Dog Shivers at Shelter After Family Abandons Him As They Were Expecting a Baby

June 26, 2019 Updated: July 2, 2019

A dog is for life, not just for life before babies.

Three-year-old German shepherd Rocco was shocked into silence when he was unexpectedly dumped at Dallas Animal Services in Texas. Ironically, the reason for his abandonment was that his owners were expecting a baby.

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A post shared by Rocco (@roccostar_gsd) on

A shelter visitor came across the confused young pup, hunched over in one corner of his kennel, too afraid to respond to passersby. She quickly shot a short video clip and posted it online, hoping that a local rescue center would find space in their hearts (and their premises) to take him in.

Luckily, Preethi Pillaipakkam, a fosterer for DFW German Shepherd Rescue in Weatherford, saw the footage and came to Rocco’s aid without hesitation. Pillaipakkam was told that Rocco was left behind to make way for a new baby. “At first I was surprised,” the fosterer told The Dodo. “But once I saw how underfed he was, it did not surprise me.”

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Ride home. The car is very scary. #RoccoSensation #RoccoStarGSD

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Rocco should have weighed 85 to 90 pounds (approx. 36 to 43 kg); instead, he weighed 60 pounds (approx. 27 kg). Pillaipakkam speculated that Rocco had suffered as a result of his owners’ change in family situation. Perhaps, she mused, they were “not the best owners in the first place.” As such, Pillaipakkam knew she may have to exercise some loving patience.

She was right. “He was very timid and scared to get into the car,” Pillaipakkam shared. “He even hid beneath the seat in the car. He was pacing a bit and seemed very stressed.” Rocco remained this way in his foster home for the first few days, but then help arrived in a most welcome form.

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Pillaipakkam’s own dog, another German shepherd, became Rocco’s steadfast companion. With the calmer dog by his side, Rocco began to mellow, and before long, he began to trust that he was in a safe place. His interest in toys grew exponentially, and he became more fun-loving and playful every day.

“He was a bit aloof in the beginning,” Pillaipakkam said, “[but] he slowly started exploring the house. He loves the couches and his doggy beds,” she continued, “and he really likes squeaky toys and tennis balls. He is a really good fetcher.” It turned out that the young pup was also a really good shadow; he adored following his foster mom around the house.

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This is Rocco’s new mom! She will be taking over Rocco’s page from here on out, and we are so excited for his future adventures!

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In support of finding the beautiful dog a forever home, and to sate the concerns of his army of devoted followers, Pillaipakkam started an Instagram account to chronicle Rocco’s journey. Large-breed dogs can get a bad rap when it comes to their compatibility with babies, children, and other animals, but Pillaipakkam hoped that her updates would help to dispel this myth.

“It is getting harder and harder to find places to live with these breeds,” the diligent fosterer told The Dodo. “We hope to bring awareness to this.”

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Rocco loves his new adventure bestfriend!

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Rocco, after his upsetting ordeal, ended up being one of the lucky ones; he was adopted into a loving home in September of 2018. His new owner even took over his Instagram page to ensure that the world didn’t lose touch with their beautiful boy. Rocco even gained a new best bud, another stunning, large-breed dog named Katja.

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The gentle pair even met a baby in April of 2019, and guess what? They were beautifully behaved. “They gave lots of kisses and there were lots of giggles,” reads the Instagram post, alongside a heartwarming photo of Rocco, Katja, and their sweet baby friend. “I love how gentle they are around babies!” Rocco’s new owner wrote, assuring her followers that the visit was fully supervised.

The handsome German shepherd may still have his trademark floppy ears, but his spirits have been well and truly revived.

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