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Not Cooper’sWeekend

June 12th, 2010

Poor Cooper!

This weekend was supposed to be relaxing. We had no plans, no camping, no commitments other than working on Year of Lace stuff and cleaning the house and working in the garden. Just regular old weekendy stuff. When Sandra got home from work last night, we fed the dogs and walked them to Trinity Bellwoods. It’s not the world’s best dog park, but our guys generally keep to themselves, and just love to run up and down the hill of the off-leash area bowl.

We had just arrived, and had just taken the dogs off leash. I had noticed the weimaraner walking up the hill with two women, but didn’t think anything of it. As soon as Cooper and Jackson took off running, the women started screaming “NO!” at their dog, and we saw the dog take off after our guys.

I didn’t see it happen, but within seconds, they had their dog, and Cooper was running and hiding between my legs. They apologized, and we both said, “Oh, no worries.” And then I looked down.

And then I saw the tip of Cooper’s tail, missing, and the bone exposed.

I freaked out. I’m not sure what I said exactly, but it was something like WHERE’S COOPER’S TAIL?!?

Sandra took Cooper immediately to the vet across the street, and I stayed and looked for the tip of his tail, with the two other owners, who said very little.

I eventually found it. I should have gotten their contact info, or names, or something. But to be honest, I was just concerned with getting my poor dog to the vet asap.

Unfortunately, it was just 7pm and the vet was closed. I switched into Sandra’s birks and ran home the nearly 2km to pick up the car, then come back and pick them up to drive to the very wonderful Emergency Vet at Davenport and Yonge.

The vet initially hoped she could just put in some stitches and close the skin over the protruding bone, but quickly discovered that he didn’t have enough skin left, and would have to amputate one of the vertebra. This is a major surgery for any dog, and there was some fear due to Cooper’s… ahem… girth… that the anaesthetic would be tough to manage.

We had Jackson in the car, so we spent the next six hours taking turns walking him, walking for food (Craftburger, which I could barely eat), reading through every possible magazine in the waiting room, and watching the repeated cycle of news headlines on CP24.

He was out of surgery around midnight, and I paid a bill more or less equal to my entire biweekly salary.

(And yes, we should have pet insurance on these guys… it’s on the list on things we need to do to be Grown Ups Again. So dumb to have not gotten to it yet.)

We had him home, cone and bandage and all medicated, by 2am. He cried constantly, and at 5am, started thrashing around and had removed the bandage entirely, within a span of a few seconds.

Because Cooper’s a very waggy dog, and he wags his tail constantly when he walks, he doesn’t exactly want to walk in that condition. We had to carry him to the car to go back to the clinic, a dance of ridiculous proportions when you’re thinking about two girls in PJs in the middle of the night and a 97lb lab with a cone on his head and a bleeding tail.

At 6:30, we all feel asleep for a few fitful hours.

The whole thing sucks. I’m so mad at those owners for not paying enough attention to their dog’s ability to be off leash, for not controlling their dog. Off leash is a major responsibility. You have to know your dog and what might make him unhappy or stressed. And you have to be able to compensate for that, by keeping him out of exactly this kind of situation. If your dog is set off by other dogs RUNNING, maybe the off leash park isn’t a great place to be.

And I feel so bad for Cooper. He’s never been hurt his entire life, except for his neuter surgery, and even then, his recovery was so quick. He hates the cone, but he has to wear it. The worst is watching him bounce around like a pinball, as he hits the cone on the wall, on the furniture, on my legs, on the planters in the back yard. (OK, can I admit it’s also kind of funny in that ‘if I don’t laugh I’m going to cry’ kind of way?)

I don’t know that he’ll be able to be left alone for awhile, or he’ll pull out the stitches and start bleeding. We certainly can’t leave him with Jackson; rough-housing would be really awful right now.

It’s funny, as you get older, how your definition of ‘luck’ changes. As bad as this was, it could have been so much worse. One severe dog bite could be fatal. We’re lucky it was the tip of his tail and not the base, not his side, not his neck, or his leg. We’re also lucky that Cooper is the kind of dog to run from a fight. It would have been worse had he fought back. And we’re lucky it’s Saturday now, and we have two full days to spend taking care of him at home.

