Posts Tagged ‘dog birthday’

We have discovered, through our experience with Cooper, that male Irish Water Spaniels don’t fully mature until they are 4 years old. Today, Carlin is now a Man-Dog.


His birthday portrait also resurrects another tradition that fell by the wayside, which is an annual portrait of our pups.

Compared to Cooper and Tooey, our photo attention towards Carlin has been limited to being in the field with just an iPhone. He has spent little time in the studio compared to Coop and Miss Tooey. The last studio shot I made of this boy was for his 1st birthday.

And here is his first formal portrait at 5 months.


Carlin at age 5 months

So happy 4th birthday, Carlin. And many more returns of the day.


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The last 5 years have been delightful, frustrating at times, but very much life-expanding. We have totally changed how we spend our time and money, and we have added so many amazing people to our circle of friends. All due to Cooper joining our household.

On Valentine’s Day in 2007, Cooper (then known as Blue Boy), along with his litter-mates, started life in Minnesota. Now as a (mostly) mature male, he still thrives as a vibrant Irish Water Spaniel retrieving, hunting, and living the good life the Pacific Northwest.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Cooper

Blue Boy (aka Cooper)

Realta Rosario Cooper on his 5th Birthday

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To celebrate Cooper and his littermates 4th birthday on February 14, I asked the owners of Cooper’s littermates to send me a recent head and shoulders shot of their pup. I am very lucky — I now have pictures of all 10 pups that were in that litter.

Here are the ones I have, in alphabetical order:

Cooper, photo by Patrice Dodd


Darcy, photo by Louise Bailey



Mowgli, photo by Becca Graham


Tiki, photo by Steve Riseman

Tosca, photo © Pepi Barrington

Ziggy Stardust

Here are some things I know (and if anyone has any corrections, please let me know):

  • Two of the pups, Cosmo and Phoebe, are new to me. What a thrill to see them at last.
  • Four of them, Cooper, Gunner, Tiki, and Ziggy Stardust, have American hunting titles. Tiki is the first Irish Water Spaniel to earn a HRCH hunting title from the Hunting Retriever Club. I think Darcy and Tosca may have English and/or European hunting titles. Mowgli has had hunt test training, too.
  • Five of them have working certificates: Cooper, Gunner, Tiki, and Ziggy have AKC WCs and Tosca has won three working tests in England.
  • Three of them, Cooper, Darcy, and Tosca, actually hunt. Tosca regularly works picking up birds on shoots. And Mowgli’s been on a hunting trip, too.
  • Three of them, Cooper, Maggie, and Mowgli, have show championships. And Tiki has been in the show ring also.
  • Two of them, Cooper and Mowgli, have obedience titles: Mowgli in Obedience and Rally, Cooper in Rally. Maggie has shown in Rally also.
  • Two of them, Darcy and Tosca, live in England. Gunner lives in Canada. The rest live in the US.
  • Two of them, Mowgli and Phoebe, have a “leprechaun’s kiss” (i.e. the cowlick on the muzzle).
  • The picture of Ziggy was actually taken on his 3rd birthday, but I loved the hat!
  • All of them are beautiful.
  • All of them are beloved companions.

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Yesterday, when we brought our canine family into Colleen’s house, Colleen did a double-take. Later, she told me that she had just been about to ask what Mabel had been doing outside, but then realized that the dog coming in the door was Cooper, not Mabel.

There’s a reason for that resemblance. Mabel (Ch Hooligan’s Fair Hibernia CD, RN, SH, WCX) is Balloo’s mother and Cooper’s grandmother. And yesterday we had the happy realization that Mabel and Cooper share Valentine’s Day as a birthday. Today, Cooper turns 3 and his grandmother Mabel turns 12.

Mabel and Cooper

grandmother Mabel and grandson Cooper

They do resemble each other. They both have delicate legs and feet, and long ears. The shape of their noses, the color of their eyes, proportion of their bodies, and the texture of their coats all mark them as close relatives. Cooper’s even getting flashes of silver frosting on his ears and elbows.

And the resemblance is more than just physical. They both have some idiosyncrasies in their personalities, like wanting to make up their own rules to the game (whatever the game is, from obedience to house manners to hunt training).

Happy Birthday to all of the Nova X Balloo siblings and their grandmother!

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Valentine’s Day and Cooper’s 2nd birthday


How better to celebrate than with a birthday party? The skating rink is out, as is the pizza place and the movie theater. Instead, our party was a flyball tryout.

We found the X-Fidos flyball club (whose motto is “The ball is out there” and whose teams are called “Aliens,” “Agents,” and “the 51’s” — if you’re a fan of the X-Files, you get this.) I don’t remember where I saw the group’s ad, but I do remember it saying that dogs who qualify “Must love tennis balls.”

The tryout went reasonably well, considering we (Cooper and I) were two rank beginners. Russ came along for the ride with his camera, took the photo above (Cooper streaking by with tennis ball in mouth), and made this video:

To learn more about flyball, see the North American Flyball Association website.

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Cooper is home, just two days after his 1st birthday. Russ caught this picture in our back yard, after just having interrupted a bit of digging (hence the nose dusted with dirt).

We have our work cut out for us. The AOCB trainers sent us home with a page full of instructions. He’s supposed to wear his training collar and leash at all times, except when unattended. (Hmmm… I wonder how he got himself out of his collar for this picture…)

Cooper needs to do several 30-minute down stays per week, wait calmly at doors for the people to go through first, earn his toys and food by following some command or other, be asked to do random sits and downs, and etc.

And it’s been a miracle. He waits on his rug while we eat dinner, and I’ve been able to walk him down the street without (mostly) getting my arm pulled out of it’s socket.

We have a much better boy home now, Russ is mostly recovered from his medical adventure, and life is much improved.

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