The ever so charismatic, Rocco.....
He is about 4 years old and is a Rottweiler Mix.
K9 Kokua has known and helped Rocco, and his owner, for a few years. He is even featured on one of our The Pet Hui, segments.
Well, one night @ about 11pm, we received a call from Rocco's papa saying that Rocco was gone!
The day before was the day that the City&County closed that stretch of the beach to overnighters. All the homeless had to pack up and move.
His papa went to get something to eat and when he came back, Rocco was gone. K9 Kokua called the rescue groups to find out if anyone had him.
Another day went by before we found out where he was.
Someone who volunteered for a home rescue group, had picked him up after being dispatched there without investigation.
Rocco was tied in the back of her truck and off she went with him in the back. He must have been quite confused. I can picture it--he was probably so very friendly when she approached him that night. He is always very eager to meet new people. His excitement, over having a new friend, overcomes him and he leaps for joy, wanting to kiss your face. He is a good, trusting boy.
Mind you, Rocco has weathered some pretty mean rain storms with bone chilling wind. Scary thunder. Fireworks. Strange people passing through his camp area who are intoxicated. Some strangers were mean to him, mistaking his 'happy dance' for being a 'stupid dog' and they yelled at him. One person was seen striking him on his head with a big kiawe branch. (we saw the disgustingly cruel lump after wards!)
And still.....this boy absolutely adored and trusted people.
As the truck went down the road, something must have happened. Rocco jumped or fell out. It was a very long time until the driver knew that Rocco was being dragged.
We thank the Lord that we were able to provide a harness for him, months prior. For if he had a collar on at the time, he may have choked to death or got dragged under the truck.
The person who sent the volunteer to pick him up told me that she gave him a pill when he was brought to her house. It was not a pain pill.
K9 Kokua called the vet immediately. Because it was late in the day and that he was given this certain pill, the vet could do nothing for him in the way of comfort! No pain pill could be prescribed!
We took him in first thing the next morning. We were given and array of medications,creams and ointments.
He had no front pads. NO front nails! Not even his dew claws. Most of his back nails were filed off by the rushing asphalt.
He had wounds so severe, they were about an inch and a half deep! We thought that if he could walk, it'd be a miracle. The muscles of his front legs were badly damaged.
(Rocco,healing process) (Rocco,healing,not walking yet)
At this time, we were sending out the word to let Rocco's papa know that we have him. When we saw him and told him of his boy's injuries, he was furious. He wanted them to suffer like his dog did. He was more upset at the fact that how they just took him from where he was. There were other tents around the new area. At least 20-30ft away. They didn't even ask anyone near if they knew who's dog he was. The people that were in their tents did not realize someone pulled up and took him. Rocco's papa said that they STOLE him! They had no right to appear suddenly and intervene, especially after all the years that we have been out there, helping him.
We took Rocco home, set him up in our spare bedroom to start the healing process. It was some very long days of applying his creams,ointments and medicated powder. Putting booties on him, carefully, and carrying him outside to do his business 4 times a day. Bringing his food and water bowl up to his face. He could not move. It hurt too much. Now, because of that pill that the 'home rescuer' had given him (and not even had taken him to the vet for the 2 days that she had him!!) we could not safely, give him a pain pill for the first 7 days!! I did give him natural, calming supplements that the vet said would offer him safe comfort until they could give us pain meds for him.
As the weeks went on, Rocco got stronger. His wounds were still horrific to look at and they stung him severely but he was starting to perk up.
He was great at potty training, such brilliance through all of his pain!
Before Rocco came into our home, he did not know how to play with toys. He learned that they were absolutely the best thing on the planet!
Weeks turned to months--months of strict regimens.
The day came that we didn't have to put booties on him and he could walk on his own!! We tried to toughen up the skin on the bottom of his feet. Pads never grow back. Nails may but pads--never.
He was back to his ole self, spiritually! Wanting to run and play--he was a happy boy again.
In August (09), Rocco's people transitioned into a shared home.
Mid-September, Rocco went home with them.
It was very hard on our household when he came in, but we did what was necessary. We are grateful that our dogs understood, at least in their own way, that he needed us too. They had to share us for a little while.
It was a harder day than I imagined. I knew that I would shed a few tears but didn't see the river coming. I also knew that my house would be back to 'normal', but that didn't matter.
Rocco was leaving.
I was truly happy for him. He was happy to see his papa. They were reunited.
We got out a brand new, fluffy dog bed for Rocco and handed it to his papa to take home. We also sent home a few of his favorite toys that he chose.
Yes, some of his fur may never grow back...he will never be able to walk on hard surfaces for an extended time...but his spirit is healed.
A human did this to him and Rocco forgives. Whether malicious intentions or not, it was an irresponsible human who caused his suffering.
The strength that a dog has is amazing. To be able to move on and be happy in the now.
To trust again...
Thank you Rocco, for showing us what true compassion is.
PLEASE DO NOT PLACE DOGS IN THE BACK OF TRUCKS, JEEPS OR OPEN UTILITY VEHICLES UNLESS THEY ARE IN A SECURED CRATE OR ARE ON A 4 POINT TIE DOWN.
*Mahalo to all who helped to make his healing easier with your kokua and well wishes!