Rocco: And the best news of all…

 

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Rocco was adopted today!

It wasn’t by the man who was interested in him all along. It was by a woman named Maxi, who had fallen in love with Rocco on his foster mom, June’s, Facebook page originally, but had decided that her two dogs and three cats were enough, so she would refrain. Even though her third dog had recently passed away, and Rocco reminded her an awful lot of this dog. Two dogs was enough.

And then Rocco ran away in a thunder storm. Maxi was devastated reading about it on June’s Facebook page, as were all of June’s friends.  She hoped, and prayed that Rocco would return, and told herself that if he did, she would offer to make him hers (as Maxi had extensive experiences with escape artist dogs afraid of thunder.)

And he did.

And she did.

I contacted the man who was planning to adopt Rocco and explained the situation. I mentioned that the doggy door he was planning would probably not be a great idea, in case Rocco could bust out of the yard in another thunder storm. I explained that Rocco had an offer from a woman who was retired and would be home with him most of the time. And when she wasn’t, she would secure him in her laundry room with her other two dogs, where he would be safe and sound. And the man agreed that Maxi would be the better home for Rocco. (A win/win because I’m sure he will adopt another of our shelter dogs).

So at 2:30 today, June brought Rocco to the Friends of the Animals adoption event at Orvis and I met her there with Rocco’s health record (which I had kept in my car from running him to vet appointments). Maxi got there first. She couldn’t wait. You could tell.

Now Rocco is settled in at his new home with his two dog sisters who welcomed him with open paws, thank goodness. One of the cats even gave him an approving sniff on the nose. And he’s cuddled up on his new orthopedic bed beside Maxi’s bed, getting ready to live out the best years of the rest of his life.

Rocco? We love you so.

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June had a harder time saying goodbye to Rocco than she thought she would. But Maxi said she could visit any time.

Rocco on his new bed in his forever home.

Rocco on his new bed in his forever home.

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Rocco: Whoa

It has been a crazy few days in Rocco-land. The good news is, I was able to raise the money for Rocco’s surgery and he had it last Friday. And it went well, though we are waiting for the pathology report on the tumors removed and hoping everything is benign.

The morning of his surgery last Friday. A little early for Rocco to rise and shine, apparently.

The morning of his surgery last Friday. A little early for Rocco to rise and shine, apparently.

The bad news is, two days later, we had terrible thunderstorms here and while Rocco’s foster mom, June, was out, Rocco had a little freak-out. He squeezed himself through a cat door, busted through the screened in porch, and escaped while June was away. She was distraught and searched the neighborhood with friends, but no luck. It was a very sad and restless night that June spent with Rocco on the lam.

We posted signs all over her neighborhood, including in the park near the state capitol where I was starting to think, on day 4 of him missing, that Rocco was gone for good. I imagined him trapped in a drain pipe or caught under bushes by his harness. I imagined all sorts of things I won’t share because the world is sad enough without my horrible fantasies. Although he has a microchip, Rocco wasn’t wearing tags, because he’s a foster dog (and let me tell you, neither June nor I will ever make that mistake again; we’ll have tags made up that say “foster” with our respective phone numbers on them for our respective foster dogs. By the way, read this  article on how to make sure you don’t lose your dog in the first place, and how to get him back if you do).

Most importantly, I posted him on the Lost Pets of Baton Rouge Facebook page, describing his blue harness, his shaved back (he’d had a hot spot and the vets thought it best to remove the hair) and his incisions. And today, after I’d left a lunch meeting downtown, I got a call from a woman named MaryKay. She said she’d seen Rocco outside of her office (which was about a mile or two away from his foster home) but hadn’t been able to catch him. Then she saw his picture and description on the Lost Pets of Baton Rouge Facebook Page, where she’d gotten my phone number. She gave me the address of her office, and I was five minutes away, so I drove right there.

When I arrived, she met me downstairs and pointed to the areas where she’d seen him on the street. “I knew he had to be someone’s dog because of the blue harness,” she said, “But every time I took a step towards him, he ran away.”

Poor boy was still afraid, four days after that thunderstorm. I thanked her and did a lap around the block, calling his name and looking in bushes. I asked a little old  man taking out the garbage if he’d seen a dog and he shook his head. No dog. I turned the corner and asked a middle aged man doing construction on a ramshackle cottage alongside the interstate if he’d seen a dog. He pointed to an alley between the house he was working on and the house next door to it and I said, “Really?” My heart was in my throat. I took a couple of steps in that direction and called, “Rocco!” And guess who popped right out from under that house and throttled me with love and kisses?

Rocco.

There is nothing happier than the abrupt ending of horrible fantasies. I clipped the leash I was carrying in my bag onto his harness and took him to meet MaryKay and say thank you. And snap their picture:

RoccoFound

MaryKay, you made my freakin’ day! Rocco’s too! Oh, and you have extremely cool cowboy boots.

