KoKoLati Leather's Story

Mary's Journey

I grew up on a small ranch in sunny San Marcos, California with my mother, sister and grandparents. My mother passed on her love for art and I spent many days in my grandfather's workshop building furniture and working on various projects.  I had a great passion (alright, obsession) for animals, especially dogs! I was always bringing home a new pet, fostering dogs and even raised service dogs in high school. Little did I know, I would soon need a service dog myself.   


During my childhood I battled undiagnosed health issues, frequent injuries and illness. It wasn’t until I went to bed with a headache and woke up with central vision loss that I was sent to a specialist for testing. Eventually the pieces of the puzzle were put together and I was diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder and a rare eye condition. 
At a time when friends were heading off to college and taking road trips, I was at doctor appointments and at times too sick to leave my bed. 

A charming Golden Retriever named Riley stepped into my life, trained to protect and serve. He’s also incredibly goofy, a real entertainer and quite full of himself. The tasks he was trained to perform gave me independence, but the bond we share has had the biggest impact on my life. During difficult times, he makes it impossible for me not to smile.   

"A charming Golden Retriever named Riley stepped into my life, trained to protect and serve" 

I wanted something special to mark the day we graduated as a service dog team. While searching, I stumbled upon tooled leather products and was enchanted with the process. With heavy magnification and the wonderful 3 dimensional properties of leather tooling I was able to return to my love of art. I crafted the first collar in 2012 and KoKoLati Leather was born!

The response I received after posting that collar on Facebook has forever changed my life. I have been so overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers who have followed me on this journey. I have met so many wonderful people and their lovely dogs, heard such powerful stories of the pet/human bond, and made great friends. Each time I receive a picture of a dog in their collar or hear feedback from a happy customer, my day has been made! 

 Riley in the first KoKoLati Leather collar.

The Team

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