The Story of Toothless Rooster Cogburn

“I instantly wanted to abandon post and grab the thing for cuddles but I had work to get done. This pup wasn’t having none of that, though.”

 

Originally posted by leightenheimer on Imgur.

 

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A little over a year ago, my wife and I lost two children back-to back through miscarriage. At this point in our new marriage we had already dealt with so much and losing those potential lives served as a bottomless pit; a hole that seemed unlikely we would ever fill.

I was working at a wood flooring factory a couple months after. I had an entire wing, basically, to myself. One day I was staining some custom furniture for my boss’s getaway Florida home when I looked at the other end of the hangar-length building to see a little puppy. I instantly wanted to abandon post and grab the thing for cuddles but I had work to get done. This pup wasn’t having none of that though.

He walked up to me and stared at me with his huge eyes. I pet him and noticed instantly that he was flea covered, matted and not in the best physical shape. As I looked closer I realized that he had a lot of gray around his muzzle, ears and face.
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I got him chicken-ish fast food during my lunch because he was so thin that I could feel his bones. I started sending these pictures to my wife planning on pleading to bring him home. I didn’t have to because she beat me to the punch.

 

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I thought that I would have to herd him away from doors all day until I could clock out and take him home. The little guy fell asleep on the floor and stayed there all day.
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I took him home and washed dozens upon dozens of fleas off his body. My wife and my daughter dried him off and brushed his fur. He looked a lot better but still seemed worse for wear. We are lucky he made it through that first night. After that night we named him Rooster Cogburn, after John Wayne’s role in True Grit. We found it fitting; due to his ability to keep moving despite it all.

When we took him to our veterinarian the whole clinic fell for him instantly. The vet had a hard time identifying his breed because of his size. They landed on Shetland Sheepdog, an age of somewhere between 8 and 12 with a weigh-in of 7.3 lbs.

His impressive list of existing conditions were:

  1. Stunted growth from malnutrition.
  2. Cataracts and one small pupil from blunt force trauma to the head.
  3. Ulcers in his stomach causing vomiting.
  4. Four oronasal fistulas in his mouth caused by his teeth rotting out of his head.
  5. Completely deaf.

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After a surgery on the fistulas, a strict medicinal regiment, months of spoiling and a family who loved him as much as two children and then some; Toothless (Nickname added by our Five year old daughter because of her love for How To Train Your Dragon) Rooster Cogburn was a dashing elderly gentleman in the vein of Sir Ian Mckellen and Christopher Plummer.

I now present to you a photo journey through the good times;

 

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He would gum my boots, dominate my foot or donkey kick my heels if I tried to leave the house. He also made a very gruff *Harumph* noise when frustrated.
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He loved being spoon fed by his mommy, greek yogurt was his favorite treat.

He would snuggle up into our necks when he wanted to tell us he loved us.
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Here he was getting in touch with his timber wolf roots. We had watched The Grey together that same day.
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Here he was given a Normal-Type item to boost his SP. ATK.
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The cutest Who in Whoville.
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He had had enough of that.
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The Gambler. He loved sitting on playing cards or in the middle of a game.
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Most of all… he loved naps. He had a nest (the red blanket) and a mistress (the brown blanket). Such sleep.

 

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He would sleep next to us on the floor for his Second Breakfast nap.
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Here he practices his Lucille Bluth wink.

Toothless Rooster Cogburn was given three months to one year to live. He made it to one year before he got too sick to grace us with his awesomeness for one more day.

Today, June 2, 2014; I watched the greatest friend, most loving pet and the most heroic fighter I’ve ever met sink into a well-deserved final nap while his mother and I held his paws.

I never thought I could love a pet as much as I loved him; as much as we loved him. Everyone who met him instantly loved him. His vets, our friends, a theater full of patrons when he performed a walk-on role in a play. He truly was one of a kind.

We hope that we gave him enough good memories to wipe out any bad ones that came before.

 

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“Rooster”  “Toothless Rooster Cogburn” “King Booster” “Wuuf” “Boosta Boy”

We love you and always will. Enjoy that nap… you definitely deserve it.

 

80 thoughts on “The Story of Toothless Rooster Cogburn

  1. In behalf of Toothless Rooster Cogburn – thank you so much for the love my family gave me!!! I am still around, in the corners of your hearts. need some tissues…darn eyes are leaking.

  2. It’s too bad someone didn’t find this beautiful pup a lot earlier. Thank goodness this man & wife took this pup to have a wonderful life!

  3. He knew real love before departing, he could not have asked for more at that point in his life, what he gave is equal♡♥♡

  4. Thank heavens he found you and your family.Toothless Rooster Cogburn had the best in his last year of life and all of you had the best also. God Bless .

  5. Rest In Paradise lil Rooster Cogburn. I loved reading his road to triumph but had to have a tissue at the end. So happy you could give this little ole man a happy life. Thank you.

  6. God bless you. Toothless will never remember the atrocities he suffered after being loved and cared for by your family. He will be forever grateful knowing how much you loved him and cared for him. He knew. You gave him the best of his life in the last years of his life and knowing that loving hand made all the difference to him. After a while, the pain will lessen, but your memories will always remind you of that love and sustain you.

  7. I am sure you gave him enough good memories to wipe out the bad. Such wonderful love and kindness to send him on his way…til you meet again….

  8. I read his story back a year or two ago, cried then, too, but this time it was worse, because he died……but I’m so happy he had a wonderful year to get to know some real love in his life…….THANK YOU FOR GIVING THAT TO HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Toothless rooster cogburn may you find more love in dog heaven and hopefully meet my past beloved dogs who already there playing?to you sir who adopted mr cogburn,God bless you and your whole family,you story touched me so much,i cry so much when i read story like this,ive always wanted to adopt animals who are very unfortunate to have a loving family to give them care comfort and food,i wished i have the means,and ive always say that here,i dont know why,its repetitive of me to be telling the same thing over and over again.we have our adopted labrador ,and our lives changed for the better since he moved with us.i now not only have a dog but another beautiful bestfriend,a son,a great companion,coffee -cake buddy,excellent listener,our cuddle buddy,our spoilt baby..i could go on forever.. Anyhow..toothless,we are sending you prayers and may God give u eternal love?
    Lots of love from alfie&friends

  10. It’s more than clear to me he loved you and his family so much. He chose you in the first place, so he already knew that’s where he wanted to be, and why. And that last photo of him sleeping under a blanket with a toy…look at that pup smile. You gave Toothless everything he needed, all that he wanted, and so much more.

  11. God Bless you and your Family for opening your Hearts to Little Toothless Rooster Cogburn…..every one…including our beloved Pets comes into our Lives to teach us something. I know you and your Family for the Lesson he bestowed on your family. He will be waiting by Heavens Gate for you.

  12. So sorry for your loss. You and your family did a great thing for Toothless Rooster Cogburn,he knew you loved him and he loved you all right back…Thank you for helping a Beautiful soul

  13. I’m crying for joy for all the people on earth that have made a world of difference in the lives of our animals we love. I’m with those people to thank you for being the angels on earth for this little helpless dog. Only heaven knows everything that you have done to save this precious animal from the horrific plight he was in before. You are an inspiration to many that to know that we can make a difference if we do it. One animal to rescue is such a noble thing to do. The pictures paint a beautiful story of rescue. Your dog loves you from the moon and back. He knows what you’ve done to him. God knows what you’ve done and I believe your reward is secure in Him.

  14. You showed him kindness and love, something he may never have felt before. You made the last year of his life a good one and he was thankful. You can see it in his eyes. Thank you for helping this sweet little pup.

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