This morning I woke up, knowing that today marks 3 weeks since Cooper went missing.
Over the past week I've been rationalizing with myself that I will probably never see him again. Last Tuesday, which marked 2 weeks missing, I started trying to accept the fact that someone had most likely taken him in and made him a part of their family and was with someone who would give him as much love and care as I would.
Even though I was trying to rationalize this concept with myself, and accept the fact that he was gone, I still help on to the hope that I'd bring him home soon -- an overwhelming hope at times.
While I was at work this afternoon, my cell phone rang. When I answered it, a woman asked "Vanessa?"
"This is she"
"I think I have Cooper in my yard"
As soon as I got her address I flew out of work at went straight to her house.
Yes, it is Cooper. He is back at home, and doing fairly well considering he'd been missing for 3 weeks.
So, heres the story about how he was found.
The woman who found him, Zinny, had seen the flyers I'd put up throughout the neighborhood - there was one right in front of her house. Since she'd seen the flyer everyday, she knew what he looked like and his name.
This afternoon as she's in her kitchen, she hears a big commotion with the chickens in her backyard. Thinking that they were maybe laying eggs, she peeks out and sees Cooper chasing her chickens. Thinking that he looked like the dog on the flyer in front of her house, she called out "Cooper! Stop!" and he came running right up to her.
She thought he resembled the dog on the flyer, aside from him currently being in desperate need of a haircut, so she walked outside to the flyer to get my phone number and call me.
There is one thing that disturbed me about the condition he was in when I picked him up, that he's still in now. He has lost a considerable amount of weight - I would estimate he's lost about 3 lbs, and with how small he is thats quite a bit. I can feel his spine, and its really obvious when I bathe him. When he's dry, his fluffiness hides how thin he currently is.
Also, someone definitely had taken him in. His collar was off and in its place was a metal link collar that had practically been BOLTED on him.
Its hard to tell in the photo, but that is basically an eye hook type closure that had been twisted shut. Here I've highlighted the closure:
A side-by-side comparison
I had to hold him while a friend took a pair of pliers to the closure in order to get it off of him. Between the weightloss, and the fact that he was fairly skittish when I tried to put his leash on him (COMPLETELY out of the norm for him usual behavior), and skittish while we were trying to get that nasty collar off of him, I have to wonder what happened to him while he was missing... who the hell had him and what on earth did they do to him?
When I brought him home this afternoon, the first thing I did was reunite him and Sam. Sam is ecstatic to have him home!
The second thing I did was call our vet and reschedule his appointment to be neutered and microchipped for this Friday.
After that, I gave him a MUCH needed bath. He still needs to get to the groomers, though. He has a considerable amount of matts and dreadlocks going on right now.
Then, he got a heroes welcome down at the pub. I had texted a few friends to let them know that he'd been found and they wanted to see it to believe it. He got lots of love, got the nasty collar removed, and had bar sausages bought for him.
When I got home tonight, I ordered a Together Tag for him ( www.togethertag.com ).
Currently, he is full of good food, snacks, and treats, and he and Sam are sleeping at my feet.
OH, and the big question...
I don't know exactly where he'd been for the past 3 weeks, but the woman who called me lives behind my next door neighbor.