Coca was over 13 years old when she became the first foster dog at the Santa Barbara Humane Society. Her foster Mom ultimately adopted Coca and she lived the rest of her years with the love and devotion of her forever family. It was that foster “experiment” with Coca that helped pave the way for a formal program at the Humane Society. The program has been appropriately named “Coca’s Companions.”
Coca was a 55 pound Chow/Black Lab mix with glossy midnight black fur plus a hint of white markings, one ear that stuck straight up and another that flopped, warm brown eyes and a tail that corkscrewed off to the side. While amazingly energetic and feisty for her age, she also was quite sweet, gentle and good-natured. In short, she was an endearing girl.
In August 2015, after eye surgery followed by six months in renal failure, Coca went over the rainbow bridge at the ripe old age of 16 ½. She was a very special girl who deserved a better earlier life. In her memory, it is hoped that many more deserving animals – both canine and feline – will follow in her footsteps, be fostered and find forever homes.
Coca was brought to the Humane Society in 2006 when she was about seven years old. Her “Dog Profile” on the in-take form gave a sense of how she’d lived those early years. She was an “outside only” dog who spent at least eight hours a day alone in her dog house, which is where she also slept. She had no training, was in a yard fenced by a four foot brick wall and appears to have lived primarily on the patio.
Once at the Humane Society, she began the next stage of her life under the attentive care of Humane Society staff and volunteers to whom she became a favorite. Coca was twice featured in the SB News Press – once as Pet of the Week and another in a special feature on animals who were “Long Timers” at area shelters. But, probably due to her age and the so-called “black dog syndrome,” Coca remained at the shelter.
In the winter of 2012 a former volunteer who had taken a real liking to Coca was amazed that Coca had never been adopted and inquired as to whether she could foster her. Upon learning that there was no foster program, the volunteer came daily to walk Coca. Soon thereafter, however, the volunteer was allowed to take Coca home as a foster on a trial basis.
In late 2012 the foster Mom, who was now in a position to adopt Coca, took her home as her own. Finally, Coca was able to spend the last nearly three years of her life with a loving Mom, Dad and three senior furry siblings – two cats and a dog. While originally judged “not good with cats” on her Humane Society cage, she quickly came to really like her own cats and they returned the favor.
Coca immediately adapted to home life, even settling herself on the couch without invitation one of her first days. She loved her walks, particularly along East Beach and at La Cumbre Plaza. In shadow there was always an ear reaching to the sky and the other furiously flapping as she vigorously walked. She adored riding in the car, with her nose lifted to the air taking in all the new and wonderful smells. Coca also was extremely content investigating or just lying peacefully in her new big yard.
Related: Foster Program