A great many words about my dog, Cooper
I found out a few days ago exactly what breed my dog is. His prior owners thought Doberman/terrier, we thought Australian terrier. Someone who knows better told me that he is, in fact, a Jagdterrier. Created between WWI and WWII by a German eugenecist/biologist interested in a new breed to compete with English hunting terriers, they rose to prominence in the lead-up to WWII, and their popularity was greatly bolstered by growing nationalism and their perception as a truly "German" breed.
They are real good at killing, and at tracking blood. Nearly as good as bloodhounds at the latter. Mine is mostly good at hiding under blankets when it gets too cold, and climbing the back of the sofa to lay his head against my neck. He can track mud perfectly, not sure about a scent.
Things haven't been great.
We took him to the Humane Society on saturday - by "we", I mean myself and my pseudo-mother-in-law. She's the only one I know in Portland right now with a car. He was not too happy about it.
I was hoping they might be able to take him in - I'd been talking with them on the phone for a week or so about what the best course of action is with him, and if they would be able to find him a home. They told me to come in for a Behavioral Assessment, which consists of the following: testing interactions with humans in a variety of situations; testing interactions with dogs in a variety of situations; complete physical; assessing level of training/trainability.
He did real well with the humans, physical, and training. I never had any doubts that he would - always been a people puppy, quite a bit on the overloving side if I'm being honest.
They brought a dog in (their calmest, I was told). Cooper barked the dog into a corner, at which point they replaced the real dog with a toy dog that looked like him. Cooper broke out of his harness, and within seconds had bitten the head off of this toy dog.
So I've been told, at least - I was in the waiting room, talking with Jen about what it is to be young and fairly apolitical in Portland.
They brought Cooper back to me, and I was told by the head trainer that they didn't feel safe housing him. She said that she didn't know of any rescues that would take him, but she would send out some emails anyway. She said my best option was to find friends or family nearby to take him, both of which are in fairly short supply for me in these parts. Other than that, she said my best bet was finding an individual owner, and... trailed off.
I broke down a bit. I just kind of sat in the lobby, crying a bit and hugging Cooper until another dog came, and I felt like I should go.
He ate a whole lot of treats that night - the very best that the local-ish Walgreens carried. There was some song playing above me about how "I would do anything for my baby"; I got him a squeaky toy too, and booked it before the soundtrack had a chance to get even more on the nose.
The heating is shit in this house, and because my beau is out east for a funeral, Coop's my heating pad at the moment. I watched 8 hours of stand up specials, and knit a cowl (pictured below). We fell asleep on the couch.
Same thing the next day, sans cowl.
Cut to Monday. I get a text from a man an hour or so north of me, followed by half a dozen pictures of: A. terriers and B. Nutria (of the dead persuasion). He's spent the last 17 years rescuing terriers (and other hunting/working dogs), training them, and finding homes for them on farms / rural areas. He was contacted by the trainer at the Humane Society, who has evidently been working like crazy to find a home to take Coop. This is the man who told me what kind of dog Cooper is, and that he would be willing to take him in if I want him to.
We talked on the phone for a while - I made Cooper sit in the other room because I'm a crazy person and haven't had much sleep.
I'm giving Cooper to him this coming Tuesday. He'll be living in a house with 2 other dogs, and he'll go out hunting every weekend. This guy lives on a couple acre property where Cooper can just run free and eat mice and shit all day if he wants to. He'll probably stay there a few months till he's been trained to behave with other dogs, and then he'll go to a suitable home where he can do some sort of work.
It's perfect for him, and I'm sad. This dog has brought me a whole lot of joy, and I've learned a lot from him. But he shouldn't be 36 pounds, and sleeping on a couch all day. He shouldn't be inside 95% of the day because I'm afraid of another dog attacking him (or, more probably, of him attacking another dog). he shouldn't have to hear little critters on the other side of the wall all day unless there's a chance he can chase them down. I've been looking for a home like this for him since about a month after we got him, and it looks like he'll finally be somewhere he can do what he was made to do.
I can't stop thinking about blood. About how the fuck a type of dog bred for hunting by Nazis ended up in Oregon, and how now I've been feeding him CBD biscuits twice a day so he doesn't jump over the fence and kill my landlord's chickens. I feel an abiding sadness for dogs who have been bred past the point of being able to fend for themselves, but this is the first time I've cared for a dog who is probably much better equipped to live alone than I am.
May he find work, and a lasting home. Hell, may we all.
EDIT: I was teaching the kids how to say "I love you" in spanish, and then "I love you forever". A kid asked what forever means, I told them. They asked "where does the love go when you die?" and I couldn't think of an answer. The best I could come up with is "you take it with you", but then they asked "where?". I told them to ask their parents.