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Check out the Blog Archives to read about our cross country motorcycle road trip from MA to CA this summer. We attended the Annual 2011 National Women On Wheels® Ride-In in San Jose CA. Then we just rode. We traveled over 11,000 motorcycle miles in what ever direction we wanted to go. We visited friends and family, saw the country, met some amazing people. We made memories we'll never forget. These memories are what THIS BLOG is made of! Enjoy them while we make MORE memories worthy of posting here for your enjoyment.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

An update to Cooper's "Quandary"

Cooper goes to David's room when Jesse and I go to work.  Jesse lets Cooper in David's room and closes the door and David goes back to sleep for a while.  According to David, Cooper and Sam have been a bit more brave in their socialization while David sleeps.  

Yesterday morning when David woke up, he saw Cooper and Sam about one inch from touching 'nose to nose'.  When he reached for his phone to take a picture, Cooper moved away from Sam and wouldn't allow him near again.  The closest he was able to convince them to get was about five inches apart.  This picture is of them just after they were five inches apart.  I can't wait to see if Cooper will let Sam touch him.  

Once that happens, I think there will be a really good friendship between them.  I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Typical Day In Cooper's Life

We all have a morning routine.  Cooper recognizes the type of day we will have by the morning routine.  If the day starts with an alarm to wake us up, he knows I get into the shower and Daddy will feed him.  Cooper quickly runs outside to pee, then comes in for his breakfast.  Jesse always puts something special into his dog food so Cooper always has something different to look forward to.


After Cooper eats, he will come sit with me on the bed while I get dressed, watch the weather and check my email.  He snuggles right next to me content in knowing we have a few minutes before I have to go.  He seems like he's sleeping but I'm sure he's fully experiencing the morning. 


When Jesse emerges from the shower, Cooper opens one eye to look at him, just to notice him but not to interact.  By this time I'm looking at my banking on line and taking care of anything else.  By the time Jesse is done getting dressed, Cooper is usually fully awake with his head up and eyes on Jesse.  Once Jesse is completely dressed he will be ready to go outside to start the cars to get them warmed up.  Cooper goes out then to do his 'business'.  Jesse usually will say something like, "Lets go start Mama's car."  Cooper jumps up like a shot and launches off the bed to run out the door in front of Jesse.

They go outside to do what ever needs to be done.  Start my car, take Jesse's bike out if he's riding to work, or start Jesse's truck.  Cooper takes care of himself out there and comes back in with Jesse for a treat and some play time.  Jesse leaves later than me so when I leave Cooper comes to the door to watch me walk out before he goes back to his routine with Daddy.

When I get home from my job at the school, Cooper is always in the window upstairs to watch for my arrival.  You may or may not believe this, but when I get in and say 'Hi' to Cooper, he jumps up on me to burry his head in my legs and he repeats "Mama, Mama..." over and over again.  Yes, I have this on video as you see.  You have to listen carefully for now until I get a better clip since in this one he wasn't as clear as he usually is. I give him good scratches that he loves so much, and then we get ready to go to work with Andy.



Cooper helps me gather the things we need for the afternoon with Andy. I get my things and send him to get his. (yes I have this on video too) Sometimes we may need a leash, so I tell him to get that.  He comes running back to me and hands it to me.  I put that in the bag, then I tell him to go get his Jug.  This is a toy to put treats in that he has to manipulate to get the treats out.  He gets a small lunch of his regular dog food in this toy.  He will go get it, hand it to me, I put his lunch in it and put that in my bag too.  Once everything is gathered, we go to the car.   Cooper will pee on the way.  He gets in, and I give him his Jug to occupy him for the ride to Andy's.  He can be a bit of a whiner in the car, so this is a good diversion.


Arrival at Andy's is always the same.  He gets out of the car and visits two trees that other dogs visit also.  I call them his 'News Trees'.  He also visits the bushes in front of Andy's house.  If the news paper is on the ground I have him get it and hand it to me before we go in to wait for Andy to get home.  I put Cooper's sleeping bag on the chair by the window for him to lay on where he waits for Andy's bus. 

When Andy gets home, I open the door for Andy's driver Jim to bring Andy in the house.  Cooper waits at the threshold to smell Jim and Andy as soon as they are in reach.  He gets greeted by Jim with a pat on the head or a scrub behind the ears.  When Jim leaves, Andy has a snack, so Cooper goes back to his chair.

We hang out with Andy usually until about dinner time.  Cooper will get in my lap to visit with Andy sometimes.  During cold weather we stay in most of the time, so Andy will nap, Cooper will nap, we watch tv or what ever Andy wants to do.  Cooper is just there to create a better environment, which he does very well.

When it's time to go home, Cooper has another quick visit to his 'News Trees' and then gets in the car.


