I had a space of my own at the happy family's house. It was big and spacious, just like Mother Mary's, but it was different.
There was a crate, but it was all mine. I had chewy bones to gnaw on as the insides of my mouth began to poke at me. I had a box full of old newspaper woodchips. This was for me to use as a potty in case I couldn't make it, though I preferred digging holes in it. I was happy to be visiting them and decided to look at it as an adventure. No self-respecting spaniel would be caught moping.
But before I got to explore further, we spent time outside.
The new lady called Mom picked me up and put me down. At first, it was a struggle just to move. How did one go about using their back legs? We dogs had too many. I moved forward, back legs in the air, and swung them close to me.
"He doesn't even know how to use his feet," Morgan pointed out.
"He's hopping like a bunny," said the older lady.
What was a bunny and why was I acting like one? I could wrestle my siblings, roll around, and stand up nicely. But walking was so hard. I swung my back legs forward again, forming a kind of hop.
There were also traditions to adjust to. Let me consult my doggy notebook. I call this one the Cooper Routine.
Sometimes I was on my own for a while. Everyone would go outside and not come back for a very long time. I wasn't used to this. I would sit in my crate, chewing my bones. Then a while later, somebody would come back and let me out. Usually they would be carrying a bag, and they would be very happy to see me. I'd jump on them and they'd pet me. This was very lovely. I could finally get the attention I deserved.
One thing that we got a lot of at the new house was playtime. At Mother Mary's, I could wrestle with my siblings, but we just weren't big enough to do too much yet.
Digging in my litter box was amazing. I never knew what could be under there.
"You must be digging a hole to China," the new lady called Mom said. I didn't know what China was, but I dug harder and faster, determined to find out!
I had wonderful toys, too. My "bobos" were long wiener dogs filled with fluff. One of my people would grab one end and I would grab the other with my mouth. Then we'd try to get it back from the other. I was such a small puppy and won every time. Humans are so weak compared to spaniels that it's almost comical.
Supper was so great! I had a dish of my own and whenever it got dark, it was time to eat! The man of the house always fed me. I didn't eat oatmeal; at the happy family's house I ate brown dots. I made sure to savor each bite as I ate it. If Mommy Sophie taught me anything; it was that you couldn't be sure when food was coming again. I stared at my family members if they got close, just to be sure. My food was mine. They had all those yummy treats that smelled so good that the least they could do was let me have my own food. But I knew one thing for sure. When the male, called Dad, walked into the house when it got dark out, that usually meant supper. I did my best happy puppy dance in preparation for my feast.
But even that was confusing. They would look at me and say, "It's Daylight Savings, Cooper. It's not time yet." Or, "It's not time yet, Cooper. It only seems darker because it's raining out." Who were they kidding? Did they want to disrupt a dog's routine? I was pretty sure I knew when supper was, and that was when it got dark.
But Mommy Sophie had taught me best: you never know when anyone would be feeding you. I had to honor Mommy by carrying on her words.
I learned I could get more food morsels by licking the plates in the dishwasher after my people ate. We did this every night. I could also grab a sandwich if it was sitting out on a table somewhere. But whenever I tried that, I would get picked up and put in my crate for some reason. I guess they figured that I needed time to digest the peanut butter. Ah, peanut butter. It was so luscious and sticky, and it became something to be treasured.
"Walk" was when I got attached to the blue piece of string and we wandered down the street. At first I wasn't sure what the point of this was, but I began to enjoy it. There were so many good things to smell! I had no idea what the happy family thought the purpose was of going down the street for no reason.
The best part was seeing other dogs. They would jump and lunge at me, but Dad would always pull me back. I didn't understand. We were walking down the street and back for no reason and we couldn't even talk to other dogs? And we met so many dogs! The golden retriever from across the street. The guy who always walked his sheepdogs next to the cornfield. The giant black escape artist from two doors down that gave me a heart attack several times. Who knew that there were so many other dogs besides Cavaliers?
And I always took pleasure in knowing that I was the best looking of any of them.
We dogs are snuggle animals. We love our pack, and we love to be pampered. But it occurred to me, going through my days at the new house, that dogs might not have a way to express their happiness back.
One morning, Morgan came to me. "Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy?"
I paused. Who was a good boy, anyway? I didn't know. I stared and cocked my head, and she placed her hands to her mouth and squealed.
"You are, Cooper!"
I was a good boy! I was so happy! I placed my front paws on her shoulders and licked her face. She smiled and giggled, and I knew I'd done something good.
We'd often do the "Who's a good boy?" routine. She would ask me three times, I would cock my head, and People loved love. I only wished Mommy Sophie had been the same way. From then on, I'd be the loviest dog I could. I would love my people. I would love life. T would be a good boy.