We call it Copper-Dopper day, and today is the 4th one!
Now, Copper isn't 4 years old. He was a rescue, so we don't actually know his age. The vet estimated him to be between 3-4 years when we got him, so we figure on him being 7-8 years old now (fancy math, huh?). And, if you're a pet-owner, you'll understand the ferocious love we have for our furry wee beastie.
Let me tell you a little bit about Copper and how he came to be part of our family: I was pregnant with our first baby, and was convinced that if we were going to have a dog, it should be part of the household BEFORE the baby came home. I'm not sure now what my reasoning or supposed logic was about that... maybe I just really REALLY wanted a dog, but I spent a lot of time browsing websites like "petfinder", the humane society website, kijiji, and other places. I knew I wanted a rescue, I wasn't up for training a puppy right before we were going to have a baby, and I certainly didn't want to purchase a dog from a pet store (potential puppy mill!) and so on. I applied to different rescue organizations, and got turned down by a rather grouchy woman from a beagle rescue (I don't think she was actually interested in finding her dogs other homes) and then one night: I saw him. I can vividly remember looking at a rather blurry pic of Copper on petfinder, noting that he was at a private rescue, and thinking - he's so cute!
I made the hubs come and see the pic and he let me email the rescue owner. He told me Copper's backstory and before even meeting him I was convinced that we could give him a good home.
Copper had been born in a puppy mill, he was being used a stud-dog because he was a small male for his breed (Redbone Coonhound), and people are often looking for smaller versions of larger dogs. It's a trend, apparently, in "breeding". Now, I use the term "breeding" loosely, because apparently when Copper was rescued from this place he was one of many dogs who were being housed in tiny cages, only let out to eat (mass feedings, so fight or don't eat) and breed. He was rescued by the Ontario SPCA and eventually adopted out to a woman. She had another dog, wanted Copper to keep her dog company, but it didn't work out as she was hardly ever home... and Copper was a RESCUE. And RESCUE dogs come with BAGGAGE. For example, even after being with us for 4 years, where he has NEVER wanted for food, he still counter surfs occasionally and gulps his food down like he might never eat again.
Then he was taken to the Humane Society, where he was adopted out to a family. This family was on the verge of breaking up and thought a dog would help their problems (? WHA?) but they divorced anyways, and neither of them wanted Copper. The Humane Society apparently wouldn't take him back (? not sure I understand that part either) but the rescue, Paws A While, would. I was heartbroken hearing about this dog who nobody seemed to want to keep... and the hubs was not convinced that he was a good choice, but I was prego and he humoured me.
We drove for an hour to visit and meet Copper at this rescue, which was on a fair sized chunk of property, and the owner took us out to the kennel housed around the back. He told us "If you don't end up wanting to keep him, PLEASE bring him back. He's so sweet, I'll keep him myself if I can't find the right family for him." then he opened the back door and called "Copper!" so he would come out and meet us. Well, in about 2 seconds a red/brown blur burst through the back door and took off at full speed. I don't think we actually got to see his face for about 10 minutes he was moving so fast... but when he finally slowed down enough for us to pet him and take a look at him, I was done. It was fur-love and furst sight. :) The hubs knew there was no changing my mind, so a couple of days later (Feb 15) we were back with a leash in hand, and a house full of dog items waiting for Copper to come "home".
Well, once he was home he settled in pretty good. The thing about rescue dogs is, if you're prepared for the nonsense that comes with them having a not-so-great backstory... is that they always seem grateful. Copper just wanted to be loved (he still does, he's very lovey) and I think he was concerned that we'd be just another stop along the way...
But we wouldn't trade our furbaby for anything in the world. And it didn't take him long to settle in...
And now, 4 years later, he's still our big, silly, lovey, crazy, wild, wriggly beastie.