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32 Responses to “Not Cooper’s Weekend”

  1. cori w Says:

    so scary! glad you guys are ‘ok’. keeping you all in our thoughts!

  2. Caryn Says:

    Ugh…my heart hurts for you two. I’m so sorry for poor Cooper…I really hope he heals up quickly, and does not have any residual physical and emotional issues. You two take care, and give your boy tons of love.

  3. Mary Says:

    Aw, so sorry that happened to such a nice dog. He’s so sweet looking. I hope he is out of pain soon and able to go back out and play. You’re right, it could have been much worse, but it is still pretty traumatic. Get well soon!

  4. Claire Says:

    How horrible! Poor Cooper. Poor you. Look after yourselves.

  5. marilynknits from Ravelry Says:

    I’m so sorry Cooper got hurt! He and Jackson are such beautiful dogs and I have to admit though I am a fan of knitting, I initially subscribed to your blog because of the great pictures and stories of Cooper and Jackson.

    My dog had to wear a cone after he kept chewing on a spot on his tail. He hated wearing it and kept bumping into things and even ended up breaking it. After going through several cones, my parents bought him this: Maybe it would work for Cooper as well. Best of luck to Cooper on a speedy recovery!

  6. samm Says:

    Oh how awful! We have three dogs that are loved to pieces here, so I know how much you love your two. It hurts so much to see a beloved pet hurt, and what a horrid way for it to happen. I’m sorry that you didn’t get information from those people, even if just so they know what their dog did. Poor sweet Cooper. I know it could have been worse, but this was pretty awful for both of you and Cooper. We moved six months ago, and there are two dogs who have trapped me three times now, with my two little dogs once, and with the puppy twice. All of mine leashed and terified. I screamed and yelled at them and was ready to kick if it took that. My young pup screamed in terror and hid behind me, and for a long time wouldn’t walk that direction. I’ve been fortunate in having people come running to help me. It’s left me shaking and upset, and none of us have been hurt. I can’t imagine how upset you two are, having your guy damaged and hurting. I’m so sorry irresponsible owners have allowed this to happen to Cooper. And to you both. Take good care of each other, ‘k?

  7. CatieP Says:

    I agree, off-leash is a privilege, not a right – those owners should have known better. And by their response it doesn’t sound like a new behaviour. I feel so bad for Cooper and you guys. I hope he heals quickly.

  8. Christiane Says:

    So glad to hear that Cooper is okay and I’ll be thinking good thoughts for a speedy recovery! I’m sure it must have been terrifying, as I would have probably been hysterical if it happened to my pup.
    And nothing makes me angrier than inattentive dog owners.

  9. Karen Says:

    My heart goes out to Cooper. He looks so sad. And, I’m sorry–I’m usually very peaceful–but those people need a good swift slap (or two). They clearly knew what their dog would do and they did nothing to protect him or other dogs from a fight. I’m very glad that Cooper walks away from a fight and I hope those dopes know how lucky they are that he didn’t (rightfully) jump ugly on their dog. If I lived in Toronto, I would cook a porterhouse tonight just to give him the bone.

  10. Jamie Says:

    Poor Cooper! I’m glad he survived. Our Jack Russell mutt used to love to play with other dogs (he and I went to 10 weeks of group off leash training, and he was always the instigator for “let’s pretend there’s a squirrel in that bush”). Twice relatives brought their dogs unannounced to our home, insisting that their dog was well-behaved around others; both dogs humped mine, one peed on him, and the other growled and bared teeth at him. Both were ate least double his size.

    It’s been at least 10 years since these incidents, and i STILL can’t take my dog out to play with others. He doesn’t trust other dogs, and starts barking like a maniac when he sees them. Hope this doesn’t happen to Cooper.

    If you see the Weimeraner’s owners again, you need to tell them what the vet bill was and insist upon being reimbursed. If they balk, tell them you’ll file a police report, and then follow through. If your city is like most, the offending dog (if found guilty), is likely to be put down or at least removed from its current owners. This may sound harsh, but that dog could easily have killed a dog smaller than Cooper.

  11. Kayla Says:

    Oh, Amy! That must have been terrible for you and Sandra, to say nothing about how terrible it must have been for the Coopster! Please give him a big hug from me, and take care of yourselves.

    Also, I agree with Jamie. That vet bill is the responsibility of those other two owners. I would personally be stalking the dog park for them.

