Rocco, a 3-year-old German shepherd, seemed to have a good life with his family until they found out another family member was on the way. When Rocco's owners realized they were having a baby, they took their sensitive and loyal dog and abandoned him at the Dallas Animal Services shelter. Shaking and shivering in fear, Rocco cowered in the corner of his kennel, fearful of the future.
A woman visiting the shelter saw how sad and frightened Rocco was in the shelter. She took a video of him and posted it online asking people for help. The DFW German Shepherd Rescue stepped in and said it would take him. Preethi Pillaipakkam, a DFW foster volunteer, immediately went to the shelter to take Rocco home.
“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. He even hid beneath the seat in the car. He was pacing a bit and seemed very stressed.”
Healthy adult German shepherds should weigh between 85 and 90 pounds; Rocco was barely 60. Pillaipakkam took him to her house and began the process of letting him relax and winning his trust. Rocco had been hurt and scarred by his family's abandonment, and it would take time for him to put his faith in another human being again.
Within a few days, Rocco was less stressed, and with the help of Pillaipakkam's other German shepherd, Rocco began to play with dog toys. “This is a giant step for Rocco who had completely shut down,” explained Pillaipakkam.
Once Rocco placed his love and trust in Pillaipakkam, he followed her everywhere. In the meantime, Rocco's story went viral, and the DFW German Shepherd Rescue was inundated with adoption applications and offers for the beautiful, loyal dog.
It turned out, however, that Rocco had already found his forever home with Pillaipakkam. Rocco has been formally adopted by her and now has his own Instagram account that regularly updates his progress as Rocco continues to grow and come into his own.
“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.”
Thankfully, Rocco now has a family that will never abandon him, and he can live the good life that all dogs deserve.