When we get home, Jesse is usually there.  Cooper goes running in to greet him.  We eat dinner, then Cooper gets his dinner with something we had or dinner in his dog food.  We hang out together for the night playing or practicing new tricks and skills.  Cooper will bring his leash to one of us if he needs to go outside to do his business again.  


At the end of the night after we've settled in, Jesse and I will usually read or talk or research something on the internet.  We do this in bed because that is where Cooper gets to lay with both of us at the same time.  He will stay with us until he's content and ready to go to bed himself.  When he's ready, he will jump down and get into his crate.  If we're ready for bed before he is, we just say, "Cooper, go to bed."  If he's not ready to go he may object while he goes reluctantly.  Before too long, we hear a big 'sigh' from him as he tucks in for the night.  His day is over and he'll be in his crate till the alarm goes off again tomorrow morning.





Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tape, Band-Aids and Bubble Wrap

Pictures to come.  

Cooper is a funny little guy.  There are few things that really excite him to send him into 'over-the-top' excitement.  This is one thing that does just that.

As you know, I cut Cooper's hair myself. Some of his haircut is done while Cooper relaxes across my lap.  As you can imagine, hair gets on me, my clothes and the couch.  So when I'm done, I'll use a lint roller to clean up the hair.  

The first time I used a lint roller was when I discovered that Cooper has a funny reaction to sticky things.  He hears the sticky cling sound and it causes him to chase the roller.  When I tear off a layer from the roller, I give it to him.  He tries to curl his lips back to keep them off the sticky surface, and he tries to take the tape from me with just his front teeth.  If the sticky part touches his lips or the hair on his lips, he sneezes and shakes his head, then tries again.  This will go on for a long time if you're willing to play.

One time I put the roller sheet on the floor, sticky side up.  When Cooper touched it, it stuck to his nose.  He used his paw to get it off, so it stuck to his paw.  He shook his paw, then he used his mouth again to get it off and it stuck to his nose again!  He shook his head and it went flying off and landed on the floor.  He ran to face it, barking as if to say, 'I showed you! SO THERE!'.   This was so funny to see!  It all happened in about eight seconds.  It was the funniest chain of events in eight seconds I have ever seen with Cooper.  

In staying with the same sticky subject, can you imagine Cooper's reaction when he watched me the first time I put a band-aid on?  He watched me with curiosity as I opened the band-aid.  There was no big deal there.  However, as soon as I pulled the backing off to uncover the sticky part of the band-aid, Cooper seemed determined to protect me from this sticky item.  I was successful in applying the band-aid to my finger. I was able to convince him he shouldn't try to remove it, UNLESS i tried to touch him with that finger.  He would roll his lips back to try to delicately get his front teeth on the band-aid so he could pull it off my finger.  He would remember the band-aid was there for the whole time I needed to wear it.  I still can't have a band-aid on without him calling my attention to it.  Sometimes it's fun to get him going. He understands that this is only play now.  He's really funny about it still.  Some things never get old.  Oh, and by the way, sticky labels, stickers, price tags, etc., evoke the same reaction from Cooper.

Bubble wrap is fun in a different kind of way.  Weather it's the style of bubble wrap where there are tiny bubbles or the ones that are big, as soon as you pop one, Cooper goes CRAZY!  He jumps and barks and tries to grab the bubble wrap from you.  If he gets it, he shakes it more vigorously than anything else that deserves to be shaken.  He tears at it and spits out tiny pieces of it until it's completely shredded and no pop-able bubbles remain.  He seems to really have it in for anything that makes the popping sound.  This includes bags if you trap a bubble and pop it.  He knows what you're doing if you trap a bubble.  As soon as he's sure that's your intention, he starts to bark and jump for the bag.

So there is a little insight into the lunatic side of Cooper.  I'm not sure if other dogs have similar reactions to these things.  I would love to hear stories of other dogs reactions to things like this.  Please feel free to leave short comments or email a story to me.  Maybe I can post your story as a guest blog entry.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Blue Doo!

Cooper has great curls on the top of his head.  They are a collections of soft tight ringlets from his forehead  to the back of his head.  The hair on his ears and face is soft and straighter than the top of his head.  The hair starting at his neck and covering the rest of his body is courser than his face and somewhat frizzy rather than curly.

It was time for his spring haircut in 2010 when I decided to do something a little different.  I cut his hair short all over his body as I always did in the spring, but I left the hair on his head untouched.  I wanted to see what it would look like to leave those beautiful soft curls on his head.  This was quite a different look for  Cooper.  It was kind of 'punkish'.  The only problem was that this style kind of made him look like Lyle Lovett.  I wanted to see how it would look if it grew out for a couple of months.  This was the kind of 'different' that would set Cooper's looks apart from other dogs as much as his personality did.  He is definitely a unique little guy.  Yet something was still missing.

