I first met Copper at my partner’s and my first date. Of course I noticed the dog first, and thought he was just about the cutest thing I’d ever seen. It was only several seconds later that I remembered that the guy on the other end of the leash was the one I was supposed to be meeting that day!
Copper’s history is largely unknown, except that he was adopted by a woman who then gave him to her brother, who then lived with my partner and eventually gave Copper to him. By the time I met him, he was about 2 years old. Whatever experiences he had as a puppy and young adult dog, they had mostly taught him to fear everything. The list of things Copper was afraid of when we first met included (but is not limited to):
* ceiling fans
* floor fans
* cardboard boxes
* wires and cords
* anyone who wasn’t white (yeah, he was a racist)
* being touched on both sides of his body at the same time
* being touched on his feet
* being held and/or restrained
* unusual noises
* and of course, anything new
Despite his irrational fear of all things benign, he has always been an incredibly sweet and friendly dog. He wants to be friends with everything: other dogs, cats, birds, even little lizards that he finds outside–not a malicious or predatory bone in his body.
Over time, after desensitizing him to everything in his environment and providing him with a lot of reinforcement and confidence-building opportunities, he has become a much bolder, more affectionate, calmer dog. I can trim his nails, clean his ears, and brush his teeth. We can pick him up, restrain him, and give him bear hugs. But best of all, he’s just a happy dog, all the time. We couldn’t ask for a sweeter, cuter, smarter, funnier, cuddlier canine companion!