Cooper, an American foxhound, possesses a distinctive characteristic that sets him apart from other dogs. He is among the few canines worldwide living with short spine syndrome.
Short spine syndrome is a genetic condition characterized by severe compression or even fusion of the vertebrae. The condition is believed to be a result of inbreeding.
In 2017, a puppy, just two months old at the time, was discovered abandoned near Halifax, Virginia. Animal control took charge of the situation, and the dog found refuge under the care of Secondhand Hounds, a shelter located in Minnesota.
Elly and Andy Keegan generously offered to foster Cooper. Despite the challenges he faced with mobility, the Keegans devoted their efforts to enhancing his quality of life.
Upon Cooper’s arrival at the Keegans’ home, he unfortunately fell and suffered multiple fractures in his neck. However, this setback didn’t diminish Cooper’s spirits. Additionally, he later endured a bone infection, but remarkably, he continued to maintain a positive outlook.
Elly shared with Fox News, “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.” Despite these hurdles, the Keegans remained dedicated to improving Cooper’s well-being.
Having cared for Cooper for six months, the Keegans made the decision to put him up for adoption. Elly was confident that the “happiest dog” would attract numerous applications.
Surprisingly, despite expectations, there were no takers for Cooper initially. Elly expressed her feelings to The Dodo, saying, “Nobody wanted to adopt Cooper. 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.'”
Ultimately, faced with the prospect of parting with him, the Keegans resolved to adopt Cooper themselves.
Despite initial struggles and occasional setbacks, Cooper is embracing life to the fullest and making a positive impact on his new forever home.
Elly shared, “With our other rescues, there was no getting-to-know you period. It was a family from the beginning.” Cooper’s resilience and joyful spirit have not only transformed his own life but have also enriched the lives of his adoptive family.
Elly expressed her sadness about the unfortunate fate of many dogs with conditions similar to Cooper’s, noting that they are often euthanized. She shared with 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.” Cooper’s story stands as a testament to the resilience and joy that dogs with unique challenges can bring to a loving home.