I am a pet person, specifically a dog person. I have had dogs in my life from the day I was born until this past December. In fact, if as and when I write my autobiography, the title will be “My Older Brother was a Dog”. Not that anybody will read this future opus, but if I do write this book, I hope my children might take a look at it, as it is my intention to tell them our families story as best I remember it.
And the first story or recollection I will tell them about is my older brother, a Heinz 57 variety of a dog named Woody. You see he was part of my family before I was. He was already two years old when I came into the world and for the first fourteen years of my life he was a very important part of my life.
From the earliest memories, it was my responsibility to care for him, to play with him to feed him and to just treat him as a integral part of the family. Back in the 1950’s there were no leash laws, so every morning by 7:00 am Woody would wake me up, not my parents, to let him out. He would stick his nose in my face while I was still in bed and nudge me to let him out. And I did so every day. I would wait the ten or fifteen minutes or so until he came back, and then let him back in. Then I poured his morning meal in his bowl and either climb back into bed or get ready for school. That is just how it was. Later on in the day I would take him for his walk to the local green area, unleash him, and let him run around for a few minutes. I would play fetch with him, throw a ball around with him and take a long walk with him. He was my best friend.
Woody was with us until, as mentioned until I was fourteen. After that we had many dogs culminating with our most recent “Minnie Pincher” Casey. She was our rescue. She had a tough first five years of life in a puppy mill just being a momma and making babies. By the time she got to us she was emotionally damaged. She never lived inside, never walked on floors, never played on grass. It was a tough adjustment for her.
Over time she became a loving, though independent sole. She became a snuggler and congenital lap dog. And she did make up for all the food she was denied at the puppy mill. Eating was her passion. And we had her for ten years and we think she was about fifteen when she left us. Taking her in as a rescue, in my mind, was a good deed and gave Casey a great life.
For the Cooper family dogs have been an important part of our family life and brought joy and companionship to us, our children and grandchildren.