Happy Birthday Cooper!

 

On December 3, 2014 another husky soul arrived in this world. I wasn’t there for his first two months, but I imagine his birth was like all of those before him. In fact, I didn’t even know about him until one day at the vet when I enquired about any of the other clients having huskies.

I guess it was meant to be, because they did know of a litter and gave me the phone number. I called and asked all the questions I could. I went to see the pups because the family only lived 6 miles away from me. Then I went home and toiled with wondering if it was the right thing to do. Whether I really needed another pet.

With 3 cats and 2 dogs already in residence I was torn. The price seemed too high, but it really wasn’t out of line… but I didn’t know that. I made an offer, and waited a day. Eventually they came back with a counter offer, and I decided to take it.

I looked at all the pups and asked for the most outgoing one. They informed me “That One!” So, I picked up this big boy puppy and took him home. My wife named him Cooper, and it seemed like a good name for him.

I expected him to be just like any other dog I’ve had, and I treated him as such. I bet he was thinking about how much he was going to have to do, to teach me about his kind. But he didn’t falter with the work ahead of him. He began right away to teach me through all kinds of tricks of the trade. Stubbornness, subterfuge, teeth, and many other devious plans that only the Siberian People know.

That first year was a hard one on both of us. Mainly because I was ignorant about the ways of the husky. But he never gave up on me. This was his new home and life, and he wasn’t about to give up unless I did. That is the way of the Siberian they just don’t quit. We butted heads quit a few times, but I slowly learned more and more each day by observing him, and reading everything I could about them.

I had bred and trained German Shepherds but this little guy was nothing like them. At first I thought I’d picked a dud because he just didn’t seem to understand the heel command. He wanted to be out front and pull me down the road. No amount of commands or pulling him back would stop him.

He was also clumsy and would trip over his own feet on a walk. I seriously began to wonder if something was off in him. It turns out he just wasn’t used to those big legs of his. Today he is graceful and has a smooth lope that is poetry in motion. A gentle giant who grew into those legs and body.

We stuck together and walked miles and miles. I started learning about sled dogs, and husky history, and it slowly started to come together. Cooper and I met half-way, I started to accept him, and he began to accept me. We learned about each other’s faults, and also the good things that make a great partnership work.

Now today…three years later I can’t imagine what it would be like without him. He is a magnificent critter. Full of life, a worker on the bike, and a wonderful companion. I sometimes call him, “Big Silly.” Because he has a certain humor about him in the things he does. A gentle and very large dog for a husky. When he works he stays focused on the task at hand. But when at home he is like any other pet for the most part.

He has some behaviors that annoy me at times, but I’m sure I have some he doesn’t like as well. I understand him now, and that makes it okay. He really has changed my life in many ways. These days I’m so Intune with these Siberians that I even paint them.

I think about them all the time, and hope they are safe while I’m at work. I’m so wrapped up in these people that I’ve even invested time and money into more dogs. Seppala Siberians, the great working line from the master Leonhard Seppala himself. The future will bring more Seppalas into the world and I hope to have as many as I can.

As our breeding program grows I hope to turn more people on to these amazing dogs. Maybe when I retire in a few years we can do a few races, run some tours and let others find out how amazing it feels to be traveling down a trail being pulled by them.

It all started on this day 3 years ago with a little ball of fur named Cooper.

Thank You Cooper for everything you’ve taught me, and your never-ending zest for life. I hope we have many more years of adventures together!

TJ

 

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