I'm such a hipster, go ahead and make fun of me. Aside from concerts, I rarely take pictures. Cooper's my only subject outside of Bright Eyes, Alkaline Trio, Matt & Kim, Mumford and Sons, Manchester Orchestra, and so forth.
Cooper just being so gosh darn pretty
Cooper wearing my ring
Cooper trying to sleep
Come to think of it, I don't think the first picture is done with Instagram. Whatevs.
There are times when I'm deliberately mean to Cooper and I tease him with treats and his toys. Sometimes I poke him when he's asleep and try to discreetly trim his nails. But all in all, I really love that stupid, stinky dog and I make sure he knows it.
He might not understand words. It's all noise to him but everyday I tell him that I love him, I tell him that he's beautiful or handsome depending on the day, and I tell him that I know he tries and I appreciate him.
And maybe it has something to do with the fact that I grew up and struggle with extreme low self-esteem that I have to make sure he feels validated because I don't get enough of that myself. I know how it feels to be underappreciated or feel like I don't matter and that's something I never want Cooper to feel.
I moved a few months ago and the difference of 6 blocks is quite amazing. I live in what feels like suburbia as there are 500 other people walking their dogs at the same time I'm walking mine. All of them have their dogs on flexi-leads or no leash at all which I think is dangerous as there are several busy roads every block. Not to mention a leash law but whatever...
Cooper usually does a fantastic job of ignoring every dog he encounters. After talking to the vet about why every dog hates Cooper, I make an effort to make eye contact with a dog's owner so I can say, "My dog doesn't like other dogs in his space." Not saying he doesn't like other dogs, he sometimes does, but I don't want to stress him out when it's pretty obvious that he doesn't want to make friends.
He used to like other dogs. I made the mistake of taking him to a dog park a few times and he ended up getting mobbed by every dog in there. They started chasing him, which he liked, but then he got his head stuck in the fence because he wasn't paying attention and that's when all the dogs swarmed him and attacking his hind end while he screamed and tried to get away.
The most frustrating part of that experience was that the other dog's owners stood around not doing a damn thing while I tried to pull off the mutts without getting bit. Luckily, all that happened was they pulled some loose fur out but Cooper was traumatized for life.
I know, I could make him relax and be more comfortable but I'm not going to. He isn't aggressive towards other dogs and I just don't want to stress him out or put him in a situation where the other dog could turn agressive and attack him. Maybe that makes me a bad dog owner, but I'm really putting Cooper's feelings of safety and his well being first.
As it is, when we have to walk on the same sidewalk with another dog that is straining on its leash trying to get to Cooper, I walk between them. Mostly because it's easier to sue someone when their dog bites you rather than your dog, but also because I'm willing to get hurt for my dog. And that's how much I love him. And it actually happened last week, a dog took a pretty good nip at my thigh trying to get to Coop and gave me blood blisters and broke the skin. Oh, I didn't sue the owner or anything, I just gave her a dirty look and made sure I wasn't bleeding too much. She didn't even apologize and in hindsight, I wish I at least told her off.
He is still a little itchy from allergies but it doesn't seem as bad as it was a few weeks ago. The weather has been nice and cool and that seems to help more than anything. His winter coat is growing in so that's covering up the super pink spots and his fur is growing back on his knees.
I got him one of these bad boys for his present and he really likes it. It's way cuter than a Kong and it actually does smell very pleasant, almost a vanilla scent. And a part of the proceeds goes to helping some random cause, I wish I paid attention when I picked one out but I'm happy with the green one I got him as it goes to preserving nature or something to do with nature. I thought the blue was for prostate cancer so I decided against it; not that I don't think prostate cancer isn't worth donating to, but apparently it goes to helping homeless animals. Damn. He likes it though, the opening is a lot smaller than a Kong so either you have to really tear the treats down to tiny strips or I just fill it with kibble but it takes longer for Cooper to get everything out. The squeaker isn't that loud, but he never really bites at squeaky things anyway. Overall, I give this toy a 3 out of 5 because I doubt Cooper will destroy it, it is more challenging for him to get treats, smells awesome and proceeds help out society. I don't like that the food holder area doesn't hold as much as a Kong, it is really hard to smear peanut butter in there, and because it's that rubbery-texture, it picks up every particle of dust and lint and I'm constantly rinsing it; although Cooper doesn't care about that.
Anyway, Cooper's still super. I hope he stays healthy and it looks like I'll end up taking him to get another echocardiogram sometime in the near future to make sure his heart's still ok.
