GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Cooper had been up all night and most of the morning. He hates thunderstorms and the night before one blew through that was strong enough to knock out the power at his home. The 10-year-old rescue dog didn’t seem to mind though in this moment, his mother, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss was showering him with treats.

“He is just such a lovable little guy,” Mayor Bliss said. “He’s such a sweet, sweet little guy.”

Cooper is the unofficial first dog of Grand Rapids. And while he’s never helped with any of the actual decision makings for the city, his presence is helpful enough for 2nd term mayor.

“Just the joy that, that he brings to my life and coming home and finding him here and taking a walk with him, especially after a challenging day or a stressful day, I personally think it helps just with your emotional and mental wellbeing,” Cooper’s mom said.

The mayor found Cooper a decade ago when she was out buying treats for her late dog, Maddie, who was also a rescue. Rescuing has always been something she and her family believe in. But as she tells the story, we don’t necessarily have a choice all the time.

“I feel like dogs pick you out more than you pick them,” Mayor Bliss says about the first time she met Cooper. They were at a pet store and he’d been brought in by a local shelter. “He came up next to me and sat next to me and did this lean, where he leaned into my leg and I looked down and I, I think I fell in love with them at first sight.”

Whether it’s nudging her to go for a walk or curling up next to her when she needs comfort, there is an endless number of reasons Cooper makes such a sweet companion. And an even bigger reason why Mayor Bliss will continue to rescue.

“I know he had a pretty rough couple of years of life when he was born before I adopted him,” Mayor Bliss said. “He had a number of injuries that my vet found. And, so I think deep down, he knows that this is a really good, loving home and I think he has this appreciation for that.”

If you’re looking for a lovable companion like Cooper, help WOOD-TV and NBC Clear the Shelters, now through September 19th. Find the information here about participating shelters near you where you can adopt or donate, with 100% of your donations going to the shelter you choose.