Coco, the female brindle boxer who was shot and left for dead along County Road X48 late last year, now has a forever home, complete with loving parents and a puppy brother who can’t get enough of his new sister.
Found seizing in the snow Dec. 28, 2018, Coco has made a remarkable recovery by all accounts, thanks to the comfort and care of Dr. Steve Smolen and his staff at the Animal Hospital of Telluride over the past eight-plus months.
While Coco has been ready for a new family since March, Jessica Brown and Alex Delaney of Montrose picked her up last week to take her home to their ranch after family friend Lori Hills suggested they meet her a couple months ago.
Hills — who owns Komfy K9, a Montrose-based pet bed business — was chatting to Smolen about carrying her product in his pet store, Pet Telluride, when he mentioned Coco.
“Dr. Smolen called me about buying some product. It was during that conversation that he started telling me about Coco,” Hills said. “The minute he started telling me, (Brown and Delaney) came to mind immediately because they’re amazing people.”
Brown and Delaney lost their English bulldog Starlee Jane in June to cancer at the age of 16 and were considering adopting a puppy when Hills told them about Coco. It was love at first sight.
“Starlee had a similar face and personality as Coco,” Brown said. “ … I was planning to get a puppy, but when I heard about Coco and then I met her it felt like maybe my dog had sent her to me.”
The couple’s heeler-Catahoula mix Ashi agreed.
“He ran right up to her, and she instantly started wagging her tail and playing with him” Brown said. “They’ve been in love ever since. They don’t stay more than six inches apart from each other at any given time.”
Hills was there for the fateful meeting.
“It was cute. She was kissing Alex and Jessica,” she said. “Dr. Smolen said she’s never taken to anyone as quickly as she did to them. It really blew their mind, too. They’re perfect parents for her.”
Coco, who had to learn how to walk again after being shot in the head with a small caliber firearm that scattered bullet fragments throughout the tissue surrounding the upper spine area, has adapted well to her new situation, Brown explained, even getting along with the turkey and five chickens that also live on the farm.
“She is just sweet with them. The whole funny farm just seems to be in sync,” she said. “She also learned how to use the dog door after the first day. It’s a little short for her, but she doesn’t even care; she just bashes through the dog door.”
Given her horrid past, the couple is taking a gentle approach to house training Coco, which seems to be working.
“She’s starting to trust and know that she doesn’t have to be scared about something bad happening,” Brown said.
While on the phone with the Daily Planet Thursday, Brown paused mid-sentence.
“She just ran by the door bouncing a ball. Coco and Ashi have matching play balls. … Hi, baby,” she said to Coco. “She just brought it in here and dropped it on the floor by me. She’s very content.”
The next chapter in Coco’s story, which the Planet has followed and covered since December, seems to be one of new beginnings and love. Both Hills and Brown agree that the circumstances that brought Coco into their lives were as random as anything, but also serendipitous.
“We felt like she was meant to be a part of our family,” Brown said.