  12. Deirdre Says:

    Oh, poor all of you, but especially Cooper – I totally get that laughing at the cone so you don’t cry scenario; when we use need it here it’s the same thing, although it hasn’t been for the same reason –

    I am incensed at the irresponsibility of the Weimeraner’s owners, and agree that you need to track them down and have them pay the vet bill, at the very least. Your poor sweet puppy…

  13. Nicky Says:

    Oh your poor puppy! Speedy and good recovery to the sad dog.

    I’d be livid at those owners. So irresponsible and unworthy of being dog owners. I would completely be on the warpath to find them again and hold them accountable.

  14. Liz Says:

    Poor Cooper!

    I hope that he’s feeling better soon, and that his tail heals quickly.

  15. Terri Says:

    oh, poor poor baby! And how horrible for you and Sandra and Jackson. That’s unbelievably irresponsible of the other dog’s owners to allow him off lead if he’s not controllable and aggressive, to boot.

    I wonder if you’ll be able to find the owners again – I would think they’d stay clear of that dog park for a while; either to avoid seeing you with a vet bill in hand, or because of acute embarrassment. My blood is boiling on your behalf.

    And having to wear a cone just makes a dog look that much more pathetic. Poor baby.

  16. adriene Says:

    Poor guy! And yeah – the dog park is a privilege, not a right. If they know their dog wasn’t balanced enough to be there, then they should not have had him off leash. I hope that, if you do see these people again, they will be big enough to apologize. I doubt that you will, though.

    I’m glad Cooper is ok, and I hope he “re-Coops” soon!

  17. Mandy Says:

    Oh, poor Cooper! I am so sorry that this has happened to him…I completely agree that having any dog off-leash should be taken very seriously and done with the utmost caution. I know that I can’t make this any easier or better for your family or Cooper, but I have been eying your “Elsewhere” pattern for some time now and am going to go buy it to help out with Cooper’s vet expenses. Take care and I hope that the healing process goes very quickly!

  18. Manon Says:

    Go back to the park and see if you can find this dog again and its owner. Perhaps other people have had a bad experience with this dog and someone might know who he belongs to. There should be no reason why this irresponsible owner gets away with not looking properly after her dog and keeping him under control. Ask her to pay for the vet bill and take her to small claims court if she refuses to at least contribute to part of the cost. You should also file a police report, this dog is dangerous and should never be off leash. I am not trying to encourage you to be vindictive, but there is no reason why you and your dog have to endure the trauma and cost of another dog’s owner poor behaviour. I have two small dogs and I can never take them to off-leash dog parks, because of so many owners not taking the responsibility of looking after their dogs properly. I feel so sorry for your dog and you; I know the VEC and have taken my dogs there — they are wonderful and attentive, but boy, are they expensive…

  19. Rebecca Says:

    Oh Amy, I’m so sorry to hear about this!
    I don’t have a dog but I definitely take issue with dog owners who let their dogs off the leash but don’t take the time or trouble to make sure that they are watching what their dog is doing. On numerous occasions I’ve been down at the beach (not in the off-leash area I might add) and had dogs come barreling at me and run over my blanket, get into my food, slobber on my knitting, etc. I am lucky that the dogs I have had run ins with have all just been ridiculously playful but it is quite a scary experience to have a large dog run at you while the owner just stands there or yells at the dog with absolutely no response from the dog, particularly in an area of the beach where a leash is technically required by law. I’ve even seen small children be knocked over by dogs in the same place because the dog isn’t aware of just how small the child is and isn’t listening to its owner to stop running.
    I hope your poor guy makes a speedy recovery and I hope those dog owners think twice about allowing their dog off-leash again. I do think dogs deserve the freedom of being off a leash but only if they are not going to cause harm to other dogs or humans around them!

  20. Lorena Says:

    I can’t believe out of all the wonderful, beautiful, and insightful things that you’ve written since I found your blog, what’s getting me to delurk and comment is the white-hot rage I feel at those other dog owners. My heart goes out to you both, and your pup. As a dog-owner myself, I am always conscious of how my dog behaves around others and also what might be nearby and could be used as a weapon should someone else’s off-leash dog come attacking. I hope that Cooper has a speedy and healthy recovery. I hope that those dog-owners think twice about their lackadaisical approach to ownership.

