Here’s a love story that’s sure to warm your heart!
Natalie was only 15 years old when she adopted Copper from RSPCA SA back in 2003. Our vet team estimated that he was around one-year-old at the time.
Fun fact: as no-one knew his birthday date for sure, Natalie decided to share her birthday with him going forward. This means that this upcoming March 19th 2021, Copper will be celebrating his 19th birthday!
According to Natalie, Copper chose her the day she visited the RSPCA Lonsdale shelter. She says he made it clear that no matter what, he would be going home with her. It’s incredible that even from their first encounter, Natalie and Copper shared a special bond that has now spanned almost two decades!
At first, Copper was a little on the shy side and was definitely a flight risk. He was determined to make a run for it and seemed to have a special skill for escaping, if given any opportunity.
He had a really cheeky side. He loved people chasing him, so when he did manage to escape, Natalie and her family found themselves in hot pursuit until he grew tired and came back home.
Natalie described Copper as being a “whirlwind of energy” in his early years. He definitely kept his family on their feet. The little rascal would destroy anything and everything in his path, from his toys to the lawn, and tore holes through screen doors.
No matter what, he had a seemingly unlimited supply of energy. Natalie remembered that he could play fetch until it felt like her arm would fall off. Sometimes this energy would land him in a sticky situation. Trips to the vet for stitches were a regular occurrence after overshooting his landing or going for a tumble, but that never stopped Copper’s adventurous streak.
“Copper has never been great at ‘looking before he leaps’- he has 100% enthusiasm and about -5% in preparation or ability,” says Natalie.
This was not just a short-lived phase – it apparently took about 17 years to settle! Natalie was constantly asked how young her ‘puppy’ was until he was around 15 years old and his scattering of grey hairs started giving his age away.
As you can imagine, Natalie and Copper have grown up together and shared so many life experiences.
Many people agree that Copper is somewhat of a ‘community’ dog. When Natalie’s studies took her abroad, Copper enjoyed stays with his ‘grandmother’ (Natalie’s mother) and ‘Uncle Llew’ (Natalie’s friend). All who know him love him and according to Natalie, his birthday almost always overshadows her own.
In 2012, Copper was introduced to the man who would be his new ‘dad’ and Natalie suddenly had to compete to remain Copper’s favourite. Her little dynamo shares a bond with Josh that is almost as special as the one he has with Natalie.
You don’t get through 18 years of life without a few bumps along the way, but Copper has proven that he has both grit and resilience time and time again.
2017 was an especially trying year for Copper and his family. First, an aggressive mast cell tumour that required major surgery to remove took a toll on Copper’s health – he is only a little dog, after all.
A few months later, an awkward landing after jumping off the couch led to a serious injury. A fractured vertebrae left Copper almost completely paralysed, and it was unclear if he would ever recover full mobility.
The recovery period was rough for Copper. It included six weeks of rehabilitation and confinement to a small play-pen. His rambunctious personality had to adapt to this restricted lifestyle. Eventually, through weeks of hard work and patience, he regained most of his mobility. Natalie shares that this particular incident has made her nervous every time Copper tries to leap or plays too rough, and we can completely understand why.
Now in his golden years, Copper has lost most of his hearing and has had to learn hand signals for certain commands, although his eyesight is also not as great as it used to be.
He has had to adapt in other ways too. Once a lover of long runs, Copper now enjoys short walks or scenic drives. Instead of getting tasty dog biscuits as a treat, blueberries and carrots are now a more fitting choice for his fussy tummy.
Even though life is moving a little slower these days, Copper is still as enthusiastic about snuggles, food and holidays as he has ever been.
Natalie suspects that 2020 was one of Copper’s best years yet, as he loved having the constant company at home.
Natalie and Copper’s story reminds us of the incredible joys that adopting an animal can bring. It is more than just finding a pet; it is about finding a companion for life.
“Adopting Copper has been the gift of my lifetime,” shares Natalie. “Someone else’s loss has been the light of our world.”
We wish Copper continuing happiness in his golden years. With the same adventurous attitude and loveable spirit that he has lived his life by, we have no doubt he will continue to bring joy to everyone around him.
If you are thinking about adopting your own furry friend like Copper, head to our adoption website for more information.