From the cage to the castle, Cocoa Maeckle Rivard lived the life of a lucky dog.
Rescued from the Humane Society in San Antonio, Texas, Cocoa was known as “Lady” when her family first chanced upon her in May 2004. She was the first and only Chowbrador in the Maeckle Rivard clan, a distinction made known from the black spot on her tongue.
Cocoa began her charmed life in a lush backyard in the urban enclave of Alamo Heights. She split her time between the pecan shaded backyard there and a beautiful ranch on the Llano River in the Texas Hill Country where she loved to race up and down the grassy riverbank trail. In later years, she relocated to Austin, the Lavaca neighborhood of San Antonio, and finally, to King William near the San Antonio River.
Cocoa was a trailblazer in more ways than romping. She graduated with honors from PetSmart Basic Training in 2005. At the young age of four, she joined the staff of Business Wire at their office on Broadway for several years, making a daily trek to the San Antonio River and providing canine therapy to stressed out newsroom editors.
Several years later, she became the first canine collaborator at the Texas Butterfly Ranch, exploring swamp milkweed stands along the Llano River in search of monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars. Check out the video documentary here.
In 2012, she became the first canine correspondent and spokesdog for the local, independent news website, the Rivard Report. When San Antonio experienced its first doggy daycare facility in the downtown area, Cocoa was on the case, checking out the kennels, playing with the other rescues and purebreds, even submitting to an under cover bath-and-brush to provide first-paw insights for urban dogs and their owners. She tweeted regularly from her Twitter account, @quepawdre, but like many of us, grew tired of the demands of social media.
In 2016, Cocoa strutted her stuff as cover dog and spokes canine for SAWS, San Antonio’s public water utility, in a series promoting rain gardens and sustainable gardening.
Cocoa never met another pooch she didn’t like and was known for her friendly manner and welcome sniffs. She befriended felines as well as canines, and enjoyed hanging out with cat friends Chester, Cookie, and Houdini.
Cocoa adored heading to the family’s Llano River ranch. As soon as she saw the ice chest move from the garage to the kitchen for packing, she wagged her tail in a hip-swinging dance that exuded joy and anticipation.
In her waning years, Cocoa became hard of hearing and a champion sleeper. Stoic even when pained, she always enjoyed visits from her cousins Brisket and Cacteye, as well as her good friends Cora and Turkey. But age got the best of her, as it always does.
She passed peacefully a recent afternoon, surrounded by her whole family, giving her hugs, pets and kisses, and gratitude for 15+ years of love, friendship and devotion. She rests peacefully under a heritage pecan tree, tucked between the house and Casita that she most recently called home near the historic King William district.
We miss you already, beloved Cocoa. You will be forever loved, always missed, never forgotten.