Coco was still standing

This post that is not for the faint of heart. Graphic details follow. It is a hard, sad read. But it must be said, for the record, now that the legal process is almost complete. In all the media reports about Steve’s murder and the court process, it was written that Steve was with our dog, Coco. All reports referred to it as, “The dog was also shot but survived”. Some mentioned that she was on the leash.

Morrison Haze Lampley pled guilty to two first degree murders – Steve’s and Audrey Carey’s in San Francisco a couple of days earlier. He also admitted to using the firearm intentionally when he did use it. Lampley had a total of 10 charges to his name, but the other eight will be dismissed during the sentencing hearing on Tuesday. One of the dismissed charges was for animal cruelty.

Lampley’s conviction papers will not show that he is guilty of animal cruelty – which really, he is – so I want to advocate for my dog who cannot speak for herself.

After shooting Steve, Lampley put the gun to Coco’s right eye and pulled the trigger. The bullet traveled down through her skull and came out at the back of her left jawbone, shattering part of it. Coco was severely injured. When the First Responders arrived, Coco was quietly, calmly standing by Steve’s side, still leashed, bleeding profusely. She was not barking, crying or whimpering. She was not lying down.

Let me say this again: Coco was still standing calmly, severely injured, with her favorite human Steve lying shot dead by her side.

Learning the details of Coco’s bravery, only a couple of months ago, broke my heart all over again. My dog. Oh, the pain in my heart. Coco was still standing. How can I ever look at her without crying?

I was told about the murder at 3:30am on October 6th, 2015. It took until the evening that day to find out what happened with Coco. Where she was. I was completely freaked out, and today still give thanks to those friends who gave everything they could to locate Coco for me.

Coco was rescued, taken to an emergency clinic, and Marin Humane Society funded her intensive medical treatment — she spent almost three months in a leading specialist veterinary hospital. I was not allowed to visit her there at first because of our emotional trauma – hers and mine, and because she was “evidence”. But when we did see each other after three weeks there was so much joy!

Coco lost her eye, several of her teeth, and received a prosthetic jaw implant, in a surgery by a revered and highly specialized canine dental surgeon. It was discovered that she has a bleeding disorder that prevents her blood from clotting. Many blood conserves had to be found that match with Coco’s blood so that she could undergo surgery safely. That the dog is still alive is a complete miracle!

That’s why she is also known as Coco the Wonderdog.

If it had not been for Cindy Machado from Marin Humane Society and those generous souls who donate to MHS, Coco would not be alive today. Coco and I have received so much love and support from Cindy and her team, and MHS at large, I can never thank them enough. Same for the doctors, nurses and the entire team of the veterinary hospital. Coco was taken care of with so much love, tenderness and determination to save her life and to give her the best treatment available.

Due to her jaw injury, Coco is no longer allowed to chew on bones or do any rough mouth play with other dogs, and play tug or similar. She has adapted extremely well to having only one eye, and when we play fetch, she fetches with the right side of her muzzle. She made it. Her life is good.

Coco is my lifeline. I have said this many times to my closest, most trusted friends, and to my therapist – if it had not been for Coco surviving, I would not be alive today. Coco inspires me with her courage. Her zest for life. Her amazing strength and her ability to move beyond the trauma into the here-now. She gives me hope and strength.

A few days after she was released from the hospital back in late December 2015, I took her to the place where they were shot. I was afraid what her reaction might be. She just sniffed around, looked at the image of Steve and the flowers there, and moved on.

For a little uplift, watch Coco run.

43 replies
  1. Danielle Adair
    Danielle Adair says:

    Amazing how animals process grief, loss and pain. They live in the now. Coco is a miracle. Thank the goddess for her!

  2. Antonia
    Antonia says:

    Beautiful brave Coco! What a moving story. Unbelievable that they dropped the animal cruelty charge.
    But I am sure the killer will make lots of ‘friends’ in prison after reading this story. Thank you for posting this Lokita.

  3. Tres Fontaine
    Tres Fontaine says:

    Sending love and gratitude for such an amazing creature, Coco. I will forever feel so heartbroken and confused about what heppened, and I admire your sharing of your journey with all of us. Love from me to you, Steve, and Wonderdog Coco forever.

  4. dan argraves
    dan argraves says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. Yes, all too often animals are just brushed away in times of concern. Many blessings to you both.

  5. Derek
    Derek says:

    So moved reading this. I didn’t realize it was you two when I first saw coco at the market in montezuma and you first told me that coco had an accident. Coco could be my girl Eva’s twin sister which makes this all hit even deeper in my core. Sending the two of you so much love.
    Derek w

  6. Kamala shalini
    Kamala shalini says:

    Oh Lokita this is so deeply touching. Love & blessing to you and your beautiful love filled Coco. Hugs and kisses Shalini

  7. Jim Fritz
    Jim Fritz says:

    The primary question I ask myself over and over is: How does a culture take a sweet little baby boy and in 20 years turn him into a MONSTER?? If America does not answer that questions and do it accurately and THEN do whatever it takes to correct those causal factors, America will see MORE of this horror generation after generation. WE MUST STOP creating more of these monstrous situations.

