We’d like to introduce you Cooper, a black and white, 95 lb goofball who you may have seen periodically on our Instagram or featured throughout our website. His dog-mom, Heather, shares what a good boy Cooper is!
Cooper is a loveable, never-stops-shedding Bernese Mountain Dog mixed with an Akita - which we have dubbed the “Berkita Mountain Dog.”
He redefines the phrase, "his bark is worse than his bite." Our neighbors are still nervous about this lovable giant, who’s bark sounds like it weighs 95 lbs, but he is indeed a sweetheart."
He does have a territorial streak (thanks to his Akita heritage) and tends to be the first to alert us to when someone is at the door.
We took a chance when we adopted Cooper. We had no plans at the time to adopt a dog, and we certainly had no idea how big he was going to be but in an instant, our lives were forever changed.
What was Cooper like as a puppy?
Cooper was born December 12, 2012. He was surrendered at a local pet store because the breeder could not determine who his father was!
His mom, an AKC registered Bernese Mountain Dog escaped her kennel, and when they found her, she was pregnant with little Cooper. After narrowing down the choices in the neighborhood and a doggie paternity test, we discovered his father was an Akita.
That day, we weren't looking to adopt or rescue a dog. We had visited our local pet store that day because we liked to play with their animals, to show them lots of love and attention. That particular day, we saw this adorable, black and white puppy just hanging out in the tiny, compact kennels and asked if we could play with him in their play area. He was much larger than most of the other puppies they had and he looked like he could use a good snuggle.
As a puppy, Cooper’s fur was soft like rabbit fur, and he was unlike any other breed of dog we had ever seen. He was simply unique and just so friendly.
The store owner chatted with us about how Cooper came to be with them. He was not a registered breed, because he was a bit of a "surprise." The breeder wouldn't be able to sell him for a profit, because his parentage couldn't be verified at the time, so the breeder made an arrangement with the pet store to rehome him for the simple cost to cover his vet bills. And sadly, if the pet store couldn't find a forever home for him, his next stop would be a rescue group, or worse, the city shelter.
We couldn't believe that he was surrendered at the pet store but we're so thankful he didn't end up in a shelter or worse. When the store owner told us his story, both our fates were sealed.
As a puppy, Cooper always had his mouth open looking for something to bite or eat. It was a real challenge walking him outside because any rock or stick was fair game. When he was almost a year old, he ate an entire stick which he had somehow smuggled into his kennel one evening after a walk. We only found pieces of it the next morning, and he was not feeling well. We rushed him to the emergency vet in our town, and they put him on a bland, chicken and rice diet for several weeks until his tummy could heal. We learned we had to be extremely watchful and supervise him closely so he didn't accidentally ingest something that could hurt him.
We call Cooper our “problem child,” but really he's just been so curious that he sometimes got into a little bit of trouble. He’s eaten a peach pit from the garbage, which we discovered because his entire face swelled up like he had been stung by a wasp on one side of his face. He was put on steroid treatments and healed. Since then, we've purchased a trash can with a locking lid, and no longer eat peaches at home!
Cooper was super attached to this soft, banana squeak toy for almost a year before he inevitably tore the stuffing out of it.
We were pretty amazed at how gentle he was with it, especially considering he carried this banana around the house.
We started to call the banana toy “his baby,” because he very gingerly would pick it up and move it from room to room as he explored during the day.
Our general surprise was mostly from him being this massive dog who would destroy just about any soft toy in a matter of minutes. We quickly learned to not leave him unattended with a soft toy for long. His toys are the super bulky and tough Kong brand toys.
We're now on Banana #3, which isn't bad considering Cooper is almost six years old now.
Favorite past time
Cooper loves to be outside, running and exploring. We'll take him out to the country, where he will trail the fence line barking and sniff at horses in the pasture. He loves to roll around on the ground to scratch his back.
Since Cooper is getting a bit older, he has calmed down quite a bit. But we would laugh nearly every time we came home and saw him waiting at the gate because he would jump about five feet straight up in the air. The joke in our family is it doesn’t matter how high or short our fence line is - Cooper will not cross it. He can jump unusually high but with no forward momentum!
We've learned so much having Cooper in our family, and our family has adapted to having a big dog. We have a 17-month-old son, which was an incredible transition for Cooper, who had never seen a baby before in his life. Cooper is BFFs with Jack now and plays so gently (much more gently than even the banana!). We wouldn't change that day at the pet store for anything in the world.
Say Hello to Cooper!
Show Cooper some love and raise a paw on our Instagram! We’d love to hear from you and please tag us in your pet photos. We’re animal people here at Arrowhead, and a doggo or fur-baby brightens up our day! @arrowheadanimalhealth