Then I gave the boy a treat from my bag (yes, my bag is like a mini-Petsmart), loaded him up in the car and took him back to June’s house. I have a key to June’s house, because part of our deal when I asked her to foster Rocco was that I would help with stuff like getting him to vet appointments and out for walks on her long work days. Fostering is great but it can also be time consuming, as shelter dogs are often sick, and so fostering partnerships like this can be a great way of saying yes when you might otherwise have to say no.

Anyway, neither of us ever knew what Rocco’s journey might entail (repeated vet visits for kennel cough and surgery and then a great escape and great reuniting). But I can promise you that neither of us regret stepping up for him for even one minute.

And the adopter who was interested in him a month ago? Still interested! In fact, this great guy is putting in a doggy door at his house and then wants to have Rocco over for an overnight visit in a few days to see how it goes. Of course, we will make sure his fence is secure, and we’re going to try out Rocco with a Thunder shirt  so that next time there’s a storm, he remains calm. In fact, I wish they would make those for people because next time there’s a storm, I think I could use one myself after this.

Meet Rocco

Rocco, the night he got to June's house. Very happy to be out of the shelter, but still a little confused. Thought he'd stick by the front door, just in case those five cats and two chickens didn't like him.

Rocco, the night he got to June’s house. Very happy to be out of the shelter, but still a little confused. Thought he’d stick by the front door, just in case those five cats and two chickens didn’t much like him.

Say hi to Rocco, one of the most laid back easy-going fellas around.

Last month Rocco’s owner dropped him off at the shelter saying he had to work 24-hour shifts and Rocco was tearing up the house while his human was gone.  (Personally, I have yet to meet a dog that can go 24 hours without taking care of business, and I can’t say I could even pull that off myself).

“Don’t make this harder than it has to be,” Rocco’s owner said to the intake person at the shelter. I think that meant he didn’t want to hear the chances of Rocco making it out of the place alive, which frankly, were slim.  The shelter is overcrowded and Rocco’s owner said he was 13, not exactly the puppy that most people want to adopt when they go to a shelter (though each of the three vets who have examined him since says he appears to be between 8-10, so maybe the owner lost track of time).  I’m not sure whether the intake person told him or spared him, but either way, Rocco’s human left him there and went home alone.

It would be easy to judge a person harshly for dropping off a senior dog at a kill shelter, and especially one as sweet as Rocco. But not everyone has resources like a back yard and a doggy door if they find themselves needing to work a 24 hour shift, nor the wherewithal to find a new home for his or her pet. And there are people who do far worse to pets they can no longer keep. So I’m grateful that Rocco landed at the shelter, and then on my Facebook page. And then in the home of my friend, June, who agreed to foster him when I shared his picture and said I wasn’t able to foster him myself.

The good news is, Rocco has been sweet and angelic at June’s house, tearing up nothing at all and even ignoring her five cats and two chickens with whom he shares the backyard for hours at a time.

Further good news is that I brought Rocco on WAFB, a local tv news station that gives our shelter dogs exposure and helps them get adopted, and someone who works there  expressed interest in adopting Rocco himself.

But in the interim, two things cropped up:

The first was that Rocco developed kennel cough from the two nights he spent at the shelter. (Fortunately, that is nearly gone now).

The second was that upon further examination, one of the vets discovered two lumps on Rocco’s groin and one inside his cheek. These have to be removed and biopsied because nobody is going to want to adopt him without knowing what is going on.

The good news is, the vet gave us a very reasonable price to do the surgery ($260) and if I can raise the money with your help, we can move forward and assist Rocco in losing these tumors and finding his forever home. Even a donation of $5, $10, or $20 will help enormously, as I know there are many of you big hearted people out there willing to give up a Starbucks coffee or two on Rocco’s behalf. If you are willing to help, please visit www.fotabr.org

Please designate your donation “In honor of Rocco.” Once the funds are collected, we’ll be able to schedule his surgery. Any funds collected in excess of Rocco’s surgical expenses will go towards helping other dogs and cats that this rescue pulls from the shelter.

Friends of the Animals is a terrific organization that holds off site adoption events for shelter animals (where they are more likely to be adopted than at the shelter, which is far from the center of town), pays for heartworm treatment, collects supplies needed at the shelter, and has purchased a double wide trailer to accommodate approximately 50 nursing cats and kittens during their quarantine period as well as 20 other domesticated cats. And SO much more. They have also assisted me in placing many of the foster dogs I have had over the course of the past 18 months.

Please leave a comment below if you’re willing to help Rocco and please share any stories of your own senior dog(s). I love senior dogs! I have an 11 year old Lab and I think senior dogs are so special. They are past all that puppy silliness and they’re just happy to lie around and give you loving looks and tail thumps all day long.

I’ll keep you posted on the fundraising effort for Rocco and keep you updated on his health and (hopefully) good fortune. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. Big thanks to June, for taking Rocco in, and to Paula Schoen, for forming Friends of the Animals http://friendsoftheanimalsbr.org which has helped so many cats and dogs who have drawn the short straw in life to move onward and upward to the lives they so richly deserve.

Thanks for caring.

Rocco, about to make his television debut. Not at all nervous. In fact, a total natural.

Rocco, all smiles as he is about to make his television debut. He is a total TV natural.