BLUE!!!  He needed color in his hair so it wouldn't look like a poor attempt at a poodle cut.  I struggled with myself over this idea.  I'm not one that likes foo-foo dogs.  I don't dress him up, though he does have clothes to help him keep warm and dry.  It really is against my nature, but I couldn't help myself.

Cooper seemed to enjoy the attention while I colored his hair tips blue.  The only part he didn't enjoy was the rinsing.  I had to hold him on his back to keep the color off his face.  He didn't like it but learned to relax fairly well, allowing me to rinse it well.

He seemed to understand that there was something different about him.  People would greet him with more excitement and they touched him more.

Jesse rolled his eyes about the blue hair at first.  He couldn't believe I actually did it.  I had expected him to tell me he wanted me to cut it off.  I was prepared for that, which is why I only did the tips of his hair and not his whole head.  Jesse didn't tell me to cut it off, so I had to ask, "What do you think?"


He said, "Well, I don't hate it."

We decided to keep the blue and see what the reactions would be from other people.  If it didn't go over well I would just cut it off.

I posted his Blue-Doo pictures on FaceBook to see what people's reactions would be.  Most comments were great.  People who know Cooper best thought it was very fitting to his personality.  So the Blue-Doo would stay, at least for the summer.  It became long like dreads and appeared to be a very spiky blue mop.  I loved how it looked at the end of the summer last year.  Unfortunately Cooper had a flea issue that got out of hand at the end of last summer.  It caused him to scratch so much that his hair do was all different lengths.  I had to cut it all off to treat his skin and conquer the itches.  

He has a good head start on the Blue-Doo for this year.  The hair on his head is a lot longer than it was for his spring cut last year.  It will only be a matter of weeks now before he gets his hair cut and then only shortly after that I will color it. 
I will post pictures of "Blue-Doo Returns".  Maybe that will be a blog entry.  Before - During and After pictures from Fluffy to Cool!  Great Idea!  Stay tuned! :0)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spokes-Dog for Area Shelters

Sometimes we participate in rides to benefit animal shelters with New England Thunder.  The ladies we ride with in that group are very involved in a number of shelters in our area.  The group will read the wish list posted by what ever shelter we decide to visit.  The wish list is usually on the web site of the shelter.  We will shop for items from that list and load our bikes with all kinds of goods to donate.  We usually need a truck too since some members buy big bags of cat food and kitty litter.  Some members will donate old sheets and big economy packs of paper towels.


We meet in a parking lot so we can go on a scenic ride.  There has to be a scenic ride after all, since we are a motorcycle group.  The ride will end at the chosen shelter at the time they will expect us to come.  Sometimes there is a local news paper reporter there to get our story.  We always have an audience when we arrive.  People come from all over to see the motorcycles as we arrive and park our bikes at the shelter.  Cooper gets a lot of attention. Since he is an animal, he's seen as kind of the spokes person (dog) for the ride.  

We unload our bikes and the accompanying car and usually make a big pile of our donations outside the shelter so we can get a group picture with all the things we donated.  Then we carry all the things in to the shelter and help put them where they belong.  

After everything is put away, we get a tour of the shelter.  This is Cooper's favorite part.  I don't bring him in far enough to make the cats nervous or upset the other dogs.  He just likes all the smells and has no idea of the life lived by these animals.
He gets a lot of attention. He kind of makes the statement of what a dog's life should be rather than to live in a place like that because someone gave up on him.  The shelter folks make things as nice for these homeless pets as they can as they wait for a family to come choose them.


Cooper gets a lot of attention everywhere he goes.  His presence makes a statement every time.  If he could make a statement to advocate for these shelter animals, I would want it to be this...

Love your pets.  Spay and neuter them to reduce overpopulation.  
Seriously consider them a family member, as they consider you 
a member of their family.  Learn how to live together and find ways 
to resolve issues.  Dogs have feelings.  So do cats.  What the 
feeling of love is to us is the feeling of loyalty to them.  Create a 
trusting and stimulating environment.  If you're not sure you'll be able 
to keep a dog for his whole life, don't get a puppy.  It is a 
commitment not to be taken lightly.  It isn't fair to an animal to be 
surrendered to a shelter where their futures are unsure, stale and sad.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Hard Working Boys!


I'm so sad that I don't have the video for this story.
I am going to try my best to find it.  
If I'm able to post it I will make a VERY happy announcement in a future blog.

The newer septic covers are no longer at ground level.  They are buried under ground.  You have to remember your measurements from a fixed object so you can find it again if ever you have the need.

