Cooper and Italy

Dogs With Jobs, and Freeloading Cats

Cats negotiate deals in their favor

Patricia Timmermans
3 min readApr 8, 2022


Picture of two labs, one yellow lab and one black lab. Sitting next to each other on a sidewalk
Photo by author: Cooper (black lab) and Italy (yellow lab)

Cooper and Italy are guide dogs who begin their workday in the CNIB¹ coffee room. While waiting for Pat and Kay to make coffee and talk endlessly, the dogs have time to compare perspectives on life as a dog.

Cooper needs Italy’s perspective on a crosswalk incident, that happened the other day on his walk with Pat.

Cooper: Italy, something happened the other day at a crosswalk

Italy: Something, like what?

Cooper: Just as we stepped off the curb, two dogs on the other side, jumped and barked for joy at seeing us

Italy: Did they know you?

Cooper: I don’t think so, they are freeloaders…

Italy: How do you know that?

Cooper: Their human said, “See that black lab over there? He has a job, you two are freeloaders.”

Italy: They’re good negotiators then…

Cooper: What does that have to do with freeloaders?

Italy: It means they got a good deal on food and lodging. They’re smart — once they negotiated the deal, they were in, free everything, plus they get walks…

Cooper: Do they get treats?

Italy: I doubt it, they don’t do anything after the deal’s been made…

Cooper: I live with two cats — they’re freeloaders.

Italy: All cats are freeloaders.

Cooper: Ya, Pat says Zoey, the cat, looked pitiful, laid across the doorway hoping to trip someone up, and she made it inside.

Italy rolls her eyes

Cooper: And that’s not all, she constantly occupies my bed, and challenges children for their blankets.

Picture of little James standing next to a tall dog bed with a cat sitting on it.
Photo by the author. James is nervous about taking his blue blanket. Zoey the cat is sitting on it, on Cooper’s dog bed.

Italy: That makes no sense! Doesn’t she have a bed?

Cooper: Yes, she has a couple of beds but she hogs my bed AND the humans’ bed, as though she owns them.

Italy: Owns what? the beds…



Patricia Timmermans

My guide dog and I visit schools to raise awareness for sight loss; the kids’ questions make great stories! Plus, I love books and writing book reviews. 🇨🇦