Don’t skip this post! I promise you won’t regret it. It is a journey/path, but a journey with two beautiful souls who lived this and survived, and, in the end, thrived. I hope that I can do them right with my words, but when you see these boys, you will understand, how to capture such gentleman? Not so possible. But let’s start here, meet Rocky (the black doberman) and Booster (the red doberman) and their first appearance on social media:
Original post (Debbie Park Bobshosky):
“11/29/2015: La County, CA. These poor doggies lives consist of living in a small area that is the owner’s business. They are outdoor only dogs and do not have any shelter. The owner does NOT want to relinquish them as they are used specifically for security of the business, but are open to getting dog houses, and beds for them as donations. They are not chained and are given food and water so we don’t think that A/C will get involved. The owner will also get upset if A/C is called and then will not allow us to help these dogs be more comfortable with dog houses and beds, as well as allowing my contact to walk them whenever possible to give them some relief from this hell. They will need two dog houses that are not wider than 3 feet as this is how wide their area is. Please help, donate, and share”
Rocky and Booster, an outreach to help them on Facebook, by a woman who lived nearby. A wonderful networker (Debbie Park Bobshosky) posted the bleak situation, above, of the doberman living in squalor, filth, severe neglect, and no protection from the elements. This photo was unbearable to see. I couldn’t believe it was actually real and tried to avoid it when I could. Scrolling by as quick as possible, closing my eyes and trying to close my heart. One day I decided “ok, just read it”. Oh, the sadness. But, thank goodness for social media….a group of largely strangers to one another, were about to rally to change two lives.
Facebook posters felt the pain and expressed it in various emotional and practical comments. But, the owners were not willing to let the dogs go. These dogs were “protecting” their auto body shop (though the dobes couldn’t see out, I guess their bark was “enough”). SEACCA was consulted, the Field and Service Division, and as long as the dogs could stand up, turn around, and there was some sort of overhang to provide some protection from the elements, and they were given food and water-then this was sufficient. Fortunately the contact maintained a decent relationship with the owner that allowed us access to the dogs. So, for the moment, simply all us fb people and the ladies helping could do was try to keep them warm in the cold months, and give them other basics in life, such as cleaning some of the poop or picking up other filth and debris. The dogs were also not neutered and had to compete for their basic needs, food was scarce, they fought for it. The contact witnessed them nursing each other’s wounds after they argued. Again, being new, I had no idea why the dogs couldn’t be taken by animal control. Oh I miss the good old days of being that naive and thinking these horrid situations were not legal, and even more, that people werent cruel enough to create such hell because of laziness, neglect, and greed.
Donations came in, help was given. The contact was relentless with her love for the dobes and did so much of the ugly, scary, and difficult daily work, going to the shop, “nagging” the owner about what the dogs needed, reminding him constantly of what they werent getting. Making it clear that eyes were on them, that the dobes were no longer “unseen” just because they were behind and inside the tall cell walls.
The contact’s tactic worked, at least in increments. She slowly broke the shop owner down. Still, the lousy owner used her to clean up poop, and give the dogs things, and, when the contact witnessed wounds on Booster, she offered medical help and for both of them to be neutered. We got Booster out to be looked at by a vet, neutered (generous benefactors stepped up to help), and then a friend of the owners offered to take him, due to his wounds. We thought, oh my goodness, we will get one out of this hell.
12/4/2015: UPDATE: I learned from my contact that the dobes got into a fight today and one got hurt. I do not know the severity of the wounds but the owner now will let one go and sees that they can’t be together. He is saying a friend will take one dog and he will be an indoor dog. I sure hope the owner is telling the truth. Its heartbreaking that the other dobe will have to continue living like this alone now 😦
12/10/2015: URGENT! RESCUE NEEDED ASAP FOR THE RED DOBIE! The owner allowed a friend to take the red dogie. Unfortunately, the owners friend has to return him to the business ASAP if a rescue can’t help. He is not allowed to have a dog where he lives.UGH! Please network for a rescue for the red dobie. If taken back to the original owner, he may not relinquish him in the future. He does not care if they get into more fights. Update on the black Dobe, he appears very sad, even more sad, being alone in his circumstances.
Donations came in…offers of help….
12/14/2015: UPDATE ON BOOSTER THE RED DOBIE: I received confirmation that Booster was dropped off at HP Pet Vet by the owner’s friend who took him. He will be boarded for a week only thanks to a generous donator to keep him from being returned to the original owner at the business and give me more time to network him for a foster/rescue ASAP. I am planning to visit him during lunch today to get some pictures to share with you all. Please share him for a foster/rescue by Saturday 12/19/2015.
I met Boo on this lunch break, and, unbenonced to me, I met a brand new wonderful and beautiful friend, Debbie Park Bobshosky. We took Boo out for his first walk with us and his first “photo shoot”. Boo was such a sweetie, this scarred and scared red pony/coltish dobe, delicately walked out with us and towards a long walk. He was so exotic to me, I had never really met a doberman, especially a red one! He was so shy, but quite a ham for the camera. I officially fell in love with this breed and began friendships with other dobe lovers.
