Tag Archives: dogs

Best friends

Brothers from another mother, that’s how I’ve always thought of these two. Roscoe, a black lab I got from a breeder in IL, and Cooper a golden retriever mix that came from a friend who found the mom and three pups along side the road. Roscoe had a few years on Cooper when he showed up and it didn’t take long for Cooper to start following his new big brother, but his personality would be his own.

When I picked up Roscoe from the breeder I should have known what I was getting, but I don’t think I realized it. As the breeder told me about his operation the 20 minute four wheeler runs with the dogs morning and evening was a key piece of information. I would later realize what should have been obvious, Roscoe was active not so much on the social side but more on the ‘give me a job’ side. He had a hard time sitting still and always wanted to chase a ball, a fetching machine he was.

Some friends called us about picking up a golden retriever with three pups along side they road. They already had two dogs and were trying to find homes for the pups. Two of them survived and since we’d been thinking about getting Roscoe a companion we thought it was a good opportunity. They lived about an hour a way, Cooper was only about 8 weeks when we brought him home. He didn’t enjoy the ride, puked once, and for the first 24 hours didn’t leave the kitchen floor. It took some time but he got use to us and his big brother but he’s not the energizer bunny that Roscoe is. Copper is good with just hang’n out. He’d always be happy to see you but calm and reserved, rarely did he get excited. He’d save that for when his big brother came back from the vet or anytime they were apart for a while.

Nine years of always being together formed a bond that was a joy to be around. That bond was tested at the end of June as we were on vacation. We got a call from the pet sitter that Roscoe was not eating and having trouble with balance, she wasn’t sure if he had a seizure during the night or what. When we got back he was not his normal self and wouldn’t go down the two steps to get off the deck. He had trouble standing but was getting his appetite back. The days that followed he was getting better so much so that we started going back to the park and swimming in the river. Roscoe is 14, has trouble getting up as the back legs are not that strong but the mind is all there. When walking outside to see them he still gets up to greet you, even though you can see it take a lot of effort, tail wagging and smiling. Cooper, not far away, is content that you are there and stays where he is.

The bigger test of that bond would come at the end of July. Roscoe is about 90% back to where he was before the episode and things are back to normal walks and visits to the park, all is good. So on a Wednesday evening when I walked out to see them as I normally do neither is on the deck. Cooper is 10 feet from his brother who is breathing but not responsive. As I load Roscoe into the car it would be the last time Cooper would see his big brother. A seizure or stroke we’re not sure but we had to put Roscoe down that evening. It was a lonely night for Cooper, something he would need to get use to and the next day I think he knew it.

In the few weeks that followed Cooper didn’t eat as much and he was a little more distant, both could be expected. Walks were slower, Cooper’s pace isn’t as brisk as Roscoe’s, he didn’t need to keep up anymore. Trips to the park were more about getting out than anything else and we still enjoyed lounging in the cool river. Life was good, not as good as it was but not to bad, or so we thought. On Sunday (8/4) morning when I walked out to take Cooper for a walk I found him not breathing. A few hours earlier he was howling with the neighbor dogs at sirens just like he has for the last few years and now he’s left to be with his brother. We expected Roscoe he had a good run but not Copper. We do not know the cause and the necropsy was inconclusive maybe it was a broken heart or loneliness, regardless they are together again.

You were a great pair boys and we enjoyed your company, the deck is empty now but the memories will last forever.

Roscoe and Cooper
Roscoe & Cooper

To much time alone

Cooper, our golden retriever mix, was not a happy camper last night. He’s normally good for telling anything that he hear’s around the fence to go away a few times a night but last night it was worse than normal. Letting him get it out of his system is typically what we do. I might go out to make sure he knows all is ok if it gets bad but that didn’t work last night. So I broke down and brought them in the basement hoping him and Roscoe would relax and Kay and I could get some sleep.

When I went down this morning to check on them I found a surprise. It could have been worse as there was a tub of dog food, my hockey equipment, furniture, and a few other things down there. Copper, while curious, is not as nervous as Roscoe so if I had to guess Roscoe got impatient and went digging in the trash.

The good thing was no accidents to clean up. They are good about that but haven’t been in the house that long before or alone. Not sure we’ll do it again, might have to find another way to make sure Cooper feels safe.

Heart Worms

About a week ago at the dog park I found some worms in Coopers’ stool. A trip to the vet the following day confirmed they were whip worms. While there they asked if I wanted to do a heart worm test, I couldn’t remember the last time Copper had one so I said “sure”. That test came back positive.

The vet started treatment that day and we’d be back to pick him up two days later. When picking Cooper up we took Roscoe along to have him tested as well, he came back positive too. Roscoes’ treatment was only half what Coopers was. Roscoe has a few challenges when it comes to “drugs” and temperature so we opted to do half now then go back for another round in four weeks. It has been an interesting the first week to say the least.

Cooper has been running a tempature, 103 this morning, so I had the vet check him and picked up some drugs in hopes it would get it under control. He hasn’t been eating very well so getting that back to normal is key. Roscoe on the other hand had a couple rough days but he’s back to his old go go go self. Unlike Cooper he’d prefer walks or the park to hanging out on the deck all day. They are opposites in many ways.

The coming weeks will be a challenge, balancing limited activity the medicine needs to kill off the heart worms but still keeping the boys from being restless. Time will tell and we’ll hope for the best.

Dog Training

The holiday season was about to start last year when I signed up for dog training through The Woof Waggin, a dog care and boarding facility in town. I started taking Roscoe and Cooper there shortly after hearing at the dog park they offered day care services to help dogs socialize.

Before the class I thought I was fairly knowledgeable about dogs and was doing most of the right things for mine and their health …. needless to say I had a lot to learn and still do. What prompted me to sign up was the initial evaluation by the Woff Waggin on their first visit. They just don’t let your dog hang out with anyone they evaluate them first and put them with other dogs that will help whatever challenges they might have, if any. The evaluations came back for both as nervous and anxious around other dogs, in general they didn’t know how to act. That was surprising especially about Roscoe. So that got me thinking if I couldn’t read how they acted around other dogs what else was I missing ? Enter training.

The class I signed up for was one to two hours every Monday, with a week skipped here or there for holidays. We covered the basics of walking, sit, stay, going in and out of doors and ignoring on command. Even though that doesn’t sound like much for the time it was plenty. I learned ways to accomplish these I would have never thought of on my own and since neither Copper or Roscoe excelled at any, they’d have a chance now.

The training was really for us not the dogs. How do we react when “anything” happens, what do we say or do when they’re bad or good. Sending confusing signals and not being consistent were things I didn’t realize I was doing, but I was. I’m sure I still do that today but hopefully less. We have progress and walks are more enjoyable. If things aren’t going the way I want them to I can change it. We can go through doors or gates without me getting run over and if it’s time to leave something alone it’s left alone, most of the time…. still working on that one.

So if you have dogs and are challenged like me find a trainer take a class or two, you might just learn a little about yourself, and your dogs might be happier too. Special thanks to everyone at The Woof Waggin for hosting and Nikki Ivey for the training.

Cheers !!!