On Christmas Eve last year, my boyfriend left the house to go pick up my present. He made up a crazy story, so I expected he was half joking and would walk back in with a wrapped box from his truck. When he finally turned up 20 minutes later, he told me to close my eyes, so I did. A gal who never wants to ruin her surprises, I kept them shut tight until I felt a little weight and some warmth on my lap.
I opened my eyes and saw the droopy little face I’d been eyeing for months. My friends had been fostering a little pup for a couple of months, and I’d give J the “PLEASE, OH PLEASE?!” look every time we’d visit, hoping we could adopt him. When I realized he was actually my gift, I was so surprised that J later told me he wasn’t sure I was excited. I was.
We shortly considered Copper, but Cooper rolled off the tongue and reminded me of a certain silver-topped journalist. It wasn’t long before ol’ Coop started to show us his funny ways, and that is when I dubbed him The Simple Dog, thanks to Miss. Allie Brosh over at Hyperbole and a Half.
See, it’s not that he couldn’t learn tricks or that he didn’t know the word “No.” He just wandered around rooms aimlessly, tried to squeeze himself inside every nook and cranny he could find, and he would bump into literally anything in his path. It was funny and gave him this little charm I couldn’t help loving, but it didn’t take us long to get his ass to the vet.
It was there we discovered that he had worms and a heart murmur. This dingbat of a doctor told us to go see a specialist, but I thought logically, “Hey! Don’t most growing things get heart murmurs? Couldn’t worms give him a murmur?” It took one Google search to find out I was right. As soon as he was treated for the worms, a whole new dog emerged and the murmur was gone. Said doctor was also kicked to the curb.
This new side of Coop was still just as hilarious, but now in a little less of a “I’m worried about him” way and more in a “You’re kind of like the Andy Kaufman of dogs” way. He would bound up the stairs and run on the couch like a maniac one second, but flop onto the bed after playing with a tennis ball for five seconds. He learned some new tricks and started talking like a Wookie when he didn’t get his way. He made us laugh like crazy, and I fell so deep in love with the goof.
Something was still afoot with the little lad, a conclusion we made after finding rogue blood in the backyard. Tests and lots of money later, we found out he had a congenital liver disease that could only be cured with a surgery we did not (and still don’t) have the money for. He was put on medicine that he can never stop taking.
That was early this year. Here we are, on Simple Dog’s Gotcha Day, and he’s just as goofy as ever. He’s actually pretty healthy for a technically sick boy, and until he shows signs otherwise, he’s stuck with me. I couldn’t imagine not having his droopy face poke me in the nose every morning.
He has taught me a lot about myself, and how to grow up. He’s shown me what it’s like to simultaneously want to strangle and hug another living being. He has gotten me through a really hard and unexpected time with actual puppy hugs. Cooper is my little Forest Gump, because he might not be the smartest man, but he sure as hell knows what love is.