Sweet Puppy gets a Fresh Start as a Beloved Fur Baby

December 19, 2018

When AJ H. went to the ASPCA Adoption Center in September 2018, he was completely ready to adopt an 8-year-old cat he had met the day before. He even had wand toys and a litterbox already at home in preparation for his new family member. Unfortunately, someone else had fallen in love with AJ’s intended kitty and adopted the cat before he arrived. Wonderful news for the sweet, senior cat, but, at the time, a disappointment for AJ. 

However, that same day at the Adoption Center, there just happened to be two puppies waiting to find new homes—one of whom was named Florence. On a tour with ASPCA Adoption Counselors, AJ met the puppies and fell in love with them both! It turned out that one of the sweet pups had already found a loving home, but AJ did not want to miss out on another potential match. So he promptly adopted Florence—who had curled up in his sweater when they met, falling asleep against his heart.

A Cruel Start to Life

Florence had a difficult start in life. In August 2018, at just a couple of months old, he was rescued by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) from deplorable conditions alongside 15 other animals from a residence in Queens, New York.  

Florence’s initial owner had previously been convicted of animal cruelty and was not permitted to own animals, a condition she had violated. After his rescue, the ASPCA Animal Recovery Center (ARC) and a dedicated foster cared for sweet Florence until he was ready to find his new home. Florence proved to be a resilient boy who is continually learning and loving life.

Living, Learning, Loving

When Florence—now named Cooper—was first brought home he was understandably wary about his new place, but it didn’t take long for him to get over his initial nervousness. 

“He was pretty immediately confident in the apartment,” recalls AJ. “He does not, however, understand personal space when we go to bed. You’d be surprised how a puppy under ten pounds can push you to the edge of the bed. He’s lucky he’s cute!”

As with any puppy, Cooper has required training in his new home. AJ tells us that he initially attempted to crate train Cooper, but after just 30 minutes, Cooper managed to open the latch and escape—then happily placed all of his toys in AJ’s bed!   

“He’s turned my life upside down,” says AJ playfully. “Every day is about walking, playing, training and learning about the world. The rest of my life has to fit in around those things at the moment.”

Now, Cooper is nearly completely housetrained, and he is improving on his leash with the help of a trainer and lots of practice with his pet parent. They are also working on his separation anxiety, but AJ admits that he has separation anxiety from Cooper too, so it is a work in progress for the pair of them. Cooper’s popular at the dog run too, trying to make friends by happily climbing the bigger dogs. According to AJ, Cooper is learning so much each day. 

“When he behaves in public I become a beaming proud Dad,” AJ tells us.

AJ has adjusted to life as a pet parent after years of convincing himself that he wasn’t ready to adopt, that he couldn’t afford a pet or that his place was too small. He dove headfirst into life with Cooper and could not be happier. 

“I could have spent my life saying I wasn’t ready,” AJ says. “And I’d have missed out on what’s already been the best decision I ever made. I didn’t know I could care about someone as much as I care about this little guy. He’s the best part of every day. I can’t remember what it was like before him.”