Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hangin' with Mr. Cooper

Over the summer, we decided as a family that it was time to get a new dog. The house just wasn’t right without one. Too quiet…too clean…too empty. Winston had shown us what wonderful creatures Labrador Retrievers are, so we decided to stick with that breed.

My mother works with a woman who volunteers for the Lab Rescue in our area, and she was quick to recommend her organization. In early August, Bear and I spent a lunch hour filling out and submitting the application. Then we waited. And waited. And waited.

The application said it could take 3 weeks for someone to get back to you. When we hadn’t heard anything in 4 weeks, I called and left a message. A few hours later I got a call back. She asked how we had submitted our application. When I told her it was done electronically, she said she would talk to the volunteer that handled those and get back to me. A week later…nothing.

That night, my mother talked to her co-worker who gave us her email address and said to email a copy of the application to her and she would see what she could do. The next morning I did, and within 3 hours I received an email from our case coordinator. She told me she would call me the next day (Saturday) to do a phone interview. She also mentioned that they would be having an adoption day at a pet store on Sunday. This particular pet store was about an hour and a half away, and she said the next one would be much closer to us, but after a brief discussion, Bear and I agreed it would be worth the drive. Even if we didn’t find “our dog” that day, we would at least be getting the process started.

I spoke to Wendy on Saturday, and we had a great conversation. She was a bit concerned about the hours that we keep and that we have 2 cats, but she was sure we could find “our dog”…it just might take time.

Sunday morning, we woke up early and headed to the adoption day. Wendy had emailed a list/description of the dogs that would be at the event. While Bear drove, I read the descriptions aloud. Though many of the dogs sounded wonderful, we all thought the most promising would be a yellow female named Jolie. We agreed we would check her out first.

When we arrived, they were just getting set up. We quickly found Jolie and talked to her handler for a bit. She was a very sweet dog, but she had a few problems. We think she had been abused and she was very frightened and submissive. Her handler said that if you moved too quickly or raised your hand, she would run and cower. After talking to Wendy, we agreed that she wouldn’t be a good fit for our family. The kids would probably scare her to death, and after spending time with her, we all felt she was probably beyond help no matter how much love we could give her.

A few dogs over was a gorgeous yellow lab that drew us all in. Unfortunately, there was another family that was very interested in him, so we felt that we didn’t have a chance. We visited with the other dogs, but we weren’t finding “our dog”. I was just about to suggest that we leave and try the next adoption day when Bear noticed that the family that was so interested in that one dog had moved on to other dogs. He said we should at least talk to the handler before we left.

So we walked over and officially introduced ourselves to Cooper and his foster mom. I fell in love INSTANTLY and knew that he HAD TO BE OURS! Bear was asking all these questions, and I just kept thinking “quick…lets adopt him before someone else does!” After talking for a bit and getting to know Cooper, everyone was convinced he was indeed our dog, so Bear went in to tell Wendy we wanted him. She agreed that he was a good fit and sent us to the adoption table.

Ten minutes and $200 later we walked out with our adoption papers ready to take Cooper home. When we got back outside, Cooper was meeting another family and they too had their hearts set on keeping him. I felt bad stealing him away, but the adoption was complete and they were fairly gracious about handing him over.*

We have had Cooper for about 4 days now, and he is WONDERFUL. He, like Winston, fits. He is 7 years old...not a young dog, but also not old, so we should get some good years with him. He is still very active and lives for his backyard time.** He is great with the cats. He mostly just ignores them, though he did have to chase Banana down the hall last night when he caught Banana in his bed. We all adore him, and can’t wait to get home at night to be with him.

Once again, our family is complete! :)

*We did some shopping before we left, and as we were walking out, they were headed to the adoption table themselves…so they had found someone they could love too and we all had our happy ending.

**We take him out back at least twice a day…more if possible…to play catch. He could play for hours and we often have to tell him when he has had enough. Unlike some of the dogs from my past, he is very good about not only getting the ball, but actually willingly returning it to us!


  1. Awww!! That is just wonderful! I am so glad you found your new furbaby and I can't wait to meet him!!1!

  2. What a sweet "puppy." We adopted our dear cat Annie last March from a rescue organization -- it's amazing how quickly pets adjust to life in a new home (and make you wonder how you ever lived without them!)