After suffering a personal tragedy, Trish Bauer couldn’t sleep. She spent many nights awake scrolling on social media to distract herself — and that’s how she first saw Cooper.
“One night, I was on Instagram, and a reel with these words stopped me in my tracks: ‘Tomorrow I die on this cold cement ground all alone,’ and then a picture of a dog came over the video,’” Bauer told The Dodo. “The moment my lost eyes saw his in the video, I knew he couldn’t die like this. His eyes looked like mine. Defeated with life.”
Bauer and her family frequently fostered kittens, but she was scared of dogs. Still, something inside prompted her to comment on the post and offer to foster Cooper — then named Wilbur — if needs be. She didn’t expect anything to come from it.
“I never expected to wake up a few hours later to a notification on my Instagram that he was being put down within 30 minutes and no one was coming to get him,” Bauer said. “Without thinking, I jumped up, woke up my daughter, grabbed a cat leash since it’s all we had and got into the truck to go pick up a random dog I saw on Instagram with the same lost eyes I had.”
As Bauer waited with her daughter to meet Cooper, she was terrified. Then she and Cooper locked eyes.
“This skinny, handsome boy came running out and right into my daughter’s arms,” Bauer said. “His eyes met mine, and [it was] as if he felt the same thing from my eyes as I did his. He knew he wasn’t going to die today.”
Bauer and her family were only planning on fostering Cooper through Furrytail Endings temporarily — and then they found out he had cancer.
“We took him to the vet we bring all of our rescue kittens to, and boy, was he shocked to see us walk in with a huge German Shepard,” Bauer said. “He quickly showed concern for what we thought was an abscess [on] his neck … He knew it was cancer.”
The vet told the family that Cooper needed surgery as soon as possible, but life hadn’t been kind to the 12-year-old dog. He was skinny and weak and needed to be much healthier before the surgery could happen. His new family wasn’t worried, though. They were up for the challenge.
“Our daughter Lilly is a cancer survivor, too, and what are the chances this dog with cancer would find us, a family who would do anything to save him, cancer or not? That’s fate,” Bauer said.
Bauer and her family focused on helping Cooper get healthy again and showed him all the love he’d never known before. Cooper transformed before their eyes, shocking everyone by being ready for surgery in just a few weeks.
“Being the miracle boy he is, he didn’t just survive the tumor removal surgery and having half of his neck opened to get to it, but he came running down the hall to meet us after surgery with a look in his eyes I’d never seen before,” Bauer said. “Home. He had home in his eyes.”
It wasn’t long after the surgery that Cooper’s family got the call. He was officially cancer free. After everything they’d been through together in such a short amount of time, they knew there was no way they could ever let Cooper go. He was meant to find his way to them, and so they officially adopted him into their family.
Now, Cooper is absolutely thriving. He loves being a part of his family and even helps them foster kittens from time to time. He acts as if he’s been there all along, and it kind of feels like he has.
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