It has been almost a month since we lost Cooper, but I have had a hard time writing this post. I have all these pictures of him I want to post… it will have to come later.
This picture was taken at Point Reyes when Cooper was still a youngster. I love this photo for two reasons– it is a great picture of Cooper, and also this particular beach walk was one of the last and best memories of family time spent with my Dad before losing him in 1998.
Pretty much everyone that knew Cooper loved him. He just had the happiest, handsome face and great personality that won people over.
Cooper was the first dog that Don and I got together, so we always joked that he was our first-born. He was the light blond puppy whose expressive brown eyes stole our hearts. We took him on vacation with us to Bandon, Oregon when he was just 16 weeks old, and had so many people stop and ask questions about him while we were walking around town that we thought we might have to write up a Frequently Asked Questions flyer to pass out to people.
Cooper was so spoiled, but he was a good boy– active, sensible, and sensitive. He loved catching frisbees. He loved agility, where he and Don were an exciting team to watch. Cooper would bark through the course, and he had this funny habit of snorting when he got really excited. On one qualifying Excellent Jumpers run, after Don and Cooper left the ring, the judge ran after them just to say laughingly that she had “never judged a pig before”.
Cooper gave me a wonderful introduction to the world of Goldens, and through that I’ve made many special friends. I met my dear friend Suzanne Bria through Cooper’s litter, because she has “Gemma”, his littermate. I was fortunate to meet and become friends with Laura Finco, because she owned Cooper’s sire Arsey. Laura invited both me and Suzanne to one of the NORCAL fun days when the pups were 12-weeks old, where Suzanne’s Gemma proceeded to beat Cooper up. After that and going on many weekend hikes together, they became the best of friends.
Cooper’s favorite place was in Oregon at Don’s family’s lakeside cabin just outside of Bandon. We go once a year, usually for 1-2 weeks and it is dog heaven. Lots of hiking, and he would get to swim at least half the day. On the hikes he would always make sure everyone was accounted for and keep the pack together, whether it was just us or if we had friends/family along.
He had the biggest smile, and would tilt his head back as if his smile was so big that he had to hold his head back to keep the smile from weighing his head down. You can see an example of this on the photo to the right of him and Gemma on their 9th birthday hike.
In his last weeks, one of the things that struck me was how he could feel bad for a day or two, be down completely, and once the spell was over he would be back to his happy, active self as if nothing bad had happened. The good days would be really good. That’s one of the things I think we all try to learn, but it can be so hard to do– to live in and make the most of every moment and not let the bad times take away from the times that can otherwise be good.
We love and miss you, Cooper. We’re sure there must be many frisbees (and frisbee-throwers!) at the Rainbow Bridge.
Footnote: I found the poem ‘Joy and Sorrow’ by Kahlil Gibran to be very true, and a source of comfort.