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Archive for April, 2024

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