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Cocoa – 5-6-Year-Old Female Black Lab Mix 56-lbs Spayed

Background: Cocoa, along with another female black Lab mix (Joy) and a Chow were all surrendered to the San Jose animal shelter as the Chow reportedly broke through the fence, killed a neighbor's Chihuahua and brought the dog back onto the property where s/he lived with Cocoa and Joy. The owner opted to surrender all of the dogs when animal control was called. Cocoa was pretty scared and shutdown at the shelter, clinging to any person who would give her attention.

What Cocoa's foster has to say: We are Cocoa's second foster home and have had her for two weeks (as of Jan 4). Cocoa was pretty shut down when she was picked up from the shelter. When the first staff member brought her out, she had her tail tucked and was trembling. As he passed her leash onto another staff member, she pulled towards him wanting to follow him back inside. Cocoa did well with the first foster, but not with his roommate. She didn't take to him since day one and with limited space in an apartment without a yard, we decided to move her to a different setup. My home consists of me, my husband, and our three Labs (one senior female and two adult males). Cocoa immediately took very well to all of the dogs; I think they were the key that helped her realize everything would be okay. She has tried to play with each of them, and only one is sometimes up for it. The older female wants nothing to do with her and let Cocoa know that from her first attempt to play; since then, Cocoa knows to leave the Queen Bee alone. With the prior information of how she reacted to the first foster's roommate, my husband and I took her on a walk, together, alternating who was holding the leash for the first few days. Inside the home, she is leashed in the kitchen when we're in separate parts of the home, to prevent her from clinging to one of us. If we're all together, in the house, or backyard, she's welcome to join us and if she gets under one person, we will move and leash her apart from us. With holiday guests, we leashed Cocoa and walked her outside to meet them at their cars and we all walked together inside the house. We've taken her to a friend's home, with one of our dogs, and she did well meeting four new people (three adults and one college student). As of this writing, this is her 14th day with us, and it's within the last two days, that she appears more secure, not needing to cling to one person, greeting with a wagging tail, and for the first time, jumped into the car last night vs. one of us having to carry her.

Most of our walks have been around the neighborhood, which is pretty quiet and boring. She's been on a couple of trail walks encountering lots of dogs, people, and bike riders. She does pull towards some other dogs, especially smaller ones.

I think she'd do well with another large, compatible dog (or dogs); I don't know how she is with small dogs or cats. She does chase squirrels.

She knows sit, down, and shake. She quickly learned the spot where she's supposed to eat and sleeps quietly through the night in a crate.

She does jump on you when she gets excited.

She's quiet for the most part and will alarm bark when deliveries arrive.

She rides nicely in the car, either in the backseat or on a bed in the cargo area. She needs to be secured to keep her in one area of the car and to prevent her from jumping out when you reach your destination.

She's never had an accident in the house, and we give her plenty of access to the yard.

What Cocoa's Rescue Rep has to say: Cocoa will need a steady and patient adopter who is willing to give her the time and room to come out of her shell and feel secure. Once she knows you, she will stick by you. The presence of another dog (or dogs) in the adopter’s home would be a great thing for Cocoa. Not good for a family with children, small dogs, or cats as we don't know her history. She will benefit from more exposure to the outside world where she can meet different people, maybe get into a dog socialization class and, or participate in a pack walk with her new adopter or a dog walker.

Medical: Cocoa appears to be in good health. Spayed, current on vaccinations, microchipped, and heartworm negative. We don't know her age and are guesstimating that she is 5-6 years old.

Merry is located in: San Jose.

If you are interested in adopting Cocoa, please contact Rescue Rep Kris at

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Our volunteers donate their personal time & phones so please only call during reasonable hours (8am - 8pm). The Rescue Rep identified in the dog posting is the only person with information about the dog - please only contact the designated volunteer. We do call everyone back within 2-3 days so please be patient. We work very hard to make the right matches for the dogs and for the new owners. We get 3-5 dogs per week; we do not have a facility where the dogs are housed, they are in foster homes throughout the Bay Area.