Cooper is my dear, sweet, sensitive Labrador retriever mix. He is 1 ½ years old and pretty much the best dog in the universe. We don’t know what he’s mixed with, so I can’t exactly direct you on how to make a copy cat of this magnificent breed, but we are guessing that his mother was a serious “dog-whore” and perhaps he had several other male dog sperm that contributed to his superior genetic makeup.
I like to call him the Brad Pitt of dogs. He’s beyond good-looking, his demeanor makes all the other dogs swoon (male and female), and do I even mention those eyes? Melted my stone heart in seconds. I knew after the first day of fostering this adorable canine there was no going back, no matter that my household at that time did not allow dogs, nor that there were no pet-friendly homes available. I was sold.
It was meant to be, fate clearly had taken a fantastic swing at bat and I officially won in the world of finding a perfect dog. Other than those times he shredded books and newspapers all over the house, dug in the trash, ate poop, and tore up a couple of shoes. Besides those times…perfect dog.
Then there was that one time.
At this time, I was living by myself in a small home split into three separate apartments in the town of Jackson, Wyoming. It was extremely old, as most homes in the town were. The floors and ceiling slanted slightly, there was one closet in the entire household, zero water pressure, no cabinets, my bed didn’t fit in to the bedroom (I made that my closet and re-vamped the rest into a studio-type apartment), no washer or dryer, the door wouldn’t latch closed, and the carpets smelled like piss and shit from the previous owner. (His? His dogs? Combination? Sick, I don’t want to know.) It was mine, though, all to myself, so I was a fan.
One night, I was laying in bed, reading. (Let’s be honest, I was probably watching Harry Potter and drinking wine). My bed was perched against the west wall, and Cooper’s bed was on the opposite wall. He had been out cold, because back then I was a better owner and took him for daily walks along rivers and through fields and on long hikes up steep buttes.
Suddenly, he jumped up and ran over to my bed barking and growling. Note, please, that he is not a barker. I vowed I would never own a dog that barked incessantly over every stupid noise and made it a point to raise him not to do so. You can I imagine I was a bit shocked with the barking, but what was more odd was that he stood at the side of my bed and stared directly at the wall above me, growling vehemently.
He did this a couple times. I never worried too much about it nor lost sleep over it. Until wine night with Allison.
Allison is the girl that lived directly below me. She is sarcastic and loves wine as much as I do, so naturally we were drawn to each other. Occasionally we would have girls night where we would drink a bunch of wine and talk about how much we love our dogs and how ugly and crappy our apartment was.
On one of these such nights, I told Allison about how Cooper would do the weird barking and growling and staring at the wall thing. Her reply was this:
“That’s weird. The guy that lived there before you had a schizophrenic living with him, who would always talk about how dead children lived in the walls.”