  8. Kim Stanley
    Kim Stanley says:

    wow wow wow… Coco the Wonderdog/god. It is truly a miracle that Coco survived, and that if she was standing, why the murderer didnt shoot again. Maybe she got up after he fled, to protect Steve, and guard him. It is also amazing that the Paramedics arrived so soon after, or she likely would not have made it. I wonder why couldnt the police simply tell you Coco was standing two years ago? what is up with all the withholding? I am furious that they would not charge the killer with animal cruelty with all the living evidence to prove it and his admitting to it. What a shame. And, yes, he will suffer anyway..and Coco defied all odds of his animal cruelty. She prevailed. She lives on, as a part of Steve to heal you, protect you, remind you, bring joy and hope to ALL of us!!! LOVe to you, thank you for sharing.

  9. Todd Kaufmann
    Todd Kaufmann says:

    Lokita I so agree with you that the other inmates should find out about him and treat him worse than he did to sweet Coco. Pets can so be a lifeline to our healing for how present they are and give unconditionally their love. Many kisses and hugs to you both.

  10. Jack Lehnert
    Jack Lehnert says:

    Thank you for sharing, Lokita. Coco, the wonder dog ,surrounded Steve with love and courage during his passing.

  11. `Jocelyne
    `Jocelyne says:

    Doberman are such great an brave dogs.
    So glad Coco is still with you to remind us how their heart is so full of love despite all the evil in the world

  12. Laurie Loving
    Laurie Loving says:

    Burst into fresh tears at the inhumanity of these horrific acts against Steve and Coco. On her feet. I”m so glad she survived to be with you. With each other. Big heart of love for you.

  13. melantha
    melantha says:

    Tears and more tears, both sadness, compassion and anger…escaping animal cruelty charges!! What is with our courts?? Coco the Wonder Dog, so very precious and full of love…glad to have the video of her happily romping on the beautiful beach at the end, tamed some of the frustration and gladdened my heart. So much for you to go through, dear Lokita. Your strength continues to inspire. Love ❤️

  14. linda zimmerman
    linda zimmerman says:

    Speechless; I’ve always wondered about Coco and knew the details would cause an enormous visceral and heart crushing response. Our canine companions deserve much more recognition for their loyalty and the comfort they bring. I will be hugging my two dogs and sending our love your way on this Easter day which I’ve always considered a day of “rebirth”…Coco and you have certainly been reborn. God Bless the courage you two share and display to us all.

  15. Anne Moore
    Anne Moore says:

    As a dog owner it brought tears to read that they hurt Coco like that. She is a real beauty, and so loving and loyal and good – It is a mercy that the universe left you Coco when it took everything else. I am sure it must do you good to be able to give her many moments of doggie joy to share in while your own happiness is still elusive. You are two admirable survivors….damaged but working around it, turned towards life and seeking the best that it can be.

  16. Holly and Brian
    Holly and Brian says:

    Such loyalty and courage, dear Coco! You are indeed a Wonderdog. And now you have a new mission.
    Loving you and Lokita…

  17. Rebecca L Kuga
    Rebecca L Kuga says:

    I am very grateful to have met you and Coco. You are both shining examples of strength, courage, tenacity and love. Much love and many blessings to you both.

  18. Thomas Braum
    Thomas Braum says:

    Words seem so hollow. Just amazing and inspiring on all levels. I’ve never known quite what to write to convey how sad I felt about the whole event. When I saw you briefly at the memorial nothing substantive came out either. Reading your posts I feel both very sad and inspired at the same time. I wish you and Coco well.

  19. linda zimmerman
    linda zimmerman says:

    I posted this on Stern Grove Dog Owner’s Group (Facebook..San Francisco); Coco’s story is being heard by many compassionate folks who also love and respect their dogs and support you. Stern Grove is a beautiful, expansive dog park surrounded by eucalyptus trees..a sanctuary for dogs and their people. The other end of the Grove is a concert venue with free Sun. summer concerts and music wafting through the air. Peaceful…

  20. Sue Tobias
    Sue Tobias says:

    Despite this horrific tragedy, Coco the Wonderdog embodies so much of what is good in this life! It is such a thankful miracle that she survived and is now thriving with your love and care. Thank you for sharing her story and yes, how uplifting to see her run!

  21. Marianne Angelo
    Marianne Angelo says:

    I’m so sorry you had to endure this heartwrenching tragedy on top of going through treatment. I continue to look at my 16 year old dog with complete admiration, deep love and gratitude for her existence and that she was by my side while I too went through treatment. It’s a unique bond which I believe goes both ways.

  22. wildflower
    wildflower says:

    oh my dogs, another miracle story here. simply, profoundly, amazing. dog is god spelled backwards.
    ps. me too, i don’t think i would have made it through my own personal crisis without my dog. thank you dogs. thank you gods.
    thank you for sharing. deep peace & love.

  23. Norma J Wallace
    Norma J Wallace says:

    Just wanting to share prayers for peace. Amazing Coco. WOW. Dog is definitely my copilot. Peace to you both.


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