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Happiness comes from within.  Your mind determines whether you are happy or not.  Teaching that is the lesson to us humans seems to be Cooper’s mission for life.

Cooper is a 2 year old  American foxhound born with a rare disorder – Short Spine Syndrome – a condition where the vertebrae are compressed and fused together.  This disorder is considered to be caused by inbreeding.

   To us common folks, it means three things:

  1. Cooper was destined to be not with us today – usually dogs with this syndrome are euthanized.
  2. He was born with a spine that was going to be extremely painful for all his life.
  3. When fully grown, Cooper was going to be half the size of a normal American foxhound.

“Full spine or not – Cooper is happy as a dog could ever be” said his parents Elly and Andy Keegan in Virginia where they live with Cooper.  And when you think about it – he is teaching us all a lesson

It’s his attitude towards life –

  • his body is constantly in pain but he NEVER shows it outwardly,
  • he does not let it affect him negatively and
  • he behaves like a normal dog  – he is here to make himself and everyone around him happy!


Thanks to Elly and Andy for keeping him around and doing everything they can to give him a normal life.  And in return, they are thankful to Cooper for – he is now a key member of their family and helps them keep their spirits up.

With Cooper and 3 other pups, there is never a dull moment in the Keegan household.

dog, foxhound

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Cooper was 2 months old when he was found abandoned probably because of his spinal condition.  

He was rescued by an animal control officer near a suspected puppy mill operation in Halifax, Virginia back in summer of 2017. At the time Cooper was infected by mites and worms an was suffering from hernia.

Luckily for him, Secondhand Hounds – a shelter in Minnetonka, Minnesota agreed to foster Cooper until they found a suitable home.  They treated all his ailments while looking for a suitable home.

And sure enough it was not long, before Elly and Andy came across the ad for the dog and their kin heart melted away – they saw his loving demeanor and could not resist volunteering to open their house for Cooper.

They could not imagine how the greedy breeders could abandon such a fulloving dog for his health issues.  

Cooper’s spine is fused at his neck and the bottom that makes his daily life rather difficult. It throws a big monkey wrench in his daily routine.  Can you imagine, even a simple thing like going to the bathroom is a painful experience for him.

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You need to be very mindful of your position in relation to Cooper.  You don’t want to try to get his attention from behind him, poor Cooper can’t turn his neck to look at you because of his fused neck – he needs to move his entire body in your direction.  And that too is painful.

Poor Cooper – nothing in his life is painless – yet he is always happy!

Thankfully Elly with the help of a veterinarian was able to make his bowel movement life a little easier through a surgical procedure – now he can go on his own.

If all this was not enough Cooper had an accidental fall resulting in 5 fractures in his neck and developed osteomyelitis – a bone infection.  Fortunately Cooper responded very well to the antibiotics and has recovered well.

How well ?

Well, well enough to keep after his three doggy siblings.

Great job Cooper.  We wish you you a long life so you can impart that happy attitude on more of us so the world will be a better place than it was when you first arrived.




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