Even More Perfect After All These Years

NOTE: Much of this is a (slightly) edited repost from Cooper’s 12th birthday post. There’s a bit of new info added to the copy, as well as several pictures from Cooper’s latest adventures at the end. Enjoy!

(Thanks to Cooper’s “Auntie Julz” for suggesting the title of this post in last year’s comments.)

Cooper, age 2
(photo taken May 1999)

Tuesday, 16 March 2010, was the 13th birthday of Cooper the Perfect.

I first saw Cooper at the very first Greyhound Gathering in Kanab, Utah, held May 1 and 2, 1999. It was late Saturday night and I was in the Shilo Inn’s conference room. There were only a few people in the room at the time, and only one dog. Right in the middle of the room, a red-fawn Greyhound lay sprawled on his side like he owned the place. Claudia Presto, the Gathering’s organizer and founder of the Greyhound Gang, stood by the dog talking to a second woman. The second woman was clearly distraught – almost in tears. From what I was able to make of the conversation, the woman had adopted the dog but had to return him because she was having some sort of trouble with him. I left the room soon after and thought nothing more of it.

After the official end of the Gathering on Sunday afternoon, a few of the attendees met at Claudia’s house, including my husband and me. Inside the house, I sat down on a day bed upon which a couple of Greyhounds were already settled. As I took a seat next to a red-fawn boy, he picked up his head and growled at me as if to say “This is my bed and I don’t want to share it with the likes of you.”

One thing I don’t tolerate from dogs is them growling at me, so I took the dog’s muzzle in my hand and stared him down. He stopped growling and looked away. At this point, Claudia got rather excited and asked me if I wanted the dog. “His name is Cooper and he growls at everybody,” she told me. “You’re the first person I’ve ever seen stand up to him. He needs an owner like you.”

Of course I wanted Cooper (I want them all), but we already had three Greyhounds, which was more than my husband had signed up for when we adopted our first one, and there was absolutely no way we were going to get another dog, especially one with a behavior problem.

To make a long story short, we ended up adopting Cooper anyway. However, we didn’t make the decision to do so until the following week, so we had to drive back up to Kanab the next weekend to pick him up.

Cooper relaxing soon after we brought him home
(May 1999)

As it turned out, not only had we adopted a dog with a behavior problem (growling to get his way), we had also adopted a dog with an ego problem. You see, Cooper is perfect. Just ask him. As far as he’s concerned, he’s the center of the universe… nay, the center of the multiverse. All of the cosmos revolves around him. One of his former owners called him “Apollo” – we should have kept that name as it is more in keeping with his god-like nature.

Cooper, perfection in a Greyhound-shaped package
(May 1999)

Cooper is not like most other retired racing Greyhounds. He injured his left front leg when he was a puppy, damaging the growth plates in his wrist so his leg grew (perfectly) crooked. Because of this, he was never even trained to race. Instead, he ended up in a university veterinary program at a very young age, but was adopted by a vet student before anything unfortunate happened to him. He made his way through several owners (one of whom called him “Linus”?!?!?!?) before coming to live with us soon after his second birthday.

Cooper is very smart. Besides learning not to growl to get his way, he learned to sit, bow, “clop” (snap his teeth together), roll over (to the command “Beethoven”), shake (with both his right and left paws, depending on which you ask for), and several other “stupid dog tricks.” When he sees food being handed out, he gets so excited he tries to do all of his tricks at once, which is quite amusing to watch.

Cooper demonstrating the perfect Greyhound sit
(Three Dog Bakery, Phoenix, October 1999)

Being the perfectly conceited creature that he is, Cooper loves to get attention, and not just by doing silly tricks…

Cooper standing on “his” box at the 2001 Arizona Renaissance
– a perfect way to attract attention to his perfection

Of course, Cooper is still a Greyhound, which means he likes to sleep. A lot. And he’s perfectly good at it.

Cooper, perfectly exhausted after returning from
the 2001 Greyhound Gathering in Kanab

Cooper looking perfectly stoopid
(May 2002)

Cooper “sharing” the couch with Rahja
(January 2003)

Cooper “sharing” a bed with Raven
(March 2003)

Cooper’s perfect sleepy smile
(August 2003)

Perfectly piled pillows
(June 2004)

The perfect dead cockroach
(July 2004)

Perfectly adorable at the 2005 Arizona Renaissance Festival

Adorable perfection at the 2007 Arizona Renaissance Festival

Perfectly positioned paws
(December 2007)

A perfectly sized chair for a nap
(January 2008)

Of course, Cooper does more than just sleep. He likes to spread the word about Greyhound adoption using his perfection at various Renaissance faires throughout the southwest United States.

