Cooper's Story by Melissa Borgeson

I’ll start by saying that just thinking about Cooper makes me cry a little bit still.  We have had dogs as a part of our family since 1997, a year after we were married when we purchased a purebred Labrador retriever puppy from a local breeder. She became like our child until our human children came along. And then she was just one of the gang, going everywhere with us.  

We welcomed Oscar into our home when he showed up at our doorstep in 2002. He was a stray, and we soon found his owners, who were his second owners and more than happy to let us adopt him for a fee. Locutus, our girl, and Oscar, our boy,  became parents to many sweet little puppies. They lived a long life together and in the summer of 2012, at over 14 years old, she left us. She left us absolutely broken hearted. I still cry for her every time I look at her picture or see an old video of her with the kids. There are four of them now and they too have grown. 

Well it may seem like a typical progression of having a dog for two, but not six weeks later, Oscar, our boy who was only 10, Faced quickly declining health and he too, left us before the summer was over. To say I was broken is an understatement. The times being what they were, The current technology was craigslist to find dogs looking to be adopted. It was there that I found Debbie, and subsequently Cooper. She told me on the phone about this sweet dog who she just didn’t have time to take care of. He had a back story that she explained to me. He was very well trained, very good with children and just the sweetest love. I told her I would be blessed if she considered letting us meet him. A few impossibly long days later we took the drive to her home and met our boy. She opened the door and he greeted us with a doggy smile. He showed off his tricks and we were smitten. There was no way I was leaving without the dog. Maybe a little too quickly, she let us take him, his red leash, and a bag of Old Roy dog food. He jumped in the car and stuck his head out the window. The four kids were all fighting over who got to sit next to him.  

The next eight years flew by in a blur. He became such a part of the family. From barking at every person who walked by our house in a friendly greeting, to sleeping on every piece of furniture we have, stealing every piece of food he could get his sweet nose on, to lounging in the sun and inching into those older dog years faster than we want him to. When this awful pandemic began in March I was forced to be home from my job. I loved spending the days with him and seeing what he did all day long. We went for walks, we laid on the floor and cuddled, and we sat in the sun in the yard. 

He began to show signs of sickness in June and by July 5, he was gone. With the current pandemic stay home, we were not able to see the level of care we needed for him. Palliative care had to do. I carried him outside when he could go longer walk and we laid by a fan under a tent and spent his last days together outdoors. On his last night I lay with him, prayed for him to be comfortable, told him I loved him and begged God not to take him from me. My husband Returned from a trip about 20 minutes before Cooper died in my arms. I certainly have never felt such a loss. For days I couldn’t leave my room. And I miss him every moment. Losing my first two dogs so close together hurt in such a deep way. Cooper was just what I needed to heal my heart. He was my very best friend. Every day I am grateful that Debbie chose us to adopt Cooper and give him a better life than she was able to. He really was such a Good Dog. He healed the loss I was feeling and made me whole again.

We love you, Cooper, and we will never ever forget how you changed our lives.