Yesterday you turned eight.
Eight. years. old.
In my heart, you’re still this little bean:
Which, I’m sure, is why I baby you and call you my little baby and kiss your little snoot and snuggle you all the time because, truly, you are still that tiny fuzz-muffin to me.
But, here you are, eight years old. I think that means you’re a senior now. Gasp.
We celebrated yesterday with a trip to the park followed by a puppy latte.
Here’s the thing, Coop: I can’t overstate what a good boy you are.
Sure, you have some issues. You’re a smidge high-strung as your baseline. You bark. A lot. You jump on (some) people. You spend a lot of time afraid of what’s next–is this a different park? why did we turn left instead of right there? have we walked this route before? do I know this person? this isn’t the routine…
You are who you are.
But, despite that overarching nervousness (and subsequent, nearly-constant battle with GI issues), you are so. solid. You are so good.
In your eight years, you grew up with two big brothers who let you do whatever you wanted and only sometimes put you in your place. You moved from Bloomington, Ind., to Houma, LA, back to Bloomington, then to Indianapolis. You took on a kitty sister, Newt, who wasn’t so sure of you. You foster-brothered Molly; in fact, you were the first in our herd to take her under your wing. You fostered a kitten, Petey, and again were the first in our bunch to befriend her. You lost both of your big brothers, practically back to back. Then, in perhaps the biggest change of them all, you brought Violet into your loving little fold without missing a beat. Literally the day we brought her home, sound asleep in her carrier, you sniffed her and settled in like, “Yeah, OK. I got this.” And, of course, then came Ripley.
Your life has been full, yes, but with that fullness is the constant of change, and you’ve rolled with it–often being the first to adapt when things shifted dramatically, which I find amazing and just so good, considering how much you struggle in the moment.
We often talk about how you’re such an enigma, Coop. You love dogs, cats, kids, and people so fully. Whenever someone new comes over to the house, as they settle on the couch, you just climb into their lap. Recently, a visiting relative asked, “Can he ever get enough love?”
Yet, when we leave the house, you don’t trust anyone or anything. Stranger danger toward people and pets rears its ugly head with barking, lunging, crying, and general fool-headed-ness. But had those people or those dogs come over to play? You would love them right up!
Incidentally, Cooper, this goes counter to basically every instruction from every dog trainer ever. “Meet on neutral ground.” Yeah, right. Every ground but your own is somehow dangerous to you, so it’s made us suuuuuuuper hesitant to find a dog sibling for you right now. You love nothing more than to skitter with another dog, right? Well, I wish I could communicate to you somehow that you’d get to skitter with a sibling IF we could get you to meet one properly… that’s a battle for another day, though.
Today is your day.
You are so sweet. You’re so good with the kitties (minus the occasional probably-deserved thwomping). You’re amazing with Violet. Truly incredible. You have the patience of a saint with the women in your life. You take many things in life very seriously, and that includes having fun. You love to run still, though at 8, we’ve noticed that you’re not up for distance anymore. Your sweet spot is three to four miles, then you’re good for a solid afternoon of snoozing. Every night you go to bed on your spot, the chair in the corner of our bedroom. Then, at some point in the middle of the night, you jump up and nose my face so that I’ll lift the covers for you. You nestle down with your back against mine until John comes to fetch you for breakfast the next morning. Even though you wake me up in the middle of the night every single night, I honestly couldn’t sleep any other way!
You’ll play bow and skitter with the best of them, though you don’t reallllly want to share your ball with another dog if you can help it, so you run as fast and wild as you can so that you’re always first to fetch. Your favorite game is still recall relay in the backyard, which is super fun for me and John, too, because there’s nothing quite so joyful as watching you run and jump full-force. Then, you’re just as happy to come inside and settle with Violet for an episode of Sesame Street while she pats your back.
You are just such a good boy.
You’re the perfect dog for me and for our family. I’m so grateful Violet gets to experience childhood with you by her side.
You’re the best, Coop, and I’m glad we get a whole week to celebrate all things YOU!
Happy birthday, bubba! We love you!