Rocky’s Journey: A Rescue Tail

December 8, 2011 by · Comments Off 

BEYOND THE BUBBLE

By Molly McKone
mmckone@smu.edu

Rocky with his owners Eric and Charlotte Simmons. (photo by Molly McKone/Beyond the Bubble staff)

He gallops to the door, greets his guests with a big lick on the cheek, and jumps up for a big bear hug. He sniffs your knees and licks your toes, and looks at you straight in the eye with his head slightly cocked to the right, as if he wants to know your story.

His name is Rocky, and he is just one of a litter of rescued pit bull-mix dogs found in an abandoned, dilapidated house in west Dallas in August 2011 and now living the posh life. In Rocky’s case, he is living with his new parents, Charlotte and Eric Simmons in Frisco.

“He is our baby, that is for sure,” Charlotte Simmons, 43, said with a gigantic smile on her face. “He has brought much excitement to this house.”

Her husband, Eric Simmons, 39, is Rocky’s best friend. “We can’t imagine our life without him,” Mr. Simmons said.

Rocky is one lucky dog. According to the Humane Society of the United States, 4 million cats and dogs, about one every eight seconds, are euthanized in U.S. shelters each year. That could have been Rocky’s fate if not for the kindness of one of the city’s no-kill rescue groups. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, 10 to 20 percent of cats and dogs are adopted every year from rescue centers and shelters. Because of the economy, rescue centers and pet shelters are hurting for funds and are forced to turn many pets away.

“We ask for special funds to assist with certain cases. We often take in severely injured or abused dogs and cats and ask for donations specifically for those pets, said, Elise Bissell, executive director for Take Me Home Pet Rescue (TMHPR), whose group saved Rocky.

TMHPR, Operation Kindness, Paws in the City, and SPCA of Dallas are among the many nonprofit rescue groups in the area that operate almost entirely through donations and fundraisers. Bissel said her budget fluctuates with the donations TMHPR receives.

“People continue to be generous to us, but this could change at any time,” Bissel said.

TMHPR rescued Rocky along with his seven other siblings, including one found with just three legs, and his mother, Cricket. All of the puppies have found permanent homes. Cricket is still looking for a family to adopt her.

TMHPR, like other groups, removes dogs and cats from shelters where they are in danger of euthanasia, as well as rescuing them from unsafe situations and off the streets. Group members and friends foster the animals in their homes while trying to find them permanent homes. The group also has a new center on Campbell Road in Richardson, where it can keep animals who are sick or need special care overnight. The group is committed to having the animals in its care spayed, neutered, vaccinated and microchipped before they are adopted.

Sally Seegers, a TMHPR volunteer, knows first-hand about the problems and concerns rescue agencies are facing today. “There is a huge need for foster parents, adopters, and donations,” Ms. Seegers said. “People also need to acknowledge the great responsibility they take on when they adopt. You can’t just say ‘Oh well, I want a pet.’ You have to be prepared and willing to take care of them all the time like a family member.”

All of the pet rescue agencies dedicate their time to putting animals in the arms of people like the Simmons, who treat Rocky like a king.

“His ability to turn an awful day into such a good one is amazing,” Mr. Simmons says. “When I come home from a long day at work in a grumpy mood, he knows how to turn my day around.”

Rocky gets his faced washed every morning, shares the bed with his parents every night, and enjoys frozen yogurt on special occasions. Ms. Simmons is planning on buying Rocky some new booties for the winter time since she is worried his paws might gets cold when he goes outside.

Rocky even gets special treatment on the weekends at his day care center, McKee’s Pet Place, located in Frisco.

“Rocky is the best dog,” McKee employee Kelly Peace said. “He is never in his room because all the workers love playing with him. He makes friends with every dog and every person he comes across.”

The Simmons urge others to adopt from shelters and rescue agencies.

“We cannot imagine our lives without him. We do not have any children, so Rocky is literally like our child,” Ms. Simmons said.

“Rocky and all the other animals do not see color, they do not care how fat or skinny you are, they only see you for you. They love you just the way you are,” Mr. Simmons said.