Cooper's allergies have been bothering him so two weeks ago I took him to the vet. Normally, Cooper was on Temeril-P but this new vet told me that the steroids in the drug can cause kidney and liver failure. Cooper has been on and off Temeril P for the last, 4-ish years and this was the first time any vet mentioned that it could cause liver and kidney failure.
This freaked me out since Cooper already has enough health problems as it is. I wouldn't want to put the poor dog on dialysis and alas, if he had renal failure, it'll probably be the end of him.
So the vet gave us a 2 week trial run on Atopica. For the first week, Cooper seemed ok. He didn't have diarhea nor did he throw up, his poops were a bit softer than normal but still looked like his normal poops.
After the first week though, his allergies got really bad. I don't know if there were more allergens in the air or what, but he was scratching and rubbing himself raw. He started losing fur aorund his eyes and he was missing a lot of fur from his chest. His paws seemed ok though, he wasn't chewing on them like he did during past years.
So we went to the vet again over the weekend and for once, I got the same vet that examined Cooper the last time. We are putting him on a mild steroid and antihistamine regime. The vet recommended that I give him the steroid pill every other day, every two days with antihistamines in between. Hopefully this works and as I took out a month's supply, I hope the weather cools down so my poor little Choo Choo isn't so miserable.
On an interesting side note, I asked the vet why every dog Cooper encounters want to attack him. Walking Cooper is a nightmare because every dog, big or small, lunges at him while snapping their fangs while Cooper dutifully hides behind me. The vet said it's a shiba thing (and Chows and other more primitave breeds). Apparently, most dogs like to pay attention to each other and shibas like to ignore them and that pisses off other dogs. Go figure, my diva dog will not pay attention to the lesser creatures.
He'd be that teacher's pet that every kid makes fun of. He would probably wear glasses and would need an inhaler which he would have to wear around his neck. Because of his severe food allergies, he'd be the reason why kids in his class can't eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He would answer every question correctly or repeatedly ask "Why?" in class.
I imagine him to be endearingly sweet and over joyed with everything in life though. I imagine that even though he would be annoying and his voice would never change, everyone around him will secretly like him.
I also imagine his personality to be of my 5 year old cousin, Brodie. Brodie isn't the cutest kid in the world, and I can say that since he's my cousin, but he more than makes up for his lack of looks with his awesome personality that is both ridiculously cute and hilariously sassy. Here's a pic of Brodie when he was 4:
For awhile his favorite thing in the world was Thomas the Engine or Train or Locomotive. All he would say to me was "Can you help me? (ie clean my room for me)" and "Will you play with me?" Such a sweet kid, thank God he has his mother's personality because my uncle's a dick.
Brodie has such a sweet musical voice and if Cooper could talk, he would have Brodie's voice. So adorbs. I also haven't told my aunt and uncle that I like to imagine Cooper being Brodie. I think they might be offended.
I asked Brodie if he'd like to meet Cooper one day and he said No. Too bad, I think they would have had so much fun together.
I got Cooper to fix a broken relationship. Like many people who have children hoping it would salvage a relationship, my then fiancee and I got a dog. We kinda lied and told people that Cooper was my early Christmas present but really, he was our last resort to try and make us a "family."
Needless to say, getting a dog didn't make things easier for us. Both of us wanted to get a dog at some point and we did discuss breeds and what we wanted from a dog so technically, Cooper wasn't an impulse purchase. Both of us had more than enough money for all the puppy expenses and we both had dogs before so it wasn't like we weren't used to picking up shit or training a dog. What we lacked was...I don't know; I guess "making it work," whatever that means.
We got Cooper at probably the lowest point prior to breaking up; I was incredibly lonely in the hell-hole of Iowa and I had no friends or anything to do in that barren state. It was also winter so that didn't make my moods any better. Corey was always going out with his friends getting wasted and I was home alone with nothing but cable and movies. I think he agreed to getting a dog sooner than we planned because he figured it would keep my entertained and I'd have company.
Having Cooper added some bright points and happiness but there were probably more low points. From finding out about his health problems to the little fucker peeing and pooping all over the place regardless of putting him on a schedule, put more strain on our relationship. The pooping and peeing got better after we got him neutered but there were still resentment. We agreed that Cooper was "our" dog and that we would both work on training him and getting him excercised. Of course, that only worked for like, a month and it was left to me to do everything for Cooper.
Because I had resentment toward my ex, I have to admit that when Cooper chewed on his shit I didn't stop him. Cooper also had a habit of peeing on everyone who came through the door, probably from being excited, regardless of taking him out mere seconds before someone came over, and Cooper would piss all over Corey and I would just sit there with a smile on my face thinking, "Good dog." And because Cooper's a little bitchy, he would wait until Corey picked him up to about face-level and pee all over his face and chest.