  21. kingshearte Says:

    Oh, your poor little guy! I’m so sorry that happened to him. I’m glad his surgery went well, though, and I hope he’s all better soon.

  22. Ande Says:

    Amy, so sorry to hear about Cooper! Irresponsible dog owners are teh suck!
    One of our greyhounds got about an inch of her tail cut off by the screen door closing on it. Similar injury as Cooper’s, After we had it bandaged for about a week to 10 days it was time to remove the bandage and let it get exposed to the air. Well, she’d whack her tail into something and then the sore would break open and then blood would start spraying everywhere! Nothing like having your kitchen look like an axe murder was committed there! Anyway, long story short, what worked for us was a velcro hair roller. One a little larger than his tail, you slide it over the end of his tail and tape it on. Trial and error revealed that duct tape was the way to go, stuck on for a long time. Then his tail end is better protected from when he whacks it on everything and still exposed to the air so it can heal faster. Maybe this would work for you. I wish you all the best! *hugs*

  23. Jen D Says:

    Poor Cooper! He looks so sad. I hope he feels better soon.

    I love Cloud Chaser – it’s gorgeous, and in one of my favorite colors!

  24. Ida Says:

    Poor Cooper. Please give him an extra hug for me.

  25. Stacey Says:

    I had a similar event when a friend’s weimaraner grabbed my catahoula by the neck and pinned her down. Callie was squealing and looking up at me for help. I’ve never felt more helpless. At first I chalked it up to “oh dogs will be dogs”, until I noticed the freaking puncture wounds in her neck that night (I hadn’t noticed any blood and her coat is dark). My heart goes out to y’all and Cooper, and Jackson who has to wait for his buddy to heal.

  26. Dana Says:

    That is so sad! I’m sorry that you guys had to endure all of that at the hands of some irresponsible dog owners and a particularly trigger-happy dog..

    Hoping for a speedy recovery!

  27. Shannon Says:

    As a dachshund owner (albeit one with some…ahem, girth issues of her own!), I really have to join the chorus of people suggesting you file a police report and find the owners of the other dog — I shudder to think what would have happened to a dog Anezka’s size.

    Poor Cooper! He looks so sad in his cone! I’m glad he’s doing ok and that the injury wasn’t worse! Love to you and Sandra.

  28. Susie Says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Cooper and the stress you all have been put under. I hope for a speedy recovery for Cooper, your Dad and the rest of your family.

    I could just scream at pet owners that are so irresponsible. After a bad incident I just have stopped going to the doggie park. My dog gets to be the loser but his safety is more important right now. There just are too many bad pet owners.

  29. Susanne Says:

    Oh I know how awful that feeling is, worrying about Cooper. We also have a Cooper, a spaniel mix who was attacked by another dog, he fought back, dogs were separated but Cooper had a tear in his cheek, got stitches and all is ok, but I just stood there screaming at the top of my lungs, because I thought this was it. Poor Cooper, he looks so sad and needs a big hug. He will be fine, and the cone will be forgotten in a few days and he will run around dodging chairs and tables, you’ll see.
    Best wishes to you all.

  30. Kathry Says:


    I have a “bully” so I’m not allowed to take him to anything off leash. It’s funny because he was attacked at an off leash before the law & I’ve not taken him back since.

    I don’t know about Bellwoods, but most off leash places have a board that over sees them, takes care of them and fund raises for them. Contact them. Tell them what happened. These people shouldn’t be allowed to let their dog off leash *anywhere*!

    Here’s to a speedy recovery.

  31. annie Says:

    OH NO! i can’t even wrap my head around how much this must have affected the 4 of you. phew.. i’m glad it’s not worse than it is (which is BAD). lots of love coming your way. a xoxox

  32. Roz Says:

    Oh dear, I am so sorry for Cooper and can empathise totally and agree 100% with what you say about the off leash parks and owners responsibility, unfortunately Boston my choc lab had his ear ripped open by an agressive dog that not only attacked him once and was pulled off by the owner, but seconds later he attacked him again, under my legs, under the bench I was on. It all happened so fast and so much blood. I have not been back to the off leash park since and have lost confidence in other owners entirely.
    I so hope Cooper heals quickly, hugz to you all.

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