Testimony from Susan Pontius, DVM, Cooper's mom:
I have to tell everyone about ACES Cooper. We have had 5 English Setters including ACES Jack our newest addition. Of the 3 setters we raised from puppyhood and Cooper, the absolutely best dog of the group was Cooper. We only owned him for 5 1/2 years, adopting at age estimated at 7-8 years and losing him to heart failure at age 12-13.
Still that wonderful dog was the best canine companion anyone could ever ask for.
Cooper moved into our family as easily as could be. He was gentle and reserved and SO appreciative of everything, especially attention. He had lived with a great foster mom for 6 months prior to adoption and had been diagnosed with an enlarged heart, and he had some nasty hip arthritis. So he moved in already housebroken, not destructive, and eager to please all of the people and the other dogs in the family.
When a dog has had some bad living experiences, they seem to appreciate everything good that is bestowed on them in a "real" home.
Cooper loved being a bird dog- he had been someone's hunting dog as he knew all the commands. He spent many hours in the yard pointing squirrels and birds, and when it was cold weather you could see him standing in the dog door with just just with his head out pointing critters! He did everything he could to try to please everyone in his family. He settled in so fast and became the "favorite" without even trying. He was SO EASY to include in the family.
As Cooper aged he just became more lovable. Unfortunately his heart disease was progressing despite the medications. He continued his visits to Ohio State Vet. Hospital cardiology department to monitor his progress and we think his excellent care gave him many more months of quality life. Even his last week included time in the field, trotting instead of running, but tail held high and doing all the things he loved. When he could not be "Cooper" anymore, and his gallant heart was too tired, he went gently to sleep at home in his bed.
The loss of dear Cooper has been so difficult for us. We couldn't bear the thought of another loss soon after losing our old Cricket last spring and Cooper this winter. I don't want to discourage someone from adopting the older dogs because of the heartache of losing them. That happens eventually with all of them and cannot be avoided. The love they give and the fun they provide makes up for the sorrow at the end. Now with our young and boisterous Jack (Jackson), it has become all the more apparent how easy it was to adopt Cooper.
We are realizing again that there is so much work put into training the youngsters that the older dogs already have behind them. Jack will be a wonderful member of the family but he is a work in progress.
Cooper moved in and found his place with such ease. The old guys are so easy to love! We will adopt another old setter again- when the tears stop and the broken hearts heal. In the meantime, we have Jackson to love and cuddle and laugh with- he has a GREAT doggy sense of humor!