12/15/2015- UPDATE ON BOOSTER THE RED DOBIE Rescue Backing is in the works.
For weeks Booster and I walked daily. We also went to pack walks with Trotts Dog Walking and Training, as many Saturdays that we could. If a dog barked at him, he would hide behind me! After our local walks, we would go to Slaters and Boo would have a hamburger. He got very accustomed to this. When Debbie walked him he would lead her to Slaters afterwards! He was a staff favorite and met so many people who learned of his story and started following him and Rocco. Many were thoughtful and interested in helping him find a foster or forever home. The donations also still came in for his boarding and vet bills and also toys and gifts were donated. Here are some photos of Boo, healing and opening up, meeting people and enjoying burgers. Sometimes when I took him back to the vet/boarding, we would sit for an hour and I would just reassure him he was safe. For the first time, Boo would show that he wanted to stay with me, a little resistance, politely, to going back to his kennel. I tried visit on Christmas and was not allowed (despite being told) I know, Boo didnt’t know it was Christmas, I had wrapped gifts for him, was leaving the next day for a week, and wanted him to have a special day. I was allowed to leave the gifts for him, I hoped he could smell love on them.
12/29/2015- Update on Booster aka Boo The Red Dobie: Boo has been out of boarding and in a temp foster home in San Diego since Sunday 12/27 and is doing well so far! A long term rescue and foster is needed still.
Boo was in a temporary home, wonderful Blaine, who fostered Boo in San Diego. Boo did great with her dogs and settled right in. He slept on a bed and learned potty training. But, he was showing separation anxiety, making little disasters when she was gone. Blaine was patient with him, and, got him through this. Boo was docile and sweet, affectionate and stayed very close to her. But, Boo did sneaking out of the yard to find and harass skunks. He was sprayed twice! Tomato baths and other remedies followed. Oh Boo!!! Stinky velcro by his foster mom’s side. One morning she woke up to his head next to hers on her pillow. Pee yew, and woo hoo! He was bonding.
Through December and January it was raining and a very cold season. I mean, that slanting, pouring rain, that chilled you straight to your bones. Our 2016 dream wish was Rocky getting out of that hell. Every night when normally I would feel all cozy with the weather, I felt sick to my stomach about Rocky, out in the dark and cold. All alone.
The shop owner still refused to relinquish Rocky. The owner felt that Rocky was the biggest deterrent for robbers. The owner already had a security system and camera and still, he preferred using Rocky. The owner agreed to let us come to build a dog house to fit in the tiny space, as nothing we tried to buy fit. Debbie asked if we could help. We did. And, though the owner was there, he just looked on (we were told he was afraid of dogs) as Debbie slaved away, then Mike Peters, Manuel, and Zoe and I joined to help. Zoe and I took Rocky out to walk. We learned he loved to give hugs. We were amazed by his gentle spirit and noble nature. We fell in love.
When the day ended, taking Rocky back to the shop was mortifying. The dog house was complete the poop cleaned up but putting his warm clothes and vests back on him felt like betrayal. I wanted to take Rocky and run. But we couldn’t, we needed to just keep helping like we could. I was planning on going back as often as possible to walk him. We dressed him and kissed him, we taught him how to go through his dog house and it was a little hard for him, but he learned. We cheered him on then cried when we left. It was all very sobering.
1/16/2016- Rocky is now FREE!!! His owner surrendered him today!!! Yay!!!
The minute I heard, I headed to get Rocky. I’m not sure I have ever been so happy, since busting Piper out of the Orange County Shelter. I shot this photo of his freedom walk, shop workers bringing him to me like a beast out of filthy confines…
I knew of the prince inside these rags…..I am pretty sure there is not a better FREEDOM picture than this! Victory! Look at this boy! He is shedding this abhorrent life and his layers of sweaters and vests were coming off next. No more living in freezing filth. With the privilege of picking up Rocco (for some reason this just became his name….his”Rocky” life-and a name he never knew-was now far far FAR behind him!) we spent the day peeling off his past. Next stop…a bubble bath…..
So Rocco’s first time out in the real world….oh, he was so freaking amazing- to everyone. At the doggy spa he let strangers lift him up and scrub him, he walked with me and let me photo him in random places, we wandered and explored, and, we went to his brother’s favorite eating place. Rocco was pleasant to other dogs at HP Pet vet when I took him to boarding, which normally is hard for me to do, but I knew he would be warm, fed, and clean. It was a glorious first step and first day.
So, Rocco and I began an adventure. I wanted to introduce him to life and he was the most willing participant. We went to pack walks, on hikes, to restaurants, and to the beach. I will never forget him at the beach, tentatively finding his way through the jetty, stumbling on the rocks and stopping to look at me as to what he was supposed to do next. I had forgotten I had a colt with me not a tiny and nimble rat terrier. But he gathered his confidence and continued. He had a wonderful day. And we made the beach and the boardwalk something we always did. Everywhere we went people stopped us to tell us how gorgeous he was.
Gorgeous Rocco still had work to do and confidence to build and he loved being out and about. Rocco pack walked with a/our small dog, ate at local joints and even met fake cows and plastic piggies jumping on a fence….