Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Copper Harbor Lighthouse

The Real Pack Leader

I was born on August 23, 2005, in Saginaw, Michigan.  My birth parents were Buck and Jenna.  Dad was a golden lab and Mom was chocolate.  I had siblings of all colors, but I was the only female chocolate in the litter.  I was introduced to Mr. & Mrs. Cut Off when I was very tiny.  My mom's people brought me to Julie's office, so I could get to know them before they adopted me.  I used to crawl up on Julie's neck and under her hair.  She doesn't let me do that anymore.  Soon after they got married in October of 2005, they came to get me and took me home to live with them in Saginaw and named me Cocoa.  I was really scared all the way to their house.  I cried all the way there and tried to climb out the window.  What was I thinking?  I didn't know life with them was going to be so good!
They were very impressed with my intelligence and my beauty.  We had a few unpleasant incidents during my first two years.  How was I to know that Mr. Cut Off wasn't going to like it when I chewed on the steering wheel of his golf cart and on the tire of the BBQ grill?  I was just trying to show him what sharp teeth I had.  I was very proud of the fact that I learned how to climb up and over the fence around my pen.  Yeah, he wasn't too thrilled about that either.  He blocked off the corners so I couldn't do that anymore.  Then, there was the infamous gray kitten incident.  We won't go into specifics, but I just want to defend myself by saying that I was only playing.  I didn't know kittens were so fragile.
All in all, life in Saginaw was really good.  I'm one of those free-range dogs.  I had the run of the property during the day, and Mr. Cut Off put me in the pen at night.  I would watch other dogs walk by with their people on leashes.  I could tell they envied me and my freedom, because they always tried to drag their people over to see me.  I would just sit there like a perfect angel and not even give them the time of day.  I came to realize that I had an important job to do in Saginaw.  My people didn't have anyone to guard them, so I volunteered, and I took my job seriously.  I would follow Mr. Cut Off from building to building throughout the day, and I would position myself on the back porch when he was in the house.  If he was outside, I would be the look-out.  Life wasn't all about work, however.  We played a lot, too.  I would get them to throw me their empty water bottles.  I can get one of those caps off in seconds.  Then, I tear off the label and chew on the bottle until it's a flattened mess.  Don't leave a tennis ball near me either.  I'll have that chewed to shreds in no time flat.  Wow, what fun.  Sometimes, we would go down the road to the neighbor's house, and Mr. Cut Off let me fish in the pond all afternoon.  I never did catch a minnow, but that didn't matter.  Those are good memories.  Yep, they were lucky to have me, and it didn't take me long to train them.
Life started changing right around the time I turned 6.  Mr. Cut Off was taking a lot of trips with trailers packed full of stuff, and he was putting lots of garbage bags out by the mailbox on garbage day for about two months.  Then, a huge truck showed up one day, and 3 men started moving furniture and boxes out of the house.  I didn't know what was happening.  My people drove away that evening and left me alone in my pen.  I was really worried.  Luckily, they showed up again early the next morning.  Mr. Cut Off and my friend, Mike, put my doghouse on the back of our red truck, and they put a red collar on me.  Mr. Cut Off put me up on the truck, chained me to my doghouse, and we started moving.  Julie got into their other vehicle and followed us.  I was in the back of that red truck for 10 hours and 15 minutes.  OK, OK, they did let me out quite often for potty breaks and short walks, but it was a long day.  I was a little nervous at first, especially when we crossed the Mackinac Bridge.  I thought about jumping into the water, but it looked like a long way down.  I decided it was smarter to stay put.  When we got to Newberry, I had a nice long walk at McDonald's, and Julie shared some McNuggets with me.  I wasn't as nervous after that.  Whenever I started to get a little scared, I would look for Julie.  She was still following us, and that made me feel better.  We finally started seeing some beautiful blue water.  I still didn't know where we were going, but I knew we would all be together, and the scenery was really pretty.  We finally made it to Calumet after dark.  Mr. Cut Off forgot my bowl back in Saginaw, but he fed me on a paper plate for two nights until he could buy me a new bowl.
My new friend, Josh, showed up that first night and helped Mr. Cut Off move my doghouse into the backyard of our new place.  This yard isn't nearly as big as my last one, but I can move freely around the whole thing because it's fenced.  That same huge truck showed up the morning after we arrived, and two of those men got out.  They moved lots of the furniture and boxes that used to be in the old house into this house.  I spent a day or two sniffing out my new territory, and I noticed that 3 dogs live next door.  I'm glad they're all house dogs because they drive me nuts when they're outside.  Would someone please tell him to be quiet?
 My people sometimes have to go away for a few days.  When they do, I go to the doggie motel.  I was very scared the first time I went, because I had never been to a place like that before.  When Mr. & Mrs. Cut Off went away when we lived in Saginaw, I stayed home, and my buddy, Mike, would come and feed me every day.  I miss Mike.  Going to the doggie motel is OK, though.  They treat me very well, so I wasn't scared the second time I went.  They feed me and walk me, and I get to meet new dogs whenever I go there.
      So, everything is going just great up here.  We get lots and lots of snow, and everyone loves me.  I have my mailman wrapped around my paw.  He gives me treats all the time.  Even if I'm in the backyard out of sight, he'll usually call me over to the gate to give me a snack.  Sometimes when Mr. Cut Off takes me for rides in the red truck, he'll stop and make his window go down.  He'll order coffee or get money at the bank.  I sit nicely and look incredibly cute, so the people at the window give me treats after they finish their business with him.
     One thing I really love to do is go to the property that my people own up by Eagle Harbor.  We usually ride in the red truck.  Mr. Cut Off lets me out by the gate, and I get to run down the driveway by myself.  He says we'll drive up there almost every day when the snow goes away, so I'm really looking forward to that.  There are so many things to sniff, and I smell things there that I've never smelled anywhere else.  They say we're going to live there one day.  I'll have a nice long driveway and over 11 acres to guard, and it will be my job to make sure the bears stay away.  Oh, that sounds like so much fun; I can't wait! 

Well, that's the story of my life so far.  If you would like to make an appointment to see me, just have your people call my people.

UPDATE: I moved out to the property with my people in April of 2015, and I have a great new super-insulated doghouse. I thought life was wonderful before, but life here is even better! I would like to report that I have chased a bear away! What great fun that was! I'm a wonderful guard dog. I get to wander around our property as I please, but I'm mostly content to stay near the house or barn or wherever Mr. Cut Off happens to be. I love being with him.

FINAL UPDATE: We lost Cocoa on March 28, 2016. To read more about her, click on the following link:

In Memory of Cocoa: 2005-2016

Best Dog Ever!


  1. A house becomes a home when you add one set of four legs, a happy tail, and that indescribable measure of love that we call a dog. She will fit in nicely.

  2. Hey julie! I am back on. Thanks for the info. Very nice pics. When was Steve's b day? Anyway happybirthday to him. God bless you guys. Love ya bill.