Last time we had to uncover our septic cover, Jesse had dug a hole where he was sure the cover would be.  He wasn't happy to find it wasn't where he thought it would be.  He poked around thinking he must be close to it while Cooper looked on.  I think Cooper thought his was a wonderful new digging game that he was eager to play with his Daddy.  He barked at every shovel-full at first, then he started to spread the pile of dirt Jesse had dug out of the hole.  This would never do!  He was told he had to stop, so he went back to barking.  This game was right up Cooper's alley!  If he couldn't dig he had to bark to help Daddy make the hole bigger and deeper.

When Jesse was about ready to give up and begin digging in a different spot, he decided to let Cooper have a turn in the hole before he filled it in.  Cooper jumped in and flung dirt everywhere!  He was on a mission!  We had to pull him out of the hole a couple of times to scoop the loose dirt out.  Cooper seemed to be after something because he kept digging in the same direction.  

It was time to scoop the loose dirt out again.  Jesse pulled Cooper out of the hole and started shoveling when he hit it!  Cooper had dug straight to the septic cover for Jesse!  This probably saved Jesse at least an hours work since his plan was to move a few feet a way to try again, he could have been there all day.  Needless to say he was thrilled for the work put forth from his little helper.  Cooper was happy to get FILTHY while playing this digging game with his Dad.  How ever you see it, it was great fun to watch.

Cooper had to be carried to the shower that day when he was done with this incredibly fun game.  He was returned to his white color without too much trouble.  He laid down exhausted next to Jesse to take a nap together before dinner that day.  My hard working boys.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Finding The Perfect Water Bottle For Cooper

I've had trouble finding the best drinking solution for Cooper for when we're riding.  I had one thing that was a bottle that had a long cup-like carrier. You lay the bottle on it's side and it clips together for carrying.  To use it you flip the bottle up and squeeze it and the water fills the long thing for the dog to drink from.  This was ok as long as it stayed upright.  As soon as it was on it's side it would leak.










Another device I found was another one that held a bottle.  This style had a small attached bowl at the bottom end.  You put a regular 16 ounce bottle of water with a sport top in the holder.  When you gave the dog a drink, you would hold it with the bowl side down, open the sip top of the bottle and squeeze water into the bowl.  This was fine, but you had to struggle with closing the sip top while the dog tried to drink or the water came out all over the dog's nose. 


After that I resorted to just carrying in a small frisbee for him to drink from.  I would pour the water out of the bottle into the frisbee and he would drink it.  This was fine, but sometimes I wanted to give him a drink while he sat on the bike because maybe the black top was too hot for him to stand on or some reason like that.  It made it a little harder to give him a drink in that case.  Overall it was the easiest way so far since there was no struggling with water splashing all over Cooper's face or leaking into my trunk.  It was the best I could do, until.....

One day last summer, while I was browsing in a store in VT, I came across a stainless steel sport bottle for dogs.  This bottle was a 24 ounce bottle with a lick ball at the opening.  When the dog needs a drink,  you just turn the bottle up side down with the ball facing down and allow the dog to lick the ball for a drink.  This is like the water bottles animals drink from in the pet stores.  It seemed perfect for us, so I bought it.


I know Cooper had never had a drink from a bottle like this before.  I was sure I would have to teach him how to use it.  He wasn't at all interested in figuring it out if it only contained water, so I tried putting chicken broth in it.  This was a bit more enticing but when he licked the ball too hard he got a flood of broth.  This caused him to become more cautious and eventually he lost interest. 

The next time I introduced the bottle to him he was a little interested in it since he remembered the broth.  That was a treat so he wanted to see what was in it this time.  He was nervous about licking it.  This time I had put milk in the bottle which is a thicker liquid.  It would flow a little bit slower, allowing Cooper to enjoy the drink and get used to the bottle.  I hadn't given him much milk the first time, allowing him to finish all and want more.  I gave him seconds and left him wanting more.  I washed the bottle and put it away.  



Some of the things I like about this bottle are:
-The material is stainless steel and BPA free.
-It opens in two ways.  Just the ball, and also the whole top comes off for filling with ice if you want to.
-It's big enough to keep a big supply of water so you don't have to refill often. 

I tend to fill the bottle about a third full of water and freeze it the night before a ride.  This way  Cooper's water is cold for most of the day.  He drinks cold water better than warm.  On days where hydration is so important, I will do about anything to make him want to drink a lot.  It's really easy to become dehydrated on a hot day while riding a motorcycle.  I'll do anything it takes to keep him healthy.  I'm glad I found this bottle.  It really makes life easier for me and Cooper.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Laconia Bike Week

Cooper has been to Laconia Bike Week twice so far.  He doesn't mind the crowds much at all.  He has become so accustomed to busy hustle and bustle on occasion that it's natural for him to walk close to me to avoid being stepped on.


