Story by Rebecca West Photos courtesy of dog parents
Another year has passed and another WOOFstock cover dog photo contest has taken place. This year, our three winners couldn’t look any less alike, but together they share some amazingly similar stories — and of course they rocked their photo ops with equal style and panache. Meet them now.
1st Place Winner Hooch
Much to the Frost family’s surprise, their handsome rescue dog was crowned the winner of our annual WOOFstock cover dog contest. Their pupper, who’s just over a year old, was styled as Hooch “Hendrix”, an idea offered up by dad Chris, a self-described music person. When mom Raysun and kids Patrick and Eliana first learned of the contest, they approached Chris for input regarding a visual concept. His response was to take inspiration from guitar legend Jimi Hendrix.
After googling the rock god’s image for reference material, they settled on the look they wanted to achieve and set about constructing his hippy vibe. The headband was cut from red felt, and they made use of a sparkly metallic scarf. All that was left to pull the look together was the addition of a pink ukulele and belt, in place of a guitar and shoulder strap, and, voila, they had their very own Hooch “Hendrix.”
In an ironic twist, it was a friend who was entering her dogs in the contest that put the bug in Raysun’s ear. You see, a year and a half ago, the Frosts moved to Tucson, unfamiliar with The Tucson Dog Magazine, until that friend enlightened them about it and the event. Chris and Raysun stated they were jazzed to find a source focusing on adoption and rescue efforts while providing practical information about dogs in the area.
Born in December 2019, Hooch is believed to be a Lab/pit mix. He has a beautiful bluish-silver coat with small white spots on all four paws, which Elaina is completely taken with. She enthusiastically described his eyes as yellow on the outside, fading to brown, and then black in the middle.
Eliana was the lead cheerleader for adopting a dog when Chris noticed a post on social media from Hooch’s foster parent concerning placement in a forever home. Chris reached out, a meet and greet was arranged, and the family ultimately adopted him from Southwest Oasis Labrador Rescue. Eliana had been searching for months through PACC and other local rescues, but Hooch was the first pup they were able to adopt before someone else beat them to the punch. In the past, there was always somebody one step ahead of them.
The day we spoke, February 5, Hooch had been with the Frost family for exactly three weeks to the day. They told us how he vacillates between being a cuddle bug or a total “crazy pooch,” as Eliana calls him. That’s when he gets “the zoomies,” referring to his zooming around the house at top speed, careening about wildly. “Laughing only encourages him,” added Patrick, so it’s understandably hard to get him to stop.
Like many households, there was a divide over what size pet to adopt. Chris and the kids wanted a large dog. Raysun, on the other hand, had her heart set on a lap dog. Regardless, she’s pleased because Hooch thinks he’s one, anyway. In fact, he sleeps with mom and dad in their king-sized bed, pushing them to the edge of the mattress while snoring, content and secure in his new home. At nearly 60 lbs., he does have a doggie bed, but that’s apparently just for naps, as far as Hooch is concerned.
Besides being intent on snuggling, his personality is “socially aware” when it comes to the family. He seeks them out, pushing or scratching at doors searching for members whenever they’re out of sight. He’s not a barker unless he hears a scooter, but his tail wags full bore when he does. They’d had him a full week before he ever barked, startling them when he erupted.
In addition to his other positive attributes, he’s very people-oriented and loves meeting them and making new friends during walks. The same goes tenfold for other dogs. He does well on a leash, sticking close to his family during their frequent outings. However, it’s the dog park he enjoys most. Pegged as a “very enthusiastic dog player” by Patrick, he is keen to play with new canine pals.
Treats are another Hooch hit, with Raysun laughingly pointing out that he is very “food motivated.” In particular, he’s extremely fond of peanut butter. When it comes to toys, shredding’s his thing, and they’ve had a hard time finding any that he can’t annihilate within moments. His favorite at this point is a bone made of multiple layers of stiff compressed felt he hasn’t been able to destroy just yet.
Concerning personality quirks, he’s prone to cocking his head from side to side, listening intently to his people when spoken to, and he love, love, loves pillows, burying his nose beneath them to sleep or play. Another comical quirk is he likes to stick his snout beneath the surface of water and blow bubbles.