I guess because I was the one who fed, walked, trained, loved Cooper, he chose me as his person. Sure Corey played with him and he gave him treats but Cooper listened better to me and was more responsive.
In ways I'm glad we didn't decide to push forward a wedding and get pregnant hoping a kid would fix our mess. Knowing how little Corey helped with the dog made me realize that I could never have children with that guy. Also, having a puppy was stressful enough; I couldn't imagine the stresses a baby could be. Even though Cooper was a band aid for a relationship going south, he was the best "impulse" decision I made that year.
A few days ago I was walking Cooper down my street when I noticed a Samoyed walking along the sidewalk across the street. I didn't think too much of it; I figured it was one of those "smart" dogs that can walk off-lead. However, I noticed there was no one near the dog and it started crossing the street which is a pretty busy street and it was about an hour after rush hour so there were still tons of cars.
I freaked out because I didn't want to see it get hit and called it over, which, miraculously, it came up to me. While Cooper was snarking in its face and being a dick, I managed to hold onto the dog, Cooper, and call the number on its tag. I noticed that the address for the owner was in a town like, 20+ miles away and was wondering what the fuck that dog was doing all the way in downtown Denver. Luckily, the guy answered and this was our conversation:
Me: "Um, hi. I found your dog wandering around and managed to catch it."
Guy: "Oh? Why the hell is my number still on the dog? Look, it's my ex's dog, she took it when we broke up and I haven't seen the dog since."
Me: "Um...ok. What do you want me to do with it?"
Guy: "She lives pretty close to where you are, just take the dog back and just make sure the gate's closed. Oh, and can you do me a favor? Can you please take my contact info off the dog's collar?"
Me: "What if the dog gets out again? How will anyone know where to take it or whatever?"
Guy: "Honestly, that's not my responsibility anymore. Please take my stuff off the dog's collar."
There was a UPS delivery man who had some spare rope so I was able to walk the dog to its owner's house. Once I got there, there was no one home and I had to ask a neighbor to make sure that the dog does live there. After saying Bye to the dog (who didn't look happy to be at home) I did what the guy asked and took his tag off the dog.
I don't know why I did it. I guess I sympathized because when Corey and I broke up, he and I spent a good few hours changing all the information for Pickle and Cooper. I didn't want him in my life so I needed to make sure that Pickle's chip information correlated with Corey's information and made sure that Corey was off of Cooper's chip. Pickle was Corey's responsibility and Cooper was mine.
The guy sounded really upset; he told me he didn't see the dog in over a year even though he and his ex agreed to have mutual custody of the dog. It must have sucked to hear that the dog got out and that was the first thing he heard about his dog in forever. I hope the dog doesn't get out again and I hope that the girl noticed the missing tag and got a replacement.
Another thing I wanted to note was that the Samoyed, while friendly and well-mannered, was fat and its fur was knotted. The neighbor told me that the dog is let loose outside all day and every day. The poor dog was probably bored and got out. I just felt bad for it and I really wanted to bring it home, brush its fur, and then bring it back. But I know its not my responsibility and it's up to its rightful owner to make sure their dog is happy and healthy.
When I was a wee lass, my mom used to rub my belly until I calmed down and feel asleep. I would lie next to her and roll my shirt up and she would rub in a circular motion and I would almost instantly fall asleep. It's my favorite thing in the world and sometimes I can't help but ask my significant others or even super best friends to rub my tummy. And yes, it is awkward lifting my shirt up to my boobs as whoever shakes their head in resignation and sighs while tentatively reaching for my muffin top.
Cooper loves getting his tummy rubbed and he's rather whorish as he willingly splays backwards with all four feet in the air giving a look that clearly says, "touch me, you know you want to." And he wallows and makes these weird faces with his teeth half bared while he moans with glee. He doesn't discriminate; he will roll over for a person he just met.
So when he looks at me and rolls over with a look that says, "please???" I think to myself, "Ah Coop, of course I'll rub your tummy! It's the best feeling in the world, huh little guy?" and I will rub his tummy until he had enough.
So this is something I have in common with my dog. Tummy rubs.
