Woofstock Cover Dog Contest Winner Koko The Cover Girl!

Story by Bonnie Craig
Happy spring, Tucson dogs and your humans! The birds are singing and our allergies are kicking into high gear, but never fear, because It’s time to celebrate our latest local celebrity. Everyone put your paws together for the stunning Miss Koko! We’ll learn all about this charmer soon, but first, let’s meet our fabulous runners up. We’ve got another great crop this time, and no surprise there. It has become obvious that whether transplanted or homegrown, our desert dogs just have that special something.
First there is the one of a kind Akira. Looking like a beautifully carved Egyptian statue with her sleek coat and pointed ears and nose, this 33 pound three year old is a shining example of just how glorious second chances can be. She was brought to PACC after being hit by a car. Known there as Olivia, she was unable to use her back legs or stand. Luckily for her however, she was adopted by a doting mom and despite still having a little trouble with the back legs, she is now running and jumping with the best of them. Her DNA panel boasts Chihuahua, Peruvian Inca orchid, Xollo, Doberman, AND German shepherd, so it’s easy to see where she gets her gumption and good looks. Keep up the healing and stay epic, Akira!

Next up is Taz! Though she bears a passing resemblance to a black thylacine, it’s more likely that her name comes from the state in her country of origin, Australia. In 2023 the three year old retired racer, formerly known as Dutchess Vonnie, flew to Tucson from down under with the help of local nonprofit, Southern Arizona Greyhound Adoption. From there she was welcomed into a wonderful home with over an acre to run and play with her most treasured of items, tennis balls. She is never without one and can now be found fetching to her heart’s content on any given day. Congratulations on your chill new life, Taz!

Amber is another beautiful black and white bombshell. Lovingly referred to by her rescue as their, “donkey eared princess”, this gem was also pulled from a rough place. After living for three years in an outdoor enclosure, she was finally rescued by Hope of Deliverance Rescue. She has been living in comfort with her foster for a year and a half, now, awaiting her happily ever after. That’s right, Amber is available for adoption! Interested parties can contact Hope of Deliverance for more information. Good luck finding a forever home as special as you, Amber! You deserve it!
Our last runner up may be a bit of a winner by association. Her name is Trixie and she is a mini/standard Aussie cross. Trixie was found running loose in South Tucson, so matted and disheveled that she would probably have been unrecognizable as the impeccably coiffed little lady we see today. Luckily she was taken in by Aussie and Friends Rescue and soon adopted by a very nice lady. We love to see those rags to riches stories, Trixie, and perhaps we’ll see more from you soon…

All of these runners up really knocked our socks off, and what a great batch of black and whites they are, but now it’s time for the main act. Please welcome to the stage the stunning diva herself, Koko! Just one look into those soulful brown eyes could melt the heart of even the saltiest dog. She wasn’t always the serene queen we see today, however. This pup was a true wild child in her younger years.

Like many other divas, Koko came from humble beginnings. She was found abandoned with her mother and 6 littermates behind a gas station in Patagonia, Arizona. They were lucky to be taken in by Arizona Desert Rotti & Pals Rescue, and immediately upon making her internet debut through the rescue’s website, the artist who would come to be known as Koko was turning heads, one in particular.

Marilyn Stringer, an accountant by day and award winning music photographer by night, took one look at the puppy and said, “That’s my dog.” She forced herself to wait for the puppy to be ready for adoption, and snapped her up right away when the time came. Since her new best friend had no date of birth on record, Marilyn decided on January 1st. Keeping with the celebratory theme, she named her Koko, in honor of one of her favorite photography subjects, legendary Chicago blues woman, Koko Taylor. Like her namesake, Koko was a spitfire from the beginning, but not always in the best ways. DNA results showed mostly golden retriever, cattle dog, and Chow, and she certainly gravitated toward some of the more unhinged aspects of those breeds initially.

In short, Koko the puppy was a maniac, running rampant and destroying irrigation systems, and pens; nothing made of plastic was safe.  In hopes of reining in the madness, Marilyn decided to go to training classes at The Complete Canine. Trainer Jeremy Brown was very helpful, and in a wild coincidence, they even met a dog named Stevie there, who turned out to be Koko’s brother, and was named for another blues legend, Stevie Ray Vaughn.

When Koko was 8 months old, Marilyn decided a playmate was in order, so decided to adopt another puppy roughly the same age from Aussie and Friends Rescue. People may not be shocked to discover that this puppy was the aforementioned Trixie. The two hit it off and remain a dynamic, if a bit quirky, duo to this day. They both have their preferences, and it seems to work for them. At the dog park, Trixie is off and running with the other dogs, while Koko prefers pets from the people. On walks, Koko is very much led by her nose, in charge and on a forward mission, while Trixie just wants to run circles around her.

Now at 7 years old, Koko is the sweet and mellow dog Marilyn dreamed of, it just took a minute to get there. She is still a bit fickle, with a different personality depending on the moment. She is a hunter, once even catching a rabbit. She’s a sniffer, sticking her nose down any hole she comes across. Much of the time these days though, she is just a happy couch potato, morphed from the maniac puppy she once was. She loves her sister, but Koko doesn’t want anyone to forget that she is the number one dog. For this cover dog contest, you sure are, Koko! Congrats on your win and all the best to you and your family!



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