Cooper, an American foxhound, possesses a remarkable distinction. He stands as one of the rare dogs worldwide who grapple with the challenges of short spine syndrome.
Short spine syndrome, a genetic ailment characterized by significant vertebral compression, sometimes resulting in fusion, is thought to stem from a history of inbreeding.
In the year 2017, a tiny, two-month-old puppy was discovered abandoned in the vicinity of Halifax, Virginia. The local animal control authorities took charge of the pup, subsequently entrusting his care to Secondhand Hounds, a shelter located in Minnesota.
Elly and Andy Keegan made the compassionate decision to provide foster care for Cooper. Despite the challenges he faced in terms of mobility, they dedicated themselves to working tirelessly to enhance his overall quality of life.
Upon his initial arrival at the Keegan’s residence, Cooper encountered a misfortune when he suffered a fall that resulted in multiple fractures to his neck. Remarkably, this setback did not diminish Cooper’s indomitable spirit. Furthermore, a few months later, he faced yet another challenge in the form of a bone infection, which he bravely battled through.
“He also had a surgery which helps him go to the bathroom a little better, which means he’s quite low maintenance now and can go by himself,” Elly told Fox News.
After nurturing and caring for Cooper for a span of six months, the Keegans made the heartfelt decision to put him up for adoption. Elly was confident that this “happiest dog” would attract numerous adoption applications.
“Nobody wanted to adopt Cooper,” she told The Dodo. “And then we got an applicant. I think I broke down every other hour. I was like, ‘Andy, I don’t know what we’re going to do!’ I couldn’t imagine just handing him over and saying, ‘Ok, now be Cooper’s family.’”
In the end, the Keegans chose to welcome Cooper into their own family and decided to adopt him themselves.
Despite the initial challenges he faced and the occasional hiccups along the way, Cooper is now living life to the fullest and bringing joy to his new forever home, where he is also inspiring his family to do the same.
“With our other rescues, there was no getting-to-know you period,” Elly said. “It was a family from the beginning.”
“Many dogs with conditions like Cooper’s are euthanized which makes me so, so sad,” she told Fox News. “They have so much living to do and Cooper is a real example of that. He has a happy, normal little life now and is a key member of our family.”
If you can’t get enough of this endearing pooch, Cooper, who is “short on spine, big on love,” you can follow his adventures on his Facebook page. Don’t forget to share this article with your friends to spread the love!