Cooper stayed with me for a few months while he was looking for his forever home. He was a homely black and tan aussie-type thing (supposedly an aussie, but I was never quite convinced of that) who got a raw deal in life. He was afraid of men and showed it with his teeth. He was not a fan of the man in my life, and despite all my work, he just got worse and worse to the point that he would growl when my boyfriend came into the house, even when he was on a separate floor of the house in his crate! He was not the brightest bulb on the tree. It took me, I think, two months to teach him a “down.” Luring was out of the question, since his brain completely shut off around food. He caught on to the idea of shaping pretty quickly and would offer me a down for a click and a treat, but couldn’t seem to get the idea that the actions he was giving me had names. His “sit” was already rock solid. It was the only thing he knew and I think at some point he just decided that “sit” was the sum total of what humans want dogs to do. I never could get him to do a “stand” or a “spin” because I couldn’t get his butt off the ground! Yet other things—waiting for his dinner, waiting to go outside, going to his kennel on command, coming when called—he learned with no problem at all. He was an odd one and I didn’t quite have time to figure him out. For all his shortcomings, I’ve never met a more loyal dog. Once he decided he was your dog, that was it—he was your dog. And I was privileged to be his person for a few short months. All he wanted was love from his person (well, and to wrestle-play with other dogs and chase squirrels of course). He hated to be outside in the winter because his paws got cold, but he sat right by my side while I threw toys for my two border collies. I had to keep him in the basement by himself when my boyfriend was over, but at night, I would stay up with him a little longer just to spend some cuddle time. He was happy as long as he got a few minutes of cuddles every day. When I went to bed, he would amble off to the bathroom (his self-appointed sleeping place, the warmest room in the house), shut the door, and curl up in the corner on the towel I always left out for him to sleep on. After awhile it became clear that my house wasn’t the place for him anymore and he was taken in by another foster home. I admit I shed a few tears when he gave me that questioning look as I loaded him into a crate in someone else’s van. Luckily, Cooper is a big-hearted dog, so it didn’t take him long to become theirs. But I kinda miss the big furry mutt. Contrary to popular opinion, Cooper was a good dog.