Coulwood’s Cooper has ‘golden’ heart for community service

by Christopher Lux

Cooper joins the CoulOak Minor League Braves in a team huddle. (Christopher Lux/MIM photo)

It’s not uncommon for passers-by to call out, “Hey Cooper!” as the 4-year-old Golden Retriever runs through Coulwood Hills with his owner, Sherri Cook. It seems Cooper is better known than Cook, or “Cooper’s Mom,” as she is regularly called. He is recognized throughout the community – in the Coulwood Parade, the dog park or near the baseball diamonds in Coulwood Park.

He is affectionately called the Brad Pitt of Shuffletown Dog Park, with his movie-star looks and flowing blonde mane, but the loveable Golden Retriever is much more than a pretty face. He has a heart of gold and loves community service, particularly his job relocating lost baseballs around Coulwood Park. He then returns the balls to Assistant Coach Pete Woodham and the Couloak Minor League Braves baseball team, which practices at the park.

“It is clear that he loves baseballs, watching the kids hit the balls and watching them bounce throughout the field,” Cook said. “He’ll purposely lay behind the fence at home plate to watch the balls fly and the kids practice.”

On walks through the trails and fields of Coulwood Park, when Cooper’s tail suddenly swirls in a fast figure-eight pattern, Cook knows that Cooper is onto something. As he snuffles through the weeds his pace picks up and he pounces happily with his two huge front paws. As he trots happily out of the bushes, he reveals a baseball in his mouth.

Each year, the Cooks return a bucket of the balls found by Cooper to the team, and the players use them during practice. Woodham thanked Cooper for recycling the baseballs back to the team as the team is on a budget, and said, “The practice balls are a great help during practice.”

In 2010, Cooper returned 53 balls, and in 2011, he returned 48 balls to Woodham and his team. This year’s lower count is most likely due to the opening of Shuffletown Ball Diamond, which took some games away from the Coulwood Park location, Cook said.

And to answer whether or not he is sad to return his collected baseballs, Cook said, “I think the look on his face when the kids and parents give him hugs and pets says it all … he just loves it.”

Cooper learned his talent for retrieving balls by watching neighbors’ grandchildren find Easter eggs hidden in the bushes and yard. Pretty soon, he started finding the eggs that the children missed. Then, when walking in the park, he started finding baseballs, and finding them soon became a game as he went on his daily walks.

Cook started collecting the baseballs in a large bag, and “it wasn’t until we transferred them to a garbage bag that we realized the amount of balls we actually had,” Cook said.

“Anything that we can do to help the community is important to us. Giving back, even in this small way, makes such a positive event for the kids playing on the team” Cook says. “He really enjoys it.”

Did you like this? Share it:

Leave a Reply