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Rest In Peace, Our Beloved Cooper

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Cooper 11/11/11 – 3/29/24

This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write on our Tripawds blog.

It is with heart-wrenching sadness that I must tell you all that our three-legged wonder, Cooper, (also known as Mini-Cooper) died very suddenly and with no warning on March 29th (Good Friday), 2024.

Cooper had belonged to someone else as a puppy, and I had adopted his litter mate, Charlie Brown when the dogs were about 10 weeks old. When they were five months old, Cooper was returned to the rescue agency with a badly broken leg that needed amputation. Unfortunately, his original owners had little money and had, on the apparent advice of veterinarians, kept Cooper confined in a crate with a broken leg for two months. At seven months old, Cooper was surrendered back to the rescue agency. The agency immediately put out the call to all of us who had adopted litter mates (there were eight puppies!) asking if one of us wanted Cooper.

Cooper, left, when he had four legs, with his brother, Charlie Brown

As I advertised to everyone I could think of about this dog that was about to lose his leg (more on that later), almost everybody I contacted said, “Well, he’s YOUR dog. Can’t you see that?!”

Before officially adopting him, I had donated to the cost of Cooper’s medical care as there were lots of tests, vet visits and consultations, all in an attempt to save this young puppy’s leg. But in the end, one vet told the rescue agency, “I wouldn’t put my OWN dog through expensive and experimental surgery. That is the only option, other than amputation, and it may not even work because it’s experimental. I wouldn’t recommend putting a dog through that. Dogs can live a great life on three legs.”

And Cooper proved that it was true. From the moment his amputation occurred, he had the attitude of “The worst has happened. Nothing else bad can happen to me. I’m going to enjoy every moment of my life.” And that’s exactly what he did. He immediately bounded onto the human bed as soon as he got back to his foster family’s home after surgery! Something he wasn’t supposed to be allowed to do, never mind attempt. And from that day onward, until his death last Friday, he was able to leap onto a human bed like no other dog I’ve ever seen.

A few days after I adopted Cooper, here he is having hopped up onto an Adirondack chair. You can still see the shaved areas from his amputation surgery.

He was the most amazing, inspirational creature I’ve ever known. I’ve had countless dogs and cats, and he was the most special, the happiest. Nothing bothered this dog. He loved everything and every one. He loved every single moment of his so-called disabled life.

I used to say, do not tell him he is disabled. He doesn’t know!

Cooper’s favorite activity in the world was going for a R.I.D.E. in my Subaru. When he was younger, if the driver’s window was all the way open, he would LEAP into the car from a seated position all on his own.

So, if anybody is out there, a newcomer to life on three legs, wondering if their dog will be ok, I am here to tell you — probably! If Cooper was any indication of how fabulous life as a Tripawd can actually be, I would say chances are pretty good your dog will be just fine.

Treeing a squirrel

Be sure to give them lots of love and let them do some stuff. Don’t stifle their life due to a disability, especially if they are young. Give them all the assistance they’ll accept (Cooper would not accept ANY!).

For those wondering how Cooper passed away. It was very sudden. Looking back (and you can see one of my forum posts asking for advice about car rides) we now realize he was slowing down, but he wasn’t sick. He was able to jump on and off furniture and up and down stairs up until the moment (and I mean the actual moment) that he died. However, that particular day, he was acting kind of “off”. He was a very habitual creature, and he would only lie down in certain areas of the house. Very specific. On Friday, he was lying in weird places in the house. Friends kept saying it was doggie dementia. No, I have had two dogs with dementia, this was different. He was just “off”. I couldn’t explain it….

