Wilbur, 12, was going to be euthanized if he didn’t find a home soon. So, Trish Bauer decided to step in and save him.
Trish Bauer had to deal with a miscarriage in February 2022 when she gave birth to a stillborn baby. For a long time, it took a major toll on her and she was finding it hard to cope. But one day in December, something changed and gave her hope. She was scrolling through Instagram and saw that a dog needed help. Wilbur, a 12-year-old German Shepherd, was going to be euthanized if he didn’t find a home soon, so Trish decided to step in. The video featured a 90-pound canine “with kind eyes” who just melted Trish's heart.
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"Something about his eyes just called to me,” she told The Los Angeles Times. “He was so defeated, and I knew that same feeling, like life had just given up on him.” But here's the twist, Bauer was actually afraid of dogs when she agreed to foster the German Shepherd for a day. But still, she commented on the post by FurryTail Endings and offered to foster the sweet elderly pooch for 24 hours in her San Bernardino home.
“I told myself I was freaking crazy for even commenting because I was terrified of dogs,” she confessed. The next day, she got a reply where the rescue team told her that Wilbur would be put down in 30 minutes if no one picked him up, as all the other offers fell through. “I literally took a cat leash to get this 90-pound dog,” Bauer said. “My daughter really thought I lost my mind."
Bauer and her 10-year-old daughter Lilly were soon on their way to the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley to pick up the German Shepherd. “I love dogs, but I've always been scared of them,” Lilly said. “But with [him], it's just like a whole ‘nother world. It's like he's from another dimension. He's old, but he has such a great and big heart.”
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When the family met him, they knew there was just something different about him. From the Bauers, when Wilbut was sent to another foster family, the other dogs there behaved aggressively towards him. That's when the Bauers realized Wilbur was meant to be with them. They later renamed him Cooper and made him a permanent family member. “We knew that we could not let this dog be put down just because nobody had loved him,” said Bauer. The family adopted Cooper on February 11, a year after Trish lost her baby daughter, Millie.
Sometime later, the family learned that Cooper had cancer. His fight became theirs as they also had a loved one go through the deadly disease. Little Lily was born with a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing sarcoma and became cancer free by her first birthday.
After surgery and 42 stitches, Cooper “shrugged himself off the leash from the tech and ran all the way down the hall to us,” the mom of the pet pooch recalled. “In that moment, we all knew that he was more than a rescue.”
“Days when I’m depressed or sad thinking about the past year, he's always there to cheer me up,” Josh Bauer said of Cooper. “He's the best friend I've needed, and it makes me want to get out of the house, take him on walks and just live every day to its fullest."
The story doesn't end here. After the Bauers adopted Cooper, Trish became pregnant again with a miracle baby boy this year. She also avoided a medical disaster after doctors discovered two blood clots in her brain in time.