Copper (FKA Zeus)

February 9, 2012 – December 15, 2017


by Elaine Egbert

Life had taken a nasty turn for our beautiful two-year-old Vizsla, Copper, when we met him in his foster home on March 18, 2012. Seemingly aggressive, he showed his fear of people by fierce growling and warning barks. An hour later after a few treats and him warming up to us, we, with his foster home parents, went for a walk together, and became buddies. That short hour was the beginning of a three-way love affair with our wonderful, bright, energetic dog.

Unfortunately, Copper wasn’t really comfortable in his own skin because he feared other people. On our 860 mile trip home he warningly barked at everyone he saw on the streets as we drove by. Quick noises set him to shivering. But he settled into home life very quickly, and became a clingy, happy, waggy dog that we adored.

But still even the sight of another human caused distrust. So we started a three-year campaign to help Copper master his fears. Hours of sitting in our vet’s waiting room to watch people come and go; tromps along the downtown streets to get used to rattles and bangs and pedestrians; walking on the nature trails and passing people and dogs gradually showed him that he was safe. Following our lead, with each new challenge he conquored, Copper would do a little victory dance and laugh up at us. By the time he passed away, he was friendly even to people who reached into the car, or those he met while hiking. Only if someone had on a really strange hat would he get spooked!

Copper loved to play “find-it”! We would hide his vitamins or his treats around the house and then observe as he sniffed them out. He loved “floor time” during which Bob would sit on the floor while watching TV and pet Copper the whole time. He loved “tossies”—broccoli or apple pieces we’d toss to him as we ate supper. If we didn’t toss often enough he’d tap our foot with his, and stare wistfully from his big round eyes. He loved when we played rough games or hide-and-seek with him when it was too cold to go outside for exercise. And when Bob and I would have our morning hug Copper would circle round and round us, wagging frantically, looking up at us, eager for his morning greetings, too.

Copper’s favorite words were “kitty cat!”, at which he would jerk his head up and look around, trying to spot the cat, then stare at us for directions. When we talked to him, he always looked us in the eyes and listened to every word, as though he knew exactly what we were telling him. He was a very intellegent dog. But the best part about him was his velcro-ness. Because of him three hearts melded together. And now one of those hearts has stopped. But the beauty of Copper’s loving personality has changed our lives for the good forever, and we learned so much from him.

Copper passed away suddenly from a fast-developing incurable liver cancer on December 15, 2017, at approximately 7 years old, and left a great hole in our lives. How thankful we are to have had his sweetness with us for five years! We learned that dogs with fear and/or personality problems can be patiently worked with and eventually become happy in their own skins, and very dear members of the family. RIP, sweet Copper.


 “Find it!”



  Playing on the bridge


 Waiting for “tossies”




 Hunting at the lake



  “Did you say Kitty-cat?”