Rocco, a 3-year-old German Shepherd, was abandoned at the Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Centre in Texas by his owners. The family is believed to have left the dog at the shelter because they were having a baby. But when found by a woman who was visiting the shelter, Rocco appeared to be underweight and hitched over, looking scared inside his kennel, so she decided to film the sweet dog in the hope a family would come forward to adopt him.
The video went viral online and was picked up by dozens of people taking an interest in Rocco.
But it was Preethi Pillaipakkam, who fosters dogs through DFW German Shepherd Rescue, a volunteer rescue organisation in Texas, who got to the shelter first to give Rocco a new lease on life.
After picking Rocco up from the shelter, Ms Pillaipakkam told The Dodo Rocco was considerably underweight.
She claimed the 3-year-old dog should weight around 85 to 90 pounds but only weighed in at 60.
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Rocco in Texas' dog shelter, scared and nervous (Image: INSTAGRAM)Rocco in Preethi Pillaipakkam's car (Image: INSTAGRAM)
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He even hid beneath the seat in the car. He was pacing a bit and seemed very stressed
She said Rocco was visibly “very stressed” when she picked him up.
She added: “The shelter is certainly not the environment for a dog like Rocco.
“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.”
Rocco’s new mum said he was nervous when he arrived in his new home.Rocco with his new owner Preethi Pillaipakkam (Image: INSTAGRAM)
She added the dog walked around his new surroundings in a state of confusion.
But Ms Pillaipakkam’s other German Shepherd, Katja, helped Rocco perk up by the first weekend.
Rocco’s new owner said: “He slowly started exploring the house.
“He loves the couches and his doggy beds, and he really likes squeaky toys and tennis balls. He is a really good fetcher.”
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Ms Pillaipakkam wants Rocco’s story to inspire people to adopt big dogs, left in shelters more often than smaller animals.
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She explained: “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 added: “Ideally, we would like to see Rocco placed in a new home around mid-September. We wanted to give him at least a week or two [here first] to ensure he feels safe.”
Since the viral video, Rocco’s Instagram page has gathered over 6,000 followers.