Tug of war is his favorite game to date, but on a recent trip to Mt. Lemmon, he had a blast racing up and down the slopes chasing after the kids as they sled downhill. He also loved chasing after rolling snowballs the family made, bouncing and bounding along behind them. Patrick found out that if you toss snowballs at him, he jumps up on his hind legs and tries to catch them as well. Either way, he likes eating them.
As we noted, Hooch had been fostered previously, spending 2 ½ months with foster mom Tally, who runs True Dog Daycare, where he spent most of his time playing with the other doggos. Counting his foster experience, the Frost family is his fourth and final stop in what is now his forever home. A go-with-the-flow kinda dog, fun and cuddly, Hooch compliments them, and they couldn’t be happier with the new addition to their family unit.
2nd Place Winner Zizou the Adventure Dog
Also turning 1 in December, our adorable 2nd place winner was adopted from the Arizona Humane Society by Mason Kuluris and her partner. A parvo puppy, Zizou eventually went from terribly sick to amazingly spry, but it took time for his extreme nervousness to subside. Initially, getting him to go on neighborhood walks was nigh impossible. But, as Mason tells it, his first time hiking, he was “like a whole different dog.” It turns out he loves being in nature, hiking, biking, and kayaking with his parents, hence the “adventure dog” moniker bestowed upon him.
At home on the trails, super-active Zizou trades in his jaunty StitchxSkein mushroom cap he sported for pix for Ruffwear gear, such as a flannel or fleece, and Rex Specs protective eyewear. And he needs them for many of the adventures he regularly participates in. His family enjoys hiking all over Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, selecting a new spot every other weekend to explore. Recently, he and his mom went backpacking on a 10-mile hike. Although they’ve worked Zizou up to it gradually, before hitting the trails, they still apply a pre-hike wax and a salve post-hike.
On a new front, the Chiweenie-Corgi mix has taken up running 1-3 miles 3x a week with Mason. He’d like to do more, she said, but they’re taking it slow. Due to his young age, they waited until he was a year old and got veterinarian approval for running to avoid creating joint damage at an early age. He’s been given the clear, and he’s loving every minute of it.
He’s also psyched about trips to Mt. Lemmon, where he dons fleece booties and rollicks in the snow as best he can with his short legs. While bicycling with mom, he enjoys hanging his head over her shoulder for a better vantage point from his perch in her backpack. In what seems like serendipity, his personality is very much like his pet parents, and they’re over the moon about him.
Zizou loves chicken in any form and beavertail, a jerky chew they bring along on hikes. He’s crazy about his Barkbox items he gets in the mail each month, with his favorite toy being a squeaky sloth. Another burrower and bed hog, he also kicks his parents out of bed like Hooch, though he has a little teepee bed to chill in, too. Mason’s brother of Kuluris Woodworking built a custom-made shelf for all of Zizou’s gear.
While this was his first photo contest, he came in 2nd recently at an event that would have led to a TV commercial for a national pet food chain! He’ll be notified in the spring regarding another chance at an audition, so perhaps we’ll see him on our screens soon.
3rd Place Winner Oliver
A sweet 8-year-old Cockapoo mix once the runt of the litter, the Corona family has had Oliver, or “Ollie,” as they call him, since he was a puppy. Like Zizou, he was sick, and in his case, the only one to survive among his siblings. He was so ill he needed bottle feeding, but they nursed him back to health to become a spunky little fella. Known as their great protector, he barks to alert his family if he thinks someone or something is afoot.
Felicia, his mom, shared that he was recently featured in Tucson photographer Candace Eaton’s 2021 pet calendar for February. As with our 1st and 2nd place winners, Ollie prefers walks in the park over street strolls. Felicia’s sons Emilio and Marcelo taught him to roll over, and her daughter Miana takes him to Starbucks for “pup cup” treats. Hesitant at first, after a tentative lick, he ended up wearing whipped cream everywhere. Adored by her three kids, he gets sad whenever family members leave and loses his mind upon their return.
Ollie enjoys playing and napping with his cousin, a canine named Yoda. That’s Felicia’s sister’s dog. Ollie’s quirk is sleeping upside down in his doggie bed, and he’s a well-known fan of belly rubs. Like Hooch, he’s surprisingly rough on toys.
His mom put together his WOOFstock costume for the contest, and he’ll be receiving a terrific prize via natural pet product purveyors Gaia Provides.