Cocoa the Tour Dog (with 'Stick Figure')

Cocoa the Tour Dog (with 'Stick Figure')

Cocoa the Tour Dog

Touring the USA with Stick Figure, charity ‘The Cocoa Foundation’

By Jessica Farthing

At-risk shelter dogs have a new ally and she is gracing stages all around the United States. A rescued Australian Shepherd named Cocoa the Tour Dog is the figurehead of a new charity that aims to raise awareness and funds, using her fame to help other dogs in need.

In the early 2000’s, Scott Woodruff, the musical creative and lead singer of reggae band Stick

Figure, tragically lost his dog Holly to a coyote attack. It took some time to want to find another pet, but when he was ready, he started looking on websites for dogs from shelters. He found a picture of Cocoa and called about adoption, but she was sick and needed treatment first. It took three months of pursuing her through switches to multiple locations, illness and the constant worry of her being in a kill shelter to successfully bring Cocoa home. As Scott found, she was certainly worth it.

As Stick Figure’s touring schedule increased, Scott realized that leaving Cocoa at home would be difficult for both of them, so he decided to take her on the road. She joined them onstage, signature bandana tied around her neck, amazing the crowd with her enjoyment of the show. Cocoa loved to greet fans, accepting gifts and treats as word of her got out into the music community. The lights and sounds didn’t phase her, she seemed to soak up the atmosphere, popping the beach balls onstage and interacting with the crowd.

The fan base of the band has embraced Cocoa, bringing her stuffed toys at every concert and following her life on and off the stage on Instagram. With all this attention, Cocoa needed a mission. A charity was established, The Cocoa Foundation, with a goal to help homeless pets. At each location of Stick Figure’s “Above the Storm” tour in early 2018, local pet organizations were invited to set up tables, ask for donations and give out their information to everyone at the concert. They also got a portion of the merchandise sales for Cocoa’s line of reggae-inspired dog collars and bandanas. After the two-month schedule wrapped up, The Cocoa Foundation helped these groups earn about $4,000 in donations. There was even a pet adoption at one concert, and the excited fan that took the dog home named it “Woodruff” in honor of Scott.

After Hurricane Harvey, the band felt compelled to donate to the Houston SPCA. They took an additional $13,000 from their tour’s merchandise sales and gifted the organization to help with their overwhelming list of needs.

Stick Figure is touring again and Cocoa will be front and center, working her magic on the crowd. They will be in St. Augustine on July 19 on their “School’s Out for Summer” tour with Slightly Stoopid and Pepper. The band is hoping to increase the success of the foundation and area charities have been invited to attend the concert at all the stops. There is a sense of excitement at this grassroots effort to make a difference for homeless pets. Cocoa certainly approves. According to her friends in the band, she has already packed her favorite bandanas.

For more information, check the Foundation website, www.cocoathetourdog.com, and follow Cocoa on Instagram: @cocoathetourdog.

dave kosciolek