Cooper at the 2001 San Diego Renaissance Faire
“This is my best side…”

“…and so is this.”

Cooper (far left) escorting the Queen at the 2001 San Diego Faire.
No Queen ever had a more perfect escort.

Cooper with one of his many fans at the
2002 Arizona Renaissance Festival

Besides being perfectly stunning to look at, incredibly talented, and having a perfectly deformed leg, Cooper likes to use various health issues to get attention. He has symmetrical lupoid onychodystrophy, an autoimmune disease that causes him to form antibodies against his toenails, which in turn causes them to fall off.

In mid-December 2005, he was attacked by another dog (not a Greyhound). Being a perfect pacifist, Cooper refused to fight back and ended up with a very badly damaged rear left leg, plus a bunch of other very bad wounds. The vets thought he might lose his leg; even if they could save it, they feared it would take months of healing to get it working again. Apparently they hadn’t counted on Cooper’s perfect healing powers. Two weeks (and $7000) later, they sewed up the last of his wounds. Other than a few minor (but perfect) scars and some missing muscle mass in his left thigh, there’s no sign anything ever happened to him.

One evening in May 2006, I gave him a hug only to discover his heart beating incredibly fast for no reason. After 15 minutes, it was still beating way too hard, so I took him to the emergency vet. His heart rate upon admittance was 230, and went as high as 280 at one point. No cause could be found. After a bunch of tests, a couple of hours, and a $1000+ vet bill, his heart rate returned to normal. (After that, I got him medical insurance.)

A week before his 13th birthday, we again discovered his heart racing out of control. He didn’t seem to notice anything out of the ordinary, other than the fact that we were paying more attention to him than usual, and by the time we got him ready to go to the emergency vet (of course, this was late at night when the regular vets aren’t open), his heartrate had returned to normal on its own. Go figure.

He has also been diagnosed with IVDD (intervertebral disk disease), a grade 3 heart murmur, and what appears to be a hemangioma on the back of his left leg (he’ll be seeing the vet about it next week) – none of which seem to bother or slow down his perfectness.

Cooper playing with packmate, Sergei the Borzoi

“Come and get me, fluffy butt!”
(December 2007)

Cooper playing in the backyard with packmates and friends

(January 2008)

Apparently having an ego as large as Cooper’s requires a lot of water. Cooper refuses to drink from the water bowls that are set out for the dogs. Instead, he will drink only from his private, 10,000-gallon water bowl – the swimming pool.

Cooper sampling the water in his bowl
(March 2002)

Surveying his watery domain
(January 2008)

“Ahhhh, good water.”
(July 2008)

Congratulations, you now know Cooper the perfect – you can die knowing your life has been fulfilled, just like the lucky girls in the picture below:

Perfectly spoiled at the 2009 Arizona Renaissance Festival.

“Have no fear, Cooper’s here!”

Below are pictures from Cooper’s adventures since his 2009 birthday post.

Cooper models his stunningly perfect No Nude Hounds unitard.

Cooper says, "They even fit perfectly lying down!"

A couple of pictures of Cooper with adoring fans at the 2009 Las Vegas Renaissance Festival:

Perfect adoration, but who's adoring who?

A rainbow fairy visits His Perfectness

Cooper's secret to long life and happiness: raw meat and bones

In early January 2010, Cooper attended the GPA-Arizona Greyt Gathering and allowed the following photographs to be taken:

Perfection behind bars

Released from his x-pen prison, Cooper enjoys some Arizona winter sunshine

Cooper taking mom for a perfect walk

Another fan of Cooper's perfection...

...and yet another.

Cooper deigns to drink from something less than his 10,000-gallon bowl

And there you have it, the latest from the land of all that is Perfectly Cooper.

Happy 13th birthday, Golden Boy!


3 Responses to “Even More Perfect After All These Years”

  1. Greyt story! He’s a doll —

    Gus’ Mom

  2. Happy Birthday Mr. Cutest-Cooper-Ever! Wouldn’t I love to come watch you do all your tricks at the same time??? don’t let a thing make your 14th year imperfect!

  3. Carla Benoist Says:

    I remember when you brought him home! How time flies… perfectly.

    Happy birthday perfectly wonderful hound :)

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