While in Laconia, walking along the vendors can become so congested with people that there really is no where to move.  In this case I carry Cooper so he's safe from that dozens of motorcycle boots coming his way.  You can actually see the relief in this posture when I pick him up.

I usually carry him until I step into a vendor tent.  I put him down when we're inside so he can walk and stretch his legs a little.  Since all the tents are set up outside, I have to make sure he doesn't try to pee on anything.  I have caught him taking the posture as if he was going to lift his leg.  This is one of the downfalls of having a male dog.

He sure gets a lot of attention when he's at a bike show.  I don't get to browse as much as I would like to because people always want to pat him and ask questions about him.  Once they find out he rides, the conversations could go on for ever.  One person hears and joins the discussion, and before you know it Cooper has had his picture taken a dozen times and has performed a multitude of various tricks for his audience.  He loves when people clap for him.

One time I was enjoying a shopping experience in one of the vendor tents.  I didn't have a crowd around me, so Cooper and I were moving slowly between displays from front to back of the tent.  At one point when I was looking at something I might buy, Cooper was standing there looking out into the crowd.  I felt a little tug on Cooper's leash that was tied to my belt loop.  This isn't unusual once he becomes interested in things often and pulls on me (bad habit), but this time was different.  About five seconds after he tugged and I corrected him, I heard a voice coming from the direction of the tug saying, "Look! There's Cooper!"  He must have spotted one of his Aunties before she spotted him.  It was one of the women from our group New England Thunder.  She came to us and we got to talk for a while.  It was a lot of fun bumping into a friend so far from home.  It seems that Cooper has a real knack for finding the people he knows.


Cooper and his Auntie Jess.
The Aunite from Laconia.



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vacation '09 - Our First Night - VT



Reflecting back on our summer vacation of '09 that I have mentioned in past blog entries, I remember our first night was spent in a little old motel in VT.  The motel was due to be torn down in the fall to put up elderly housing.  This is a motel that I would have loved to visit again.  It was a wonderful little motel with simple amenities.  

Each room had it's own balcony.  Cooper really enjoyed our balcony.  We could leave our slider open and allow Cooper to come in and out as he pleased.  There was a chair on the balcony that he liked sitting on to watch out over a brook in the back yard.  He couldn't see much, other than nature, so there was nothing stressful for him to feel like he needed to guard against.  He was very relaxed and content to just sit and watch nature.

We took Cooper on a walk to that brook while we were out walking around the grounds.  We allowed Cooper to be off leash for a while so he could explore.  He really enjoyed the brook a lot.  There were a couple of fallen trees that made a sort of bridge across the brook.  Cooper liked to walk across the little bridge as if he was a cat.  He sniffed and played in the water and got his feet wet.  Since he was only two years old, we didn't really know what he would do with the stream of water.  He had never seen one before.  He seemed to really enjoy that the water was moving.  He was curious and cute in his investigation of his surroundings.  It seemed as though we could have walked away from him and he wouldn't have even noticed.  He was so interested in this moving water and all the things in and around it.

When it came time for us to go back into the motel and relax, Cooper seemed very content to be allowed to look out the window or go out on the balcony.  He didn't seem bored at all.  This motel was as calming for him as it was for us.  If it wasn't for our schedule, we may have wanted to stay another night.
Some day I would like to go by there again and see what they did to the place after we left.  Maybe this summer will allow us to go in that direction again to take a peak. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ridin' 3-Up With Gramma!

Last summer I took my 81 year old mother on a benefit ride on the motorcycle.  I had found a good toy run where participants would all pay $15 per person to join this nice ride.  The proceeds would go to providing gifts to underprivileged children in the area.  The ride was guided through a lot of scenic back roads in our area.  It would end at a hall where they provided a meal, raffles and awards.  

The weather was great for the ride.  It was a little chilly since it was in the fall, but I wouldn't call it cold.  I had my mother wear pajama pants under her jeans.  She wore two layers of warm shirts under my leather jacket.  She wore solid shoes, my leather gloves and a full face helmet.  She was all ready to go.  

Cooper watched while we got ready.  He was all excited to go too.  I had planned to leave him home this time but he and my mother had different plans.  She really wanted him to come so it wasn't long before they wore me down.  She had planned to hold him, but I know from experience, he doesn't like to be held while riding.  My son and I found this out one day.  Cooper couldn't get comfortable while my son held him.  He wiggled and tried to get comfortable the whole time.   Within half an hour we had to stop and put Cooper in front of me where he could stretch out.

So, it took us a few extra minutes for me to make myself ready for Cooper to come with us.  I had to tie a leash tight around my waste to clip him to me.  He can't have room to move while in front of me because if he does, he also has room to fall.  This isn't his favorite way to ride but it was all I could do.  With a sweat shirt and his harness on, Cooper laid across my lap and over the tank in front of me without ability to turn around or move very much at all.  He was going to have to stay put until we got to the staging area for the ride.

