Dear Cooper, 

Today would have been your 11th birthday and I can’t believe you’re gone. 2 weeks ago we made the painful decision to let you go. You were pretty sick by then and made it clear that life wasn’t as fun as it used to be, and even though we hated to do it, we put you down. We miss you so much. I miss your soft ears, our hikes in the wood, snuggles on the couch, and your calming presence. You were made of pure joy and you reminded me every day to find the joy in everything we did.

We brought you home on a snowmobile in the middle of winter wrapped in my down coat when you were just a tiny ball of black fur. Even from that first day you were always up for an adventure - whether it was a hike, bike ride, climbing, slot canyons, camping, swimming in the ocean, dock jumping or skiing. You always wanted to go and were always up for excitement, but mostly you just wanted to be with us as much as possible.

When you were little you were a bit of a handful, and sometimes you wouldn’t obey when you didn’t want to, but you were the best dog - loyal, loving, strong, smart, and gentle. You were always happy to see friends and played well with everyone.

The house is empty now, but my mind plays tricks on me. I see black shapes in the woods that make me look again. I hear soft scrapings in the house that have me listening for you. And it’s been hard to tell people about your passing. When I say it out loud it only makes it more true and with each passing day you are further and further from my grasp.

Our last two months together were hard and every day we cried as we watched you get sicker until it was obvious you were just sticking around for us. 11 years just isn’t long enough with a dog like you. It all happened too quick - one day you were healthy and the next you weren’t.

The day we let you go, the snow was coming down sideways, a total whiteout outside. Maybe the mountains shared our pain, and howled for our friend as he passed, and for us, the ones left behind in our grief. I’d do it all over again though given the chance - even these last two awful months watching you fade. I sure do miss you my best friend, my boy.