6:25 AM: Go pee 7:10 AM: Shock collar goes on and I am out the door 7:11 AM: Sulks on the couch 9:00 AM: Sulks on my bed 9:01 AM: Sulks on my pillows and sheds 9 times more than normal 10:00 AM: Sulks in his house
(this goes on until I come home)
4:15 PM: Greets me (sometimes) at the door and gets shock collar taken off 4:16 PM: Ignores me 4:30 PM: Walk 6:00 PM: Dinner 6:15 PM: Wanders around the house with a toy in his mouth and whines for about 20 minutes 6:40 PM: Sulks in his house
For awhile my roommate was unemployed and I would ask what Cooper did during the day. My roommate told me that sometimes he forgets that Cooper's around. He told me Cooper sleeps on my bed although he's not supposed to, then he'll move to my pillows, and eventually he'll go into his house. I asked if Cooper ever wants to play or get attention, and my roommate said rarely. I guess Cooper is really a one-man dog. Or in my case, a one-girl dog.
At my old place, Cooper used to sit on the windowsill and watch the building next door. In our new place, Cooper sits on the windowsill and watches an alley-way and a courtyard where a million and a half pigeons flock about pooping on our windows.
Here he is admiring the view. There's a bar right next door, so he gets to watch homeless people dig through the dumpters to collect cans and bottles.
That's a pretty good 3 feet off the floor but Cooper jumps it with ease. I got nervous about him bumping his head on the window so I put a chair over by the window so he can climb up using that. And yes, that's a large binder clip holding the blinds together so they don't flap around in the wind making that ear splitting crackling sound.
Hooray for me, I got my raise and with it, a giant step into the next tax bracket. After my first paycheck with the raise on Friday, I set aside a fairly good chunk into my “Hooray, new apartment and furniture!” fund. Alas, most of what I saved into that fund went into Cooper’s “haha, I’m fucking up your plans!” fund.
As noted, I joined the Bansfield Wellness Program for Cooper keeping a teeth cleaning in mind. I scheduled a teeth cleaning appointment for Saturday and had to wake up at 6:30 to drop him off by 7. As if that wasn’t bad enough, my previous vet hadn’t sent over his complete records and I had to spend an hour on the phone explaining that yes, I know about Cooper’s heart murmur; it’s actually a ventricular septal defect. Finally, they get him on the table and start scraping away only to call me after 20 minutes informing my that Cooper cracked a top molar all the way down to the root and his nerves were exposed. WTF? When did that happen? How long has that been there? Cooper never showed any pain and I had no idea how long his tooth was cracked.
Second question: How much is that going to cost?! $400. Well, that included his antibiotics and pain meds but seriously, 400 bucks to pull a tooth. Granted, it was a huge molar and because of his heart problem they had to hook him up to another machine since they needed more anesthesia but still, there went half of my savings from the paycheck. Without the wellness plan, it would have cost a whopping $650 bucks.
I felt bad, I have no idea how that happened and neither does the vet so it’s not like I can do anything preventative such as no more tug of war, bully sticks, bones, who knows what else. Luckily, Cooper had tartar build up in the crack that was cushioning his nerves so he probably didn’t even notice it which also made me wonder if I could have left it as is but figured if it got worse, it’ll probably cost me more. Ugh, poor little buddy. I feel like an awful pet parent both because I had no idea and also because I was seriously considering leaving the tooth as is.
He’s pretty swollen and looked rather miserable yesterday. He was enthusiastically running around and tried to jump on my bed, miscalculated the leap and face planted into the side of my bed and screamed in pain. He’s been sulking in his house ever since only coming out to whimper in my ear and give me those big sad eyes. But he gets to eat wet food for a week and he’s pretty stoked about that.
I finally got my promotion and raise which means that Cooper and I can finally afford to move into a bigger place. Unfortunately, despite all the boasting of being so "dog-friendly," I'm having a hard time finding an apartment I like that allows dogs.
I don't mind paying a pet fee, that's a given but I wish I could find a place I like that's dog friendly. A lot of businesses and areas in Denver say they're "dog-friendly" when really, they turn into Nazis yelling at you that your dog is not allowed in this area. Cooper and I had an unfortunate run in with a random security guard who bitched me out about walking Cooper through a courtyard that I thought was dog-friendly as 6 people walked by with their dogs.
Alas, in conclusion, Denver-you are a gigantic bullshitter. You are NOT dog friendly. Or at least make bigger signs saying I can't bring my dog here.
Every once in awhile, I go on work trips. Once, I was in Pinellas County, Florida and my co-workers and I were enjoying drinks on the beach. I'm the youngest in any work trip I go on; there's only 3 of us in the office that are under the age of 30. Anyway, because my co-workers are my parent's age, if not a little younger, we don't have too much in common. They know about Cooper and we usually just talk about our pets or something neutral like kids or something. Anyway, here is one of the most awkward things I ever said to a co-worker:
Me looking at the phone to see who's calling me: "Sometimes when my phone rings, I think it might be Cooper."