We got there safe and sound.  It was a rather small turn out with only about 75 to 100 bikes.  This was a lot to my mother, but I had ridden on benefit rides like this where there are over 500 bikes.  My mother met some of my friends.  She knew one of my friends from when I was in my teens.  He and his wife hung around with us for the day.  

The ride took an hour and a half.  They took us along all the local back roads that my mother and I were very familiar with but which we hadn't traveled much in years.  Cooper would have liked to get more comfortable, but he did his best.  Cooper announced our arrival as he usually did at the end of the ride.  He sat up and barked a lot until we parked the bike.  My mother got a kick out of that.  We had a lot of fun and my mother seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.  She won the trophy for the oldest rider.  She keeps that on her knick-knack shelf in her apartment where everyone who visits can ask her about it.  


When it was time to leave for home, we walked to the bike.  Cooper usually has to pee before getting back on the bike but strangely, this day he trotted directly to the bike.  I didn't think anything of it until he jumped on the bike, got on the back seat, sat down and looked at my mother.  Usually I have to tell him to get on, then he sits on my seat till I'm ready to put his harness on and clip him to the back seat.  This seemed to me a sure sign that he was claiming his seat so my mother wouldn't sit there again.  It was as if he was telling her, "Ok Gramma! It's YOUR TURN to ride on the tank!" 


I was glad it was only going to take about 20 minutes to get home.  He would be fine for a short ride.  I guess I have to design a better way for him to ride in front of me in the event that we have another human passenger again.  It's bound to happen, because Cooper never likes to be left home.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Long Ride - Cooper Wants To Play

When I'm traveling with Cooper, I prepare for the ride according to the weather and distance.  At the end of this blog entry there is a little video clip.  On the back seat of my bike you can see a soft crate for him to travel in. This is how I travel long distances with Cooper. If we're traveling at high speeds for a long time he likes to get out of the wind.  For short distances on the high way or around town, he likes to have the whole back seat.  Since this trip was going to be unpredictable with some lengthy stretches at high speeds we wanted to be prepared.  It worked out really well.

In the video we had just ended our vacation to NY State in '09.  We were two towns away from home.  Jesse and I really didn't want to go home yet.  We were sorry to see our vacation end, so we stopped to talk and have a soda together before we got home where everyone would want to talk to us.  

Cooper had learned to make the most of our stops.  We would clip him to a 15 foot long leash and allow him the freedom to do what he wanted while we relaxed.  He would walk around and pee everywhere.  Then he would sniff his new surroundings and if there was time he would want to play.  We had been here long enough for him to want to play.  

In this video, he really wanted a toy from his riding crate.  He usually barks a lot at what he wants.  This is almost as if making sure it's ok to get it.  He expects to be told "ok" or "no".   In this case, he's allowed to get the toy.  I only wish he wouldn't feel the need to BARK so much! 


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hide n' Seek!






Cooper LOVES to borough.  He has done it since he was very small.  He used to sleep between two pillows on the bed until he got too big to fit between them.  By that time he had discovered the fun of getting under the blankets to play.  He climbs under and begins to bark.  He wants someone to touch the outside of the blanket he is under so he can try to catch your hand.  He barks and grabs at the blanket wherever you touch.  It’s a great game and it never gets old. 

Cooper between the pillows when he was small

It’s always fun to put a toy under the blanket with him too.  He is so funny when he tries to chase the toy, grab the hand touching him and try to move around under the blanket all at the same time.  All the while he’s STILL BARKING!

Trying to make the bed is usually a disaster when he wants to ‘help’.  He especially likes it when I’ve stripped and washed the bedding.  He likes when I make the bed with fresh warm sheets.  I have to insist he get down till I get the sheets on the bed.  He will sit on the floor until I tell him he can get up on the bed.  As soon as he hears the word ‘Ok’, he leaps up on the bed and begins to roll around and growl.  He would be doing this under the sheets if I allowed him on the bed before I was done making it.


Sometimes he will get under a blanket or sweat shirt that is bunched up on the bed.  Usually he will roll around on it first, then under it.  I have been able to get some great pictures of him getting under what ever he can get his nose under.  This has included a pile of freshly folded laundry, jackets, towels, clothes we plan to wear for the day, you name it. 


Because he loves to get inside things so much, and at Andy’s house he stays in the kitchen, Jesse and I got him a sleeping bag to use over there.  It would give him something small to borough in to go to sleep. I was sure he would like it.  The first time he saw it he was all over it.  And when he found out it was like a sack, he was THRILLED to play in it.  He played in it for a long time and still uses it at Andy’s house. 


