The difference a year can make

This weekend was absolutely gorgeous! The weather was in the 80s-90s every day! Summer is Michael’s favorite time of year; he loves to be outside in the heat. I, on the other hand, usually prefer autumn, but when the sun is out and the heat is on I hop on the summer bandwagon.We took full advantage of the high temperatures and made our way down to the river, where we set up chairs and cooled our feet in the flowing mountain runoff.

please take not of that strange child behind Michael...

please take note of that strange child behind Michael… Cooper did not body check him!

Last year, we went to the river as often as we could, but it was always a little stressful. Cooper wasn’t quite a year old yet, and he still was full of willful puppy defiance. It was embarrassing (and dangerous, and disrespectful to other river rats) when he would run off and bark at a family and not come back to the group when he was called. This being our first trip back to the river since last summer, I was a little wary of how well my dog Cooper would behave.

Because Cooper is so big, when he gets overexcited it becomes a problem. When he accidentally bumps you, you end up on your bum on the ground (ask ANY child at the dog park, ever). When he runs toward strangers with a look of  joy on his face it can be terrifying. When he barks “hello!” it sounds threatening. He is a little dog trapped in a big dog’s body! I think he has the opposite of a Napoleon Complex – he is so large that he wishes that he was smaller, and therefore tries to act like a lap dog. It’s really sweet, actually, and one of the reasons why he such a little baby 🙂

WP_20130630_003But, Cooper was SO well behaved at the river! A year of hard work and training has transformed our excitable, obnoxious beast into a pleasant, exuberant love-bug. He stayed close to us on our bike ride to the riverbank, and didn’t wander too far when we were relaxing with our feet in the cool water. It’s just refreshing to not be on puppy patrol the entire time that we’re out in public.


Cooper playing with his best friend Tulsa

Cooper playing with his best friend Tulsa

After we got our daily dose of Vitamin D on the river, we went back to Michael’s sister’s house where she cooked us up some DELICIOUS turkey burgers. She is, seriously, the best burger maker. I don’t know what she does or how she does it, but dang girl! We also may have seen UFOs that night, but I’m a little afraid to say anything more about it, and let’s just leave it at that…

workin' hard on those delicious burgers!

workin’ hard on those delicious burgers!

On Sunday we stayed close to home, and hung out with Em and Pete. We read and played out in the yard while working on our tan lines, and then had some delicious brats cooked out on the grill while playing catchphrase.

Michael reading his new book and soaking up the sun

Michael reading his new book and soaking up the sun

playing Catchphrase with Em and Pete

All in all, a very satisfying weekend, partly because of the gorgeous weather and good company, and partly because Cooper was able to entertain himself without being destructive. I just can not believe the difference a year can make in the development of a dog 🙂