Rocco, a 3-year-old German Shepherd, was left at an animal shelter because his family was expecting a new baby. After arriving, Rocco quickly became a nervous wreck, cowering inside of his kennel. A woman who visited the shelter noticed that Rocco was underweight, but also began to work quickly in hopes of finding Rocco a new forever home.
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Rocco was abandoned at the Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center. According to a report by the Daily Mail, his family was expecting a new baby.
While Preethi Pillaipakkam was visiting the shelter, she noticed Rocco, who looked frightened inside of the kennel. She decided to film a short video and share it, hoping that it would help the pup find a new forever home.
Pillaipakkam fosters dogs as part of a program through the DFW German Shepherd Rescue. Initially, she was surprised that Rocco was abandoned because the family was expecting a baby.
“But once I saw how underfed he was, it did not surprise me,” said Pillaipakkam. “It is probably a combination of change in family situation, plus not [being] the best owners in the first place.”
She added that a healthy German Shepherd should weigh approximately 85 to 90 pounds. Rocco was only 60.
Pillaipakkam picked up Rocco from the shelter, knowing that it would take some time for him to relax.
“The shelter is certainly not the environment for a dog like Rocco,” she 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.”
Initially, Rocco was nervous and confused by his new surroundings, though Pillaipakkam’s other German Shepherds helped him acclimate.
“He slowly started exploring the house,” said Pillaipakkam. “He loves the couches and his doggy beds, and he really likes squeaky toys and tennis balls. He is a really good fetcher.”
“He was a bit aloof in the beginning,” she added, “but now he follows me around like a shadow.”
Since Rocco’s video went viral, adoption applications have been pouring in. Pillaipakkam hopes his story will also inspire others to consider adopting large dogs.
“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,” she said.
Pillaipakkam also hopes that Rocco will find his forever home in the coming months.
“Ideally, we would like to see Rocco placed in a new home around mid-September,” she stated. “We wanted to give him at least a week or two [here first] to ensure he feels safe.”