I keep the small sleeping bag in my car in case he needs something of his own to sleep on or in.  It’s a good place to show him where to lie down and stay if I ever need him to be out of the way.  He will lay on it and stay there without getting off until he’s told he can.  This has come in handy at times.  It’s a good thing Cooper loves his sleeping bag.  It makes things easier for me to keep him most well behaved.




Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cooper's Acting Début

About a month ago, Jesse and I took a course in Accident Scene Management.  This is to teach riders what to do for a fellow rider in the event of a crash.  Women On Wheels® paid for half the cost of the two day course.  It was a great value even without the reimbursement.  The knowledge you come away with is more valuable than many people realize.


Angie not looking too healthy
Cooper came to the second day of the course.  At the end of this day the teachers, Gail and Dave Riley, set up a scenario where there is an accident scene.  The other students taking the course pretend they are in a group ride and come up on the accident.  They have to assess the scene and treat the victims.  Jesse, Cooper and I played victims in the scenario.  Another friend named Angie in the class was a victim also.



Our scenario was that, a woman (me) was walking her dog (Cooper).  A bicyclist (Angie) almost got hit by a car and swerved into the path of the motorcyclist (Jesse).  The motorcycle swerved to miss Angie (who crashed into bushes and was injured) and hit Cooper, seriously injuring him.  I was uninjured, but in emotional shock.  The motorcyclist (Jesse) after hitting Cooper, hit a wall and was seriously injured with multiple injuries.

Jesse and Cooper in stage make-up
We had to do this scene inside because the weather outside was terrible.  We had to pretend to have a motorcycle, and we had a real bicycle.  Jesse, Cooper and Angie all had to wear make-up.  I was supposed to be sweating from going into shock.  Cooper was to lay across my lap unconscious.  The scene would play out for 15 minutes. I wasn’t sure what Cooper was going to do when all the other people came up to evaluate and treat us for injuries.  Once they started working on me he may have wanted to see what they were doing.  I told him to ‘stay’ whenever he moved during our practice time.  He did fine, but the real test was about to play out.

Cooper acting injured
The other members came upstairs and around the corner.  They saw Jesse , me and Cooper first.  Angie was around the corner hidden from view.  Cooper started to pay a little attention to the familiar people but I gave him a quiet command to be still.  He was awesome!  He laid across my lap the whole time.  I complained of shock symptoms and was covered with a blanket.  The blanket was put right over Cooper and he didn’t move.   When they raised my legs, he just rolled with my moving legs and remained motionless.  It was unbelievable to see him do exactly as I asked with all that commotion. 
  


Getting his patches
Cooper with his patches






















At the end of the 15 minutes, we all regrouped and went down stairs to the classroom again.  We talked about all we experienced and were given our patches for the course.  Cooper was given patches too for his participation.  He really was something else.  He didn’t care that I put fake blood all over him and around one side of his mouth.  Nothing bothered him.  We can just add this to his collection of fun stories to tell.

Gail and Dave Riley with Cooper



Friday, March 18, 2011

Hangin' With Uncle Howie

In the summer of 2009 Jesse and I went on our summer vacation to NY State on our motorcycles to visit friends and family.  We were gone for nine days total.  We took Cooper, of course, and had a WONDERFUL trip.  The trip was our only vacation for the year.  We didn’t want to have any agenda to follow.  All we were sure of was that we were going to visit Jesse’s daughters and grand children and we wanted to visit a few friends.  Other than that we were free to ride, sleep where we wanted to for the night and go when we felt like it.  Mostly we were just going to be away from home and be on our bikes for the whole week.  What a great week it was!

The day Howie meets his nephew Cooper
We got to see everyone we wanted to see and we had BEAUTIFUL weather the whole time.  The one storm we encountered was a doozie!  We had to try to beat it to our destination before the storm got there.  We had been hanging around with our friend Howard, who was a passenger on Jesse’s bike.  We were on the way to Howard’s girlfriend’s house when the skies began to darken.  We were riding right into the storm with our fingers crossed.  There was thunder and lightening ahead of us and the wind was really picking up a lot.  I thought we were going to really get wet.  None of us had rain gear on, so if the skies opened up we were defenseless.


In this video, you can see lightening in the distance just above Jesse and Howard’s heads to the left and right of them at about 4 seconds into the video.  As we rode a bit longer you can see the skies darken and wind pick up a little.  The storm was coming in really fast.  I thought we were going to really get it.

Howard was trying to give directions from the back of Jesse’s bike.  When we got to the apartment complex, Jesse missed the driveway to the complex, so Howard pointed around the side of the building.  Jesse cut off onto the lawn with a bounce that threw Howard four inches off the seat.  I followed (good thing for Cooper’s harness) and we cut across the lawn and around the house.

