Our Best FRIENDS: Cooper and Zoe find paradise after rough beginnings in Orlando

Zoe is a female alpha dog.

Zoe is a female alpha dog. Contributed.

It is hard to say which dog’s story of origin is more interesting, Cooper or Zoe. Both are now elderly companions to Tracy and Neil Lenok. Several dogs had shared their New Jersey home, but Cooper and Zoe arrived in time to move to Florida.

The Lenoks were providing member services at a large pet product convention in Orlando where they helped with freight forwarding and other vendor needs. What they did not foresee was a small, 4-month-old puppy waiting for them at a dog rescue vendor’s booth.

“Cooper was underweight and malnourished, left at the humane society by a college student who found the care too difficult and likely purchased the puppy at a pet store,” surmised Tracy Lenok.

The tiny snorkie (schnauzer/Yorkie) puppy was supposed to grow to 10-15 pounds. Cooper now weighs a healthy 22 pounds with typical blond and silver Yorkie colors and a schnauzer face. With a reputation as a “ladies’ man,” Cooper is selective about lavishing affection – and it goes to the blondes – including Tracy.

Cooper is a ‘ladies’ man.’

Cooper is a ‘ladies’ man.’ Contributed.

He also attached himself to Neil and follows him around the house. “I think it’s because Neil walks him all the time and feeds him,” said Tracy. “Wherever Neil goes, Cooper follows. Cooper waits at the door for him when Neil leaves the house.”

“However, Cooper does not wait alone,” added Tracy. “A year after Cooper came home to New Jersey I took a quick airplane ride to the Orlando Airport to pick up Zoe, another rescue from the same source as Cooper.”

Zoe was between 2 and 4 years old and is now 13, weighing 10 pounds and colored ginger and black like a typical Yorkie. “Unlike Cooper, Zoe is not as open with her feelings, perhaps a result of her earliest years as a straggly stray on the streets of Orlando,” said Tracy.

“I was attracted to Cooper at the Convention Center because he was the smallest in the pen, bossing everyone else,” said Tracy. “He met his match in Zoe.”

While Zoe is the smaller of the two, she is a female alpha dog. She’s not friendly to strangers. Her loyalty is twofold – Neil and Tracy, in that order.

 Having their owners at home is a bonus, and the dogs keep busy following Neil and Tracy to their offices or watching Tracy cook while they sit on the kitchen island stools watching her intently – like students.

“With two little dogs they have each other and don’t suffer separation anxiety when we leave them,” said Tracy. “They wait patiently for our return.”

Our Best Friends

If you have a dog that you think is particularly wonderful, contact us at dog@swspotlight.com and he or she could be the next dog featured in this column.