They probably think I'm retarded and very not qualified for my line of work.
Cut to a few days later, my office phone rings.
Me: "Hello, this is Alisa."
Person on phone: "Woof, woof! Mom?! Woof woof!"
Person on the phone: "Alisa, are you serious? This is (co-worker)"
Me: "...NO! I wasn't serious..." (blushes and looks furtively around the office to make sure no one heard me)
Yep, I'm so gullible it's sad. And it's true, sometimes my phone rings and I like to think it might be Cooper. Yes, I need a life.
As one dog died, I had to take my other one to the vet this weekend and I'm sure Cooper wanted to die a little when I took him. I used to take him to a private vet practice but they are really expensive and while the vet technicians and vets are really nice and friendly, they're really granola and never fully check Cooper's teeth and ears because he knows that if he screams, they'll leave him alone. They're so terrified of stressing him out that they won't trim his nails, either. I think that's ridiculous, he knows that if he screams and squirms, usually people will back off but not me, I'm relentless.
Anyway, I decided to try Petsmart's Banfield Hospitals. I signed him up for their Wellness Program which covers all yearly shots, a dental (including anesthesia), blood work, fecal exams, and 15% off any other service or product (like his HeartGuard or whatever brand they use). It's $37 a month with a one-time fee for signing up of $69 dollars. I figure if I get him the dental, it would definitely be worth it. Plus, I don't have to renew after a year if I don't like them.
Cooper was due for rabies, parvo, and bloodwork to make sure he's still heartworm free and also a year's worth of heartworm preventative meds. In all, including a nail trim, that one time fee, and first month's payment, my total was $173. Without signing up for the wellness plan, the total was $270. If I take out $106 for those one time fee and first month's payment, I would have paid $67 for his heartworm meds (for one year) and the nail trim. Overall, that was way less than what I would have paid at his old vet hospital. Typically a yearly check up including shots and bloodword and the meds cost around $300 at Cooper's old vet. I guess financially, Banfield makes sense.
His wellness plan will cover all vet visits, too. I have to take him to the vet twice a year because come spring, his allergies go crazy and the poor little guy is a miserable swollen mess. It's good to know that the only thing I'll pay for in the spring is his meds which I will get 15% off. God, I'm such a penny pincher like my mom...always trying to find a good deal.
I used to be really prejudiced when it came to vet care for Cooper. Probably because he has so many health problems, but I really believed that the more money I shelled out, the better the care was. When Choo Choo was a pup in Iowa, we had an awesome private practice vet and she was seriously amazing. She was the only certified vetrinarian and her staff was pretty great and it was so nice to have the one vet who really understood all of Cooper's quirks and problems. That was my biggest issue when I moved to Colorado, I couldn't find a private vet and I hated the rotating vetrinarians I would have to see whenever I took Cooper to his old vet hospital.
So I took him to the most expensive place I could find thinking that these people would be more than qualified to give my dog shots and figure out his health needs. Instead, they really nickel and dimed me and made me feel awful when I would decline on certain shots that I was pretty sure Cooper would never need (bordatella being one; I don't take him to dog parks and he doesn't have much interaction with strange dogs). Although, I did like how they really took the time to explain every little thing to you.
Anyway, joining Banfield...I dunno. I won't have the one vet who gets Cooper, but at least the qaulity of healthcare Cooper gets is on par with his old place and Banfield won't get all psycho on me when I decline a shot or something. I mean, these are qualified vets who have a degree and a doctorate and stuff, so I know Coop's in good hands, and they aren't all hippie-ish and worried about messing up Cooper's chakras so they won't trim his nails. I guess I'll have a year to decide if I should stick with them as my primary vet.
I found out this weekend that my dog Sari died. She was 13.
Apparently she died last Monday but no one told me or my brother until Friday night. That's my family for ya, they never tell you anything immediately and by the time I found out, the Humane Society had already gotten rid of her body so I couldn't even ask to get her cremated.
I wish I had some pictures of her; my old laptop crashed/broke/something technical and I never had the chance to pull out my pictures of her. I'm really depressed and sad and it's hard knowing that when and if I visit my dad again, she won't be there to greet me.
Rest in peace, Sari. I truly believe that there's an amazing afterlife for dogs and I hope you're there now with an endless field to run in and endless creatures to chase. I'm going to miss you forever and ever.