To make matters 10,000 times worse (ok, maybe THREE times worse), the vets all closed at noon for Easter weekend. I can’t tell you how many of my pets have gotten sick or even died on holiday weekends. It’s like a “thing”!! Anyway, they were closed. The emergency vet was an hour away and did not open until 6 pm. But, all of a sudden at 4:30, Cooper was his old self. He got up, went outside (down and up stairs), came in, ate a full bowl of dog food, hopped up onto the couch and watched TV with me. About an hour later, as he often did, he got off the couch and laid on the floor at my feet, closer to the tv. This was his routine, he did this every night. Around 8:30 pm, he got up to come back onto the couch but instead he collapsed on the floor. All three legs splayed out in different directions and he lost control of his bowels. He couldn’t get up and couldn’t breathe. We surmised that he must have had a stroke or heart attack. If we had wanted to put him through the stress of trying to get into the car (which wouldn’t have been easy for him, OR us), God took care of that decision for us. Cooper quickly passed away on our living room floor. If we had taken him to that hospital an hour away, he would have died in the car, instead of in a familiar space with both of us and his three remaining fur-siblings surrounding him with love in the home he loved so much.

Cooper always wanted to do things his way. He never, ever would accept help by way of picking him up (he HATED being carried!), or a harness or a stroller. Nothing. “Do not help me, I can do it myself!” he would say! And he did that, right up until the very end. “Do not help me. I want to be right here at home.”

A lovely person who runs a pet cremation service nearby came and got his body Saturday morning, only a half hour after I made the frantic call to her, thinking nobody would be open on Easter weekend. By Monday afternoon, there she appeared on our doorstep with Cooper’s ashes in a gorgeous wooden box, a paw print of his lone front paw in plaster, a card signed by everyone at the company, and a sprig of rosemary which signifies we will never forget our friend.

We never will forget our friend. Our fur baby. The one, the only, Coopie Doo. The three-legged wonder.


November 11, 2011 – March 29, 2024

Cooper and his twin, Charlie Brown, and Cooper’s bonded buddy, Petey. Charlie & Petey are at loose ends without their fearless leader.
With our remaining cat, Tux. Cooper is with both of his other kitty siblings now in pet heaven.

Happy Triday 2024!

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Hello everyone! Cooper and I want to wish everybody a hoppy Triday, 2024! We haven’t posted here in a while, but are staunch supporters of Tripawds, always!

This 3/3, I’m particularly stoked because Cooper is one of the MARCH tripawds on the calendar!!

Here’s his page from the calendar:

How appropo to have him on the March calendar for 3/3 Triday!

Tripawds could use some donations. Please help on 3/3 #triday to help raise awareness of pets living life on three legs like our Cooper! If it wasn’t for Tripawds organization, many pet parents of three-legged dogs and cats would have no resources for information. Four-legged pets can live an amazing life on three legs. Cooper is 12 years old now, and has been a “tripawd” since he was 7 months old. He has very few physical limitations and refuses assistance. In fact, we had to sell his stroller recently because he refuses to get in! He can jump into and out of the car, on and off furniture, and uses stairs faster than his four-legged brother from the same litter. So, help out Tripawds if you can, they are an amazing resource and nice people besides!

Triday: International Tripawd Awareness Day (pssst: is that Cooper on the top right? Not sure!)

Here’s a close-up of Cooper’s calendar photo!

Have a great #Triday, everybody! Hoppy trails!

Cooper’s Tripawds Tuesday story & Cooper’s first ride in the Subaru Outback

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In case you missed it….

Here is Cooper’s entry on Tripawds Tuesday. It was posted to the Tripawds site on December 29, 2023:

Meet Senior Tripawd Cooper, aka Mr. Independence

December 29, 2023 by jerry

Today we are celebrating the story of Senior Tripawd Cooper, as part of our ongoing 2023 Tripawd Tuesday hero spotlights! Here’s his short story as told by his mom, Kathy from South Carolina. Check out his vintage Tripawd blog too, A Dog Named Mini Cooper!

Senior Tripawd Cooper is an independent dog.
Senior Tripawd Cooper is an independent dog.

How old is your Tripawd?

  • 11

When and Why did your Tripawd lose a leg?

  • Cooper was 7 months old, back in 2012, when he lost his leg. I adopted him after he had the surgery.

How did your Tripawd adapt to life on three?

