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Cooper, A Dying Dog with 'Bucket List'


A Dog is a Man’s best friend… No argument about that. Dogs provide an unconditional love, that’s what makes them so special.

This has been always true at the Lampert house, but, things haven’t been the same since October.
Brittney Lampert, the owner of the house always described everyday as perfect. It is always filled with the hubbub of a dog, a dog named Cooper.

But come Oct. 20, Cooper died. Cooper was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Cooper was 13 years old. Cooper died after gaining a small measure of fame when Lampert talked to the press about her quest to fulfill Cooper’s bucket list. The story hit USA TODAY, and The Associated Press picked it up. It went viral.

Lampert had emails, voicemails, letters and Facebook messages from people from all over the globe who had heard about Cooper and his bucket list.

But unfortunately, as sad as it seems, Cooper died just a few days after the story came out.

It has been hard on Lampert and her husband, Corey. We all feel the same if it was on us.

“It’s been lonely,” Lampert said as tears welled up in her eyes. “I sometimes call his name or think I hear him, but it’s just the cats. It’s been quiet and lonely.”

And while Lampert called Cooper perfect, he really wasn’t. Every dog has its flaws, or any animal or a friend for that matter.

Cooper had a habit of stealing into his Christmas stocking early.

She put his stocking out in October this year, well, because… This could not be any sadder…

“He just broke into it and got the rawhide bone,” Lampert said. “He walked around the house with it, banging it off the drier and the walls. He didn’t really chew it; he just walked around the house with it.”

On the eve of his death, Cooper’s breathing was very heavy, but in the morning it had improved greatly, so Lampert went to work.



Her mother, Lori, checked on Cooper as she always did in the afternoon. He was struggling.

Lampert took the rest of the day off, took him to McDonald’s for a burger and ice cream and then to Best Friends Animal Hospital, where they put him down.

“I was with him the whole time,” she said, tears again forming in her eyes.

She has taken some solace in the mini-celebrity Cooper became, trying to find all of the places where the article by former Tribune reporter Erin Madison has published.

New ones pop up all of the time.

Lampert also said she would like to encourage people to adopt shelter dogs.

When he was 5 years old, she got Cooper at a shelter (at least that was the best guess at the time), and her home was Cooper’s third. The Lampert have traveled from one place to another.

She hates the perception that she hears about shelter pets being, in effect, damaged goods.

“I got a shelter dog, and it was OK,” she said.

Probably better than OK.

Bryon and Lori, Lampert’s parents, built a final resting place for Cooper in a rustic theme to match the rest of the Lampert home. A rawhide bone sits in front.

The advice she gets most is to get another dog. So easy for them to say…

She always replied, while shaking her head, “Not right now.”

COOPER’S BUCKET LIST

Fulfilled

• Steak and potato dinner.

• Candle light massage from mom.

• Hamburger and ice cream at Dairy Queen.

• Road trip to drink cold creek water.

• Professional photo shoot.

• World’s best doughnut.

• October Christmas.

Unfulfilled

• Trip to great-grandparents.

• Petco.

• Breakfast in bed.

Having a dog is very rewarding. Though just like losing a loved one, it will take quite a time to move on. For the Lamperts, Cooper will forever be in their hearts.

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

Cheerio!

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