The Perth dog home that boasted Red Dog star Koko as its ambassador has been swamped with donations since the red cloud kelpie passed away.
Dogs’ Refuge Home of Western Australia president Karen Rhodes said almost 70 donations totalling more than $2000 had been received overnight.
Ms Rhodes paid tribute to Koko, who succumbed to congestive heart disease on Tuesday, aged just seven.
Red Dog was based on a Louis de Bernieres novel about a real-life dog who wandered the remote red dirt of WA’s Pilbara in the 1970s.
The film was a huge hit at the box office, taking more than $21 million and becoming the eighth highest-grossing Australian film of all time.
Ms Rhodes heaped praise and condolences on Red Dog producer Nelson Woss, who adopted the award-winning canine star after they formed a close bond during the film shoot.
“He’s clearly really upset,” Ms Rhodes told AAP.
“Someone in our office said we should do something for him and when I called him to say ‘what can we do?’, he just said ‘the amount of flowers and cards in my house ... if I could convert that into donations for you or do some good for homeless dogs, then that would give me comfort’.”
Koko began his association with the refuge two years ago after co-patron Melanie Greensmith, founder of fashion label Wheels and Dollbaby, put Mr Woss in touch with its managers.
The support had helped with fundraising and increasing awareness about homeless dogs, Ms Rhodes said.
She echoed many others in saying Koko had a remarkable talent with facial expressions, responding to the subtlest instructions from his loving owner.
“Koko was a gorgeous dog and very friendly but clearly a one-man dog and just wanted to please Nelson the whole time,” she said.
Ms Rhodes encouraged anyone planning to buy a dog over Christmas to skip pet shops and adopt from the refuge.
“Please consider giving a dog a second chance. It is the most rewarding thing you could do.”
Operating for 78 years, the Shenton Park refuge is one of the oldest animal welfare agencies in Australia and has a no-kill policy.
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