  • Amazingly well! He was jumping up onto the bed (at his foster mom’s house before I adopted him) the day after surgery. Despite her best efforts to stop him!
  • His brother from the same litter lives with us, too (he’s got four legs lol) but Cooper can run faster and jump better. Even at almost 12 years old, he’s still incredibly active and refuses ANY help. The stroller and cart are just sitting in a corner, waiting.
Tripawd Cooper and his brother.
Tripawd Cooper and his brother.

What are your Tripawd’s favorite things to do?

  • Rides in my car, and playing with THE BALL!!! Barking at the TV every time a dog, cat, horse or small child is on screen!

Was there any special gear that helped your Tripawd?

  • He really won’t let us help him, even though I have everything! He’s very independent.

If you went through amputation surgery recovery with your animal, what did you think would happen after surgery? Did your worst fears happen? How did you cope?

  • Cooper did not belong to me then, but I was part of his life at the time. I really thought he would be more disabled, and boy was I pleasantly surprised. It was as if he was saying “The worst has happened, what else could be worse than that? Let’s go have a good time!” We should all take lessons from Cooper.

Did you adopt a Tripawd? If so, why? Tell us your pet’s Gotcha Day story.

  • I had already adopted Cooper’s brother, Charlie Brown in January of 2012. When the dogs were 7 months old, the rescue agency put around an email to all the adopters of that litter asking if anyone wanted a litter mate who was about to have his leg amputated due to an injury that could not be repaired.
  • To this day, I still do not know how Cooper’s injury occurred. That info was never given to us. I helped raise money for the surgery, but Cooper was owned by the rescue at that point, and living with a foster mom whom I’m still friends with today. In July of 2012 he had the surgery. I adopted him in August.
Three legged senior Tripawd Cooper
Cooper says “Rescue a Tripawd, you won’t regret it!”

What is the biggest lesson you learned from your Tripawd?

  • Have fun and try your best, no matter what kind of physical limitations you have.

What is your best advice to someone who is about to go through amputation with their pet, or someone who is thinking of adopting a Tripawd?

  • If the surgery is necessary, don’t worry. Dogs are such amazing creatures. They adapt almost immediately. You will be amazed.

TODAY: January 4, 2024

Here’s a picture of Cooper from TODAY! He got to ride in the new-to-me Outback because the Forester (reserved for dirty jobs, like dog rides) is in the shop. The red blanket was Hector’s — Cooper’s predecessor and I always say Cooper IS Hector reincarnated! We also have a matching leash, and Mom (that’s me) is wearing a matching t-shirt!

Hoppy 5th Ampuversary to the Amazing Cooper!

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I guess there was a reason someone posted a SPAM comment to my Tripawds blog! Because this weekend is the 5th ampuversary for Cooper. It was August 11th, 2012 that he lost his leg. He is an amazing creature, and he doesn’t let it slow him down. Today, we are going to Bow Wow Luau at the local animal shelter (not the shelter I adopted him from, but that’s ok, we support all of our local shelters and rescues!).

Cooper was just 7 months old when he had his amputation. He had broken his leg in several places (before he was with us — we do not know what kind of accident he had, the previous owners requested privacy, so I guess we will never know). Anyway, his leg got broken when he was 5 months old. Poor thing! Amputated at 7 months. He is now 5 years old. I cannot believe how fast these years went by.

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How is your dog or cat doing post-amputation? How old was your pet when the amputation occurred, and what was the reason for the operation? Tell me about it in the comments, or share your link to your Tripawds blog if you have one.

The goof, left with his brother, Charlie Brown hoppily seat-belted in the Subaru!

Hoppy 5th birthday Cooper and Charlie

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On Veterans Day, Cooper and Charlie, and their siblings turned 5 years old.

I somehow managed to invite the whole crew to my house this year, instead of the beach.  It saved me a drive with both dogs, and I was ever so grateful to have everybody else drive to me.  I live in “nowhereville” (you can’t get there from here type of thing).  So, I appreciate how far the other pet parents had to come.

Anyway, the dogs had a great time in our fully fenced-in yard.