We came into the driveway from the other side.  When Howard’s girlfriend saw us arrive she was ready to throw two garage doors up for Jesse and me to each pull inside.  We parked the bikes and ran to the house.  Branches were being blown off trees with the heavy winds.  Just as we got inside the door of the house the rain came crashing down in huge abundant drops.  It couldn’t have missed us by any less without one of us getting wet.  Not a single drop fell on us.  The volume of the rain was incredible!  The thunder and lightening was quite a show for us to watch from the safety of the apartment window.  Cooper watched out the window too.  I can’t help but wonder what he might have thought of all that rain.  Did he realize we were almost caught in that?  Would he have cared? 


We stayed for a nice visit until the storm ended.  Only a short time passed when the sun had dried the ground, allowing us to give Howard a ride home.  We enjoyed a cookout on the grill at Howard’s house.  We stayed until about 10 PM and then rode back to our motel a few miles away.  We entered the comfort of our home away from home and started talking about what we wanted to do tomorrow.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Quandary

As brave and inquisitive as Cooper usually is, he’s really quite a ‘chicken’ at heart.  He is cautious and untrusting sometimes.  I’m there much of the time, but while I’m at work Cooper stays home with my brother, David.  They play and hang out.  Cooper has it good.  He is seldom left home alone.


Over the past couple of months Cooper has been trying to become acquainted with David’s bird Sam.  Sam has the freedom to fly around David’s room most of the time.  Cooper is allowed to be with Sam during the day whenever they are in the room.  David told me that Sam trusts Cooper more than Cooper trusts Sam.  David has been trying to get Cooper to allow Sam to touch him and though Cooper seems to really want to play, he doesn’t trust Sam enough to get that close yet. 


The unfortunate thing is that I could get Cooper to allow Sam close to him, but Sam won’t come near when I’m there because Sam doesn’t trust me.  So, we are in a quandary.  Cooper needs me to help to learn to allow and be more comfortable with Sam.  Sam won’t come close if I’m near Cooper.  Cooper doesn’t trust David enough to feel comfortable and trusting of his coaxing and encouraging.


So here we are, stuck in our quandary.  Cooper and Sam get about eight inches from each other on their own.  Sam wants to preen Cooper but Cooper doesn’t understand that behavior.  I have a feeling I’ll know the moment they make contact.  David has been working so hard to get them to touch that I think he’ll call me as soon as it happens.  I don’t know who will be more excited about it, Cooper, Sam or David.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Loves To Be The Baby

I've been thinking since Monday's post. People sometimes think I encourage Cooper to act more like a person or a baby than is natural for a dog. I find my self trying to defend myself in saying things like, 'he likes it', or 'that's what he wanted'. Sometimes he does things people would never believe until they saw it with their own eyes. Here are some of the things I can tell you about. As I remember things, I'm going to try to find some pictures to prove that it isn't me that's crazy.

Here goes...

When babies visit, Cooper smells them right away. He watches over them very closely. He becomes very attentive when the baby is upset. He also likes to lay where they have been. This includes a baby seat, car seat, blanket on the floor, between pillows on the bed, anywhere you lift a baby from, Cooper then goes to take that baby's place. For example, my niece came over with her daughter and put her in a bouncy seat. When we lifted the baby from the bouncy seat, Cooper immediately climbed in. He likes to lay where the baby was. He waited, watching us to tell him when we were putting the baby back in the seat. He was so cute with his head down just looking at us.









Another day, only a few months ago, I was playing with my little grand son Benjamin. I have a huge Vera Bradley bag I use for work. When I get home from work I put all my stuff away which leaves the bag big and empty. I put Benjamin in the bag and let him play in it, then I used it like a swing for him. He really enjoyed it a lot. When Benjamin had lost interest in the bag we moved on to something else. Cooper climbed in the bag and laid down. And what's even funnier is, now when Cooper and I go to Andy's house and I take my stuff out of the bag there, Cooper climbs in. Sometimes he just stands in it waiting for me to finish making room in it for him. So cute!



























In the summer, my grand children sometimes come for the day and we take the baby pool out. Cooper is almost always the first one in the water. He loves it when 'the kids' (including him) get to play in the water. He plays so well with the kids too. He isn't really pushy. If the kids reach for a toy he wanted to get, he watches and waits for them to be done with it before he goes for it.

































One day I had propped one of the babies in my big round chair. Cooper thought there would be enough room for them both, but I wouldn't allow him to sit there with the baby. He's heavy after a little while and I didn't want him laying on the baby at all. When I took the baby to change his diaper, and before I could put the baby back in the chair, Cooper was sleeping in it.


So you see? These stories are just a quick collection of some of his silliness. If all the stories weren't of Cooper trying to be closer to one of the babies, people would see these pictures and think I'm pretending he's a child.

Nope... I don't think Cooper is a child. I'm fairly convinced he may think he is though.