For a week I thought I was simply dog sitting Coco, the 7-week-old toy poodle puppy. Little did I know that this pup, later named Cooper, who brought so much joy to my sister and I, would soon become a member of our family.
It was a warm summer day on July 10, 2016. My cousins and I were swimming in my pool, chatting and listening to country music, when my mom told me, “Hey Mal, my friend needs someone to watch her new puppy while she’s on vacation. You interested?” I immediately responded “Yes!” because I’ve always loved playing with dogs, especially puppies. My mom then told me that we have to leave right now to pick up the dog if I wanted to watch him. I was so eager to pick him up that I quickly threw a t-shirt over my wet swimsuit and hopped in the car.
Although the car ride over to pick up the dog lasted less than 20 mins, it felt more like an hour. The whole car ride I annoyed my mom with questions about Coco, excited to meet the puppy I would be taking care of for the next week. When we arrived at the house, we were given dog food, a couple of dog toys, and a kennel so small that, for a second, I doubted a puppy could even fit in it. Then I saw him. In the corner, sat a little ball of light brown fur. Hard to distinguish between a real dog and a stuffed animal, the puppy slowly and cautiously approached me. His wet nose sniffed my hand and he let out a small bark, almost as if he was greeting me. His big, brown puppy dog eyes looked up at me, while I stroked his soft, fluffy fur. I could not wait to take him home so that the rest of my family could meet him.
The whole car ride home, the dog slept peacefully on me. His tiny body, less than a foot long and weighing barely two pounds, lay on me, warming only a small portion of my legs. As I told my mom that I want a dog just like him, a small thought crossed my mind that maybe he would become my dog permanently. I had wanted a dog for the past 16 years of my life, and I thought that maybe, just maybe, there was a small chance that he would become part of my family.
Although the next few days were very enjoyable, they were a bit rough. I realized how much responsibility taking care of a new puppy required. From spoon feeding him smelly, mushy dog food, to cleaning up all of his dime-sized accidents, Coco had to be supervised and taken care of constantly. After a week of constant care over the small, playful toy poodle, I knew that I had to give him back to his owner.
I sat with the now 8-week-old puppy, in my backyard on a lounge chair. I felt a cool breeze in the air and the smell of chlorine filled my backyard. I pet the little puppy as he relaxed on my legs and shivered every time a gentle wind passed by. I thought about what it would be like if we somehow kept him. At that moment my parents came outside singing “Happy Birthday”. They told me that Coco was my early birthday present and that they were testing me to see if I could take on the responsibility of a dog. I was overjoyed that Coco was now mine, and I decided to rename him Cooper.
Cooper has become a valued member of my family and I could not imagine my life without him. Ever since he came to my house, I have had an obligation to take care of him, making me much more responsible. Although he can still be a lot of work, taking care of that little ball of brown fur is worth the responsibility.