Even though Cooper is my comfort dog, he can get a little territorial and rambunctious.  He got into a tussle with his sister, and with his brother!  I had to put him in time-out in the basement for a few minutes each time.  Nobody got hurt, it was just loud and looked bad.  Ugh.

Here are some pictures of the gang!


Two sets of twins:  (l) Simon, Molly, (r) tripawd Cooper and Charlie


Simon and Charlie (standing) tripawd Cooper and their mama dog Katie (sitting).

Hoppy 4th Ampuversary, Cooper

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I don’t post here as often as I should, but I wanted to give a big shout out to my amazing dog, Cooper… the three-legged wonder.

It was four years ago this week, that young Cooper had his amputation.  His leg had been broken and was inoperable, except for experimental surgery, which the vets strongly recommended against.  Coop was 7 months old, and had been returned to the puppies’ foster mom by his original adopters who could not afford the medical bills after his leg broke. He was so young, and at the time, I knew nothing about three-legged animals.  I was so worried about him.

But, it turned out, he doesn’t even know he is “disabled” (and don’t tell him!).  I think he was grateful to not be dragging that leg around anymore.

Coop is the best dog in the world.  He and his brother (from the same litter) are my “comfort dogs”.  Eighteen months ago, I lost my husband to cancer.  My world, my life, has been turned upside-down.  Suddenly, I was alone after 30 years.  If it were not for these two dogs, and a handful of very supportive friends, I don’t know where I would be today.  I can’t wait to get home from work every night to hang out with my amazing dogs, Charlie and Cooper.  Sometimes, they drive me nuts with all their barking and shenanigans, but mostly they are my best friends and bring me so much joy and happiness.

Hoppy 4th Ampuversary, Cooper!  I love you more than words can say!

408342_332193756791896_696024149_nCooper when he was a puppy, with 4 legs!


IMG_0274And today.  His favorite activity is R.I.D.E. !!


Hoppy Howlidays from Cooper and Charlie!

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Top: Cooper the Tripawd with Santa.

Bottom: Charlie Brown (Cooper’s much larger twin brother – they are litter mates) with Santa and Mrs. Claus!

A Tripawd in Winter #WordlessWednesday

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Hoppy 3rd birthday (almost) to Cooper and his 4-legged brother, Charlie Brown

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Charlie Brown and our Tripawd, Cooper, were born on 11-11-11 !

On Tuesday, they’ll be three years old.  That’s 21 in dog years!  It’s hard to believe that much time has gone by.

They are basically all grown up.

This Sunday, we’ll have our THIRD puppy reunion on the beach in Gloucester, Mass. with their other littermates.

Some can’t attend, but we will share pictures with them on Facebook and in email.

Please join us in wishing our boys a happy 3rd birthday!!!


Will summer EVER get here?!

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It’s hard to believe it will be two years since we adopted our Tripawd, Cooper, just two weeks after his amputation.  He is my “comfort dog”, who loves going for rides in the car above all else!  He loves everyone, especially our senior dog, Hobie.  Here are a couple of recent pictures just to keep everyone up-to-date.

I’m looking for ways to include him in activities.  His able-bodied brother (they are litter mates), Charlie Brown, is able to go to dog-rescue events, the beach, and so forth.  Cooper can’t keep up as he keeps “slamming” his one front leg.  Any suggestions would be welcomed.  I was thinking about getting either a stroller (he weighs 75 lbs) or one of those doggie wheelchairs.  The most well-known company that makes them is right down the street from us, conveniently enough!  But, our entire house is stairs, so the only place he would use it would be the back yard, the road, etc.  Again, any ideas/suggestions for a house that has no large play areas.  He does very well inside the house, and on stairs, I would just like to include him in our activities elsewhere, as he seems to be missing out.  He is still so young, only 2 1/2 years old. I want him to have a long life with us, and the constant “slamming” of his leg has me concerned.

Ok, enough of that, here are the photos!


Cooper and Charlie upside down on the bed


Cooper and Hobie ha ha


My pack of three! Two brothers, and an ol’ guy

A dog named mini-Cooper is brought to you by Tripawds.