting an animal, rescue don’t buy. At the very least, check out the rescue shelters a few times before you decide to buy one. Chances are very high you’ll find the type of dog you want that really needs a good home. You’ll also spend a lot less money rescuing vs buying from a breeder.

Anyway, I’m getting off on a rant and not my point. Cooper is an adult now. He has not exhibited any signs of eye or ear problems yet. White bullies are very prone to deafness and/or blindness. While he does have some issues with certain tones, overall he hears (and sees) just fine. I’m hoping he stays that way, not that I would love him any less regardless.

We move into his third year optimistic and excited about the future together. I don’t know how I’m gonna survive 10 days w/o him in November when I go on vacation. If I could afford it, I’d bring him with me. He’d steal all the attention of course. lol




  1. and Spike []
  2. All dogs/cats get quarantined when they first arrive to test for infections/diseases before they get put in with the other animals. []

Eye

So Cooper being his normal silly self ran into the thorns on the enormous agave plant in our backyard tonight.  The moment he finishes his business he loves to bolt and run all the way to the top of the back stairs. Tonight as he bolted, he hit the plant. He didn’t yelp but I could tell something was wrong as he stopped mid gait and bent down low for a second. He then proceeded to run like normal.

I cleaned the wound and thoroughly examined his eye. Not only did he cut his eyelid he managed to actually nick his eyeball. There is a slight scratch on the lens. Now that I’ve had a few minutes to stop freaking out, he seems ok. While you can see a tiny scratch, he doesn’t seem to have actually done any real damage to his eye. There’s no leakage or deformation…thankfully.

I was almost in tears hugging him with relief. God help me if something ever happens to him I’m gonna be a total mess. Anyway, I’m gonna let him sleep it off and see how he looks in the morning. He’s gonna get a rare treat and sleep with daddy tonight. If anything looks worse in the morning, we’ll be off to the vet. He doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort at all so I’m breathing a cautious sigh of relief.

The plant will receive a thorough butchering this weekend. I’d just as soon rip it out but it ain’t mine. I can guarantee it’s leaves will never droop low enough to ever hurt Cooper again though.

Child

Someone asked me the other day if I considered Cooper my child. The conversation wasn’t overly serious so this random question took me by surprise in that I didn’t really think about my answer. I just said no. Which surprised both of us. More on my surprise in a moment. The friend followed up with, ‘Hmmm, I would have thought as much love you show him you’d see him that way.‘ Well, I was flattered he could tell I love my dog but I was a little perplexed at the implication that I could only feel the depth of love for a human. And for many that might be a natural assumption but it wasn’t one for me. After I thought a little more about it, I still don’t perceive Cooper as my child. He is more of a companion in my eyes. Do I love him any less? Absolutely not. I love that dog as much as could ever love a child. Just because he isn’t human shouldn’t devalue his worth or my capacity to love him. I know so because I would easily do harm to someone to protect him. I would sooner punch someone over Cooper than anything said person could say to me about myself. That to me is a fine determinant on how much I love my 65lb munchkin.

I guess when I first got Cooper, I did sort of perceive him like a child. I still refer to myself in the 3rd-party as his daddy. In many ways, you might perceive an animal as an eternal child because they always need looking after. So the parent-child aspect can be present but I don’t think it necessarily has to encompass the love we feel for our pets. I can tell you as Cooper and I have bonded and time has passed, I do not see him as a child. He is my friend and companion and I couldn’t love him anymore than if he were human. The latter is the surprise for myself.

I’ve had pets off/on most of my life. I grew up on farm and had tons of animals around me all the time. But until I met Spike when Apple guy and I first got together, I’d never felt the depth of love for an animal before. I loved Spike more than any animal before him and still miss him every day. It broke my heart when we had to put him down. And part of the reason I didn’t want another dog was because I was afraid of betraying the love I had for Spike. Now I see how silly that was but being heartbroken can affect one’s judgment. And I consider myself fortunate Apple guy badgered me into getting another dog. I’ll always love him for bringing Cooper into my life. I don’t mind admitting I love Cooper even more than I loved sweet Spike. It doesn’t mean I love Spike less. I came into Cooper‘s life early on and he is growing up with me. Spike was a full grown adult and already had his bond with Apple guy. Not to say he didn’t love me but it’s just different. Spike will always be the dog that taught me I could love an animal.

And this makes me wonder what changed? Why am I suddenly more capable of loving an animal so strongly whereas before I wasn’t? Was it because I grew up on a farm knowing most of our livestock was food? Did I form detachments to prevent myself from getting hurt when I lost a pet? No, we never ate pets of course, but what is a pet to me might be food to someone else in another country. The separation in our minds is what I’m referring to here. Then I wonder if maybe the misery of my childhood somehow blocked it. Even as a young adult I never loved my pets like I did Spike and now Cooper. My 20’s were about survival for myself. Maybe it was an extension of the block from childhood? When I met Apple guy my life had definitely settled down quite a bit. I’m guessing mostly. I can’t really explain why things shifted. Maybe I just grew up.