Back in 2002 when we lived in the Philadelphia area, after months of research and thought about adding a dog to our family we went to visit a litter of puppies co-bred by Sandie Gordon of Dimond Ridgebacks and Gail James of Regal Ridgebacks. Of course we were "just looking"... and of course it was love at first sight. We also wanted "just a pet", but the only puppies available in the litter were show potential males. We agreed to show our boy, and in April 2002 our boy came home with us.
Cooper was an ideal puppy and pretty soon ran the house. Our best intentions of not having him sleep with us went by the wayside by about the third night! He loved to run in the backyard playing chase with sticks from the trees and going for rides in the car even more. He was also one of those very rare ridgebacks who could also be left uncrated in the house and he didn't destroy it! We tell all our puppy people that Cooper is really a Golden Retreiver in a Ridgeback suit because of his good behavior!
His show career started at the age of 9 months. He quickly made an impact by winning Best Puppy in Match at the prestigious Philadelphia Kennel Club, and earned his first points at the age of 11 months winning a "major" at a large show in NJ. He earned a 2nd place ribbon in the very large 12- 18 mo. class at the 2003 RRCUS National Specialty. Shown occasionally, he finished his AKC Ch. title at the age of 20 months. He had also started lure coursing in the summer of 2003 and LOVED IT. For Cooper, the chase is as much fun as actually catching up with that plastic bag.
Since then, Cooper has been shown infrequently as a Champion but has earned multiple Best of Breed wins and a Group 2 placement. In 2005 he earned his conformation International Champion title. He also completed his ASFA Field Championship and has earned points towards his AKC Field Champion title. Over the years, Cooper has gotten really really smart about how lure coursing works and has become what is commonly known in coursing circles as "a rotten Field Champion cheater" so we despair of him finishing that AKC FC title!! At the age of almost 7 years old now, he still runs with absolute abandon and pure joy.
Although our boy Cooper has a face that is rapidly turning grey, he still runs and plays with the other dogs like that sweet puppy we brought home in 2002 and we are looking forward to sharing many more years with him.