(Since I'm easing back into the swing of all things bloggy, here is the first of four family member introduction posts.)
Meet Copper Budd Ray.
|Copper Ray, first day home, March 2009|
One chilly day in March 2009, Andrew finally gave in to my whining and begging and we went to PetSmart Adoption Day to look for two little Ray pups to call our own. Our intention was to try to find something along the lines of a female Border Collie and a male German Shepherd (see this post I wrote back in the day). Andrew and I both agreed on adopting rather than purchasing from a breeder for many reasons (tender-heartedness, cost, dog temperments, etc.), and that particular weekend I'd heard that they had a litter of German Shepherd mix puppies. When we got to PetSmart, we talked to a lady about what we were looking for, and she told us they had a male Australian Shepherd mix puppy, the last one of a small litter who had been by himself for a couple of weeks since his siblings were adopted. She said that Australian Shepherds are similar to Border Collies in looks and temperament, so we decided to meet the pup.
When we got to the cage, shoved in the very back corner, was a very depressed looking puppy. Andrew pulled him out and placed him in my arms, and he didn't move. He didn't wag his tail. He just sat there, looking depressed. I remember saying, "Andrew, I don't want this dog! He's giving me the stink eye. He hates me." But Andrew told me he was just lonely, and he thought he was a perfectly cute puppy who just needed some cheering up. He convinced me to let us walk around with him for a bit and see what would happen. So we walked him around for a bit and took turns holding him. After a little while, I realized he was snuggling with me. He hadn't quite warmed up, but was beginning to seek a little attention from us. We decided to see how he was with other dogs, so we brought him over to the cage of German Shepherd pups. There were 9 puppies in this crate, which automatically stressed me out. How could we pick just one out of all those homeless pups? We decided to set the Australian Shepherd down, stand next to him, and open the cage to see if any pups stood out to any of us. Well, when we opened the cage, 8 puppies ran to Andrew and me, and one little thing ran straight to the pathetic puppy... who then turned into the happiest, most boisterous puppy in the whole store! From day one, it was meant to be- we had found our Copper & Penny.
|Snuggling with Aunt Shannon and learning sweet wisdom from Maddie, March 2009|
Copper and Penny adjusted to being siblings better than I could have ever dreamed. Copper may be the oldest (and biggest), but he has been a pushover from the beginning. He lets Penny boss him around, and maintains the most laid-back attitude ever. (Last night, I draped a long beach towel down his back and turned him into 'Bridal Budd'. He walked around the house with me holding his train and didn't care one bit. Penny was his flower girl... she was holding a toy.)
|Copper, post-surgery, Spring 2009|
Copper wasn't the brightest puppy. He seemed to have a lot of balance issues and made the silliest faces. In their first few months at home, we started seeing previews for the movie Up. The dog in the preview that says, "Hi there," and "I just met you, but I love you," reminded us so much of Copper, that we turned that into his voice. We have Budd-versations all the time. Most commonly, he says, "Momma, shut up. I sleepin."
|July 2009, Shmimi and PePaw's pool|
It didn't take long for us to realize that Copper LOVED other dogs (particularly his cousin, Wilbur Curtis Cander a.k.a my sister's pup-son). People, not so much. He had picked his 2 people he was loyal to (Andrew and me), but for the first few months, he still didn't trust us very much. He was (sometimes still is) terrified of men with deep voices. And when he got in trouble with Andrew, it would take him hours to approach him again. It took about 3 months before I thought he even liked me.
|Budd in the snow, February 2010|
In the first year, we learned that Copper hates water, but absolutely loves snow. We had a snow day earlier this year, and Copper went nuts playing and hopping and diving around. I remember the next day when the snow had melted, there was only a small strip left next to the fence and he ran full speed and dove right into it!
|Copper posing, January 2010|
The first year, we also learned that Copper loves to chew, dig, and eat things he's not supposed to. We learned from the neighbor that Copper would dig a hole under the fence, crawl out and then hold the fence up so Penny could get through. He's nothing if not dedicated to that sister of his.
|Copper and his pink toy, January 2010|
Copper's favorite color is pink. My sister brought matching baby blue and pink puppy kongs when she first met them. Copper never let Penny touch the pink one and it lasted over a year before they finally ate it! Recently, I found a pink camo stuffed toy and it was his baby before he gave in and ate it. He always picks one favorite toy, and while he is in the house, it never leaves his side. Right now it is a squeaky hot dog toy from the Dollar Tree. The other day, Andrew was trying to pick up and every time he put the hot dog in the toy basket, Copper would sneak behind him and get it back out!
|Copper and Penny, 2009|
Every night, Copper snuggles up on his bed in the kitchen. But by morning, he is usually sprawled out in the middle of the kitchen floor ("I hot, Momma.").
|Copper playing, Summer 2010|
Copper goes through some hysterical hyper spurts. He'll plop the front part of his body down and stick his butt up in the air and yip yip like a girl. He particularly likes it when I creep up to him with Wicked Witch of the West hands. He runs these crazy figure eights that take up the entire backyard. But my most favorite thing he does is the Grand Budd Leap. We have 2 doors that lead out to the backyard on either side of the sunroom. The one on the left goes out to the deck, and the one on the right goes out to the yard and is on the same side as their pen. Every morning, I go out the door on the right to feed the pups, but Copper waits at the door on the left. As soon as I open the other door, he runs and takes a Grand Budd Leap off the deck and down to the yard. Picture an airborn Copper, arms and legs straight out, head held high, ears flopped up, tongue hanging out, and a happy smile on his face. It is to DIE for! (I always picture him saying, "I am Da Buuuuuuuuuudd!" as he leaps.)
|Copper hogs both beds, Summer 2010|
Copper looooves to stretch out. Every day when he comes in, he stretches himself out on the cool hardwood floor. When he climbs out of bed, he lets his legs hang behind. Every time he gets off the couch (shh, don't tell Andrew), he stands for a minute with his front legs on the ground, and his legs stretched out behind him. ("Dat feels nice.")
|Copper leaping the fence, August 2010|
I was chatting with a customer one day and we discovered that we both had Australian Shepherd mixes. He started talking about how that dog knew about 200 ways to get out of a fence. Apparently, Australian Shepherds will do anything to get to the person they are loyal to. So far, Copper has dug under the fence about 200 times, climbed the chainlink like a ladder countless times, chewed through the chicken wire on the top of his pen a few times ("Get me out of da jail!"), and lately he has preferred to make a clean leap OVER the fence. Where does he go each time he gets out? To the kitchen door in the garage. I can't tell you how many times I've been cooking dinner, and seen him pop up in the window. ("Momma, let me IN.") Penny doesn't even bother getting out with him anymore. Just the other day when I got home from work, Andrew was out back with the pups, so I went straight into the bedroom to change and then start getting dinner ready rather than go get the pups. Well, apparently that pissed Budd off pretty good because leaped the fence TWICE to come and yell at me for not saying hi to him and Penny. Buddhead.
|Copper's School Picture, Special Ed 2010|
Copper will ham it up for a photo. I love setting my camera to continuous shoot to see what kind of faces I can capture. See the above photo. That alone shows just how "special" he is.
|Momma and Budd, October 2010|