Animal shelters serve a good purpose for dogs who have been found wandering the streets. When a dog kept at home for a long time ends up in the shelter, that’s a whole new story. When pets end up at the shelter, they’re confused as to WHY they ended up there. This can be said for Rocco, a 3-year old German Shepherd. One minute he is being loved and adored by his humans, the next he’s shivering in a cage. His family had abandoned him at Dallas Animal Services in Texas — just because they were having a baby.
The video was posted by a woman visiting the shelter. It showed how gentle and afraid Rocco was. She hoped the video would find a rescue willing to take such a sweet dog in. Preethi Pillaipakkam, a foster through DFW German Shepherd Rescue, stepped in to help right away.
“At first I was surprised,” Pillaipakkam remarked about the fact Rocco was abandoned because of a new baby. “But once I saw how underfed he was, it did not surprise me. It is probably a combination of change in family situation, plus not [being] the best owners in the first place.”
German Shepherd scared and confused
When Pillaipakkam picked him up, Rocco only weighed around 60 pounds. This breed should weigh around 85 to 90 pounds. She knew right away it was going to take much love to help him mellow out.
“The shelter is certainly not the environment for a dog like Rocco,” Pillaipakkam said. “He was very timid and scared to get into the car. Rocco even hid beneath the seat in the car. He was pacing a bit and seemed very stressed.”
During the first couple of days he was confused about where he was at. He would walk around and timidly explore the surroundings. He was shy and timid. With the help of Pillaipakkam and her own dog, also a German shepherd, Rocco started coming around during his first weekend there.
Now, he’s playing with toys, chewing on bones, and coming out of his shell. Pillaipakkam captured this sweetie exploring the toy basket.
“He slowly started exploring the house,” Pillaipakkam said. “Rocco loves the couches and his doggy beds, and he really likes squeaky toys and tennis balls. He is a really good fetcher.”
Creating awareness against breed-based discrimination
“He was a bit aloof in the beginning,” Pillaipakkam explained, “but now he follows me around like a shadow.”
When his video went viral, the shelter received tons of requests for adoptions. While the adoption process continued, Pillaipakkam created an Instagram page just for Rocco and his adventures. She hopes to inspire other people to adopt large-breed dogs, ‘as it’s especially common for larger dogs to be relinquished to shelters due to changes in their owner’s living or family situation.’
“The top reasons for large dogs to be given away typically include a change in the family situation, so this could be a move, a kid, a marriage, a divorce or any such factors,” Pillaipakkam said. “With a German shepherd, and the prevalence of breed-based discrimination, it is getting harder and harder to find places to live with these breeds. We hope to bring awareness to this.”
We are not certain how long it took for Rocco to find his new forever home, we are just happy he did. His sad story of being abandoned has come to an end as he gets acquainted with his new forever home. We hope all the best for him and his new owners. If you want to see more of this adorable giant, please check out his Instagram page and drop him some love.
Here is a cute video of Rocco and his new sibling playing, enjoy!
Featured Image via screencapture from website The Dodo