Colorado’s 9-year-old pet drive gets big community support: “A little wish goes a long way”

When CBS News Colorado spread the word about the 9-year-old Highlands Ranch Christmas Pet Drivethe community jumped into action, and the drive received more donations than the Dumb Friends League.

After losing her dog on Christmas Eve last year, Millie Kokoczka wanted this Christmas to make sure every pet without an owner gets a gift to open on Christmas.

“In memory of my dog ​​Bella,” Millie said, “because I really missed her, and I wanted other pets to have toys for Christmas.”

Related: Highlands Ranch hosts Colorado holiday pet drive after 9-year-old dog dies

Millie made flyers and spread the word about her wish. She asked the community to donate food, toys, bedding and other pet supplies.

“From my mom and dad’s gym, my school, my friends, my mom and dad’s work and many other places,” Millie said.


Their reaction was more than Millie or her parents could have ever imagined.

“We hoped to fill one box and we filled four cars,” said Millie’s mom, Ashley Kokoczka. “Everyone grabbed a box and the community supported a 9-year-old’s Christmas wish. Truly magical.”

Weeks later, they delivered the donations to the Denver Dumb Friends League — just in time for Christmas.

“To see four trucks pull over because one person asked a question and the community rallied around it was really overwhelming,” said Mindy Robinson with the Dumb Friends League.

The Denver Police Department even stopped by with their K9s to show support and Millie got to hand over the first toy to a dog named Rosco.


“It was a lot of fun and I think he really liked it,” Millie said.

A Christmas miracle that came true thanks to the wish of a 9-year-old boy and the spirit of his community.

“It’s so crazy that a little girl started all this,” said Mike Kokoczka, Millie’s father.

“A little wish goes a long way,” agreed Ashley Kokoczka.

The Dumb Friends League told CBS News Colorado that not only did they receive enough donations from Millie to make sure every pet had a toy for Christmas, but they had more than they needed. Found more that they were able to share with smaller partner shelters.

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