On a snowy day while visiting my parents for the weekend my boys, my mom and I went outside to build a snow fort. The building was underway when a dog came running up to us. Startled and apprehensive at his size we thought about going inside, but he seemed very friendly. Aaron started throwing him snowballs that he was catching in his mouth. We could tell he was a Chocolate Lab, but he was extremely malnourished and had a very thin coat. It looked like he had been living outside for a while. He stuck around the entire time we were outside and it was sweet to see Aaron playing with him.
After warming up, we went back out and there he was waiting for us. He was playing with us in the snow and the only complaint I had was that he urinated on the fort we built. We’d cover it up with snow, but I guess he just wanted to mark it as his own. Thinking he was just a little way from his home, my mom and I tried walking him to different parts of their neighborhood, but he just kept following us back home and sitting on the front porch.
Our plans were to go out for dinner so we said goodbye to the dog, hopped in the car wondering if he would still be there when we returned. As we pulled away he was running after the car, so we drove to other parts of the neighborhood to see if he would find his home. He never left the side or back of the car. Concerned that he was going to continue running in the street, my Dad called his neighbor to keep the dog so we could drive away. Dan kept him in his garage until we were gone then when he let him out he ran back to my parent’s house.
While we were out, we had no idea if he would be there when we got back, but we stopped at the store to buy dog food. He was sitting on the front porch when we got home. We fed him, but we were unsure what to do with him because he would not leave the front porch. My mom let him in the garage for the night then thought it was too cold so she brought him into the house to sleep in the laundry room.
Having a dog in my house shedding, getting it dirty and smelling badly was never something I’d consider, plus I’m allergic to animals. For some reason I fell in love with him right away. I sent a picture to Mike and asked if we could bring him home. He thought I was crazy and said, “no”, but my mind was made up. I wanted this sweet dog to have a home with us.
We knew it wouldn’t be right to just take him home without trying to find his owners. My mom called the police who alerted other police stations in an 80 mile radius and nobody called in a missing dog. She put an ad in the paper and took him to the veterinary clinic in the area. They did not recognize the dog and he didn’t have a micro-chip to identify his owners. We waited two weeks and when there wasn’t an owner who called (My mom received a few calls by people saying he wasn’t their dog, but would take them if they couldn’t find the owner), my parents brought him to our home.
It was hard to choose a name, but we settled on Cooper. He had some broken teeth so we had to get those removed and the vet thought he was about 3 years old based on his x-rays. After all the vet bills, Mike says he is the most expensive free dog he’s ever heard of. Cooper was well trained and has been a great dog. We think he was dropped off somewhere and was living outside for most of the winter. Cooper is much larger than a standard Chocolate Lab, but we are still not sure what he is mixed with. When we rescued Cooper he was 85 pounds and very malnourished. Over the first two years, he gained weight until he was 127 pounds and the vet told me he had to loose weight so he was closer to 100 pounds. He has been getting thinner and is down to about 110. We have a healthy happy dog.
Cooper loves to run, but always stays in our yard and doesn’t get far away from us at any time. I’m thankful Cooper found us. The fur, mess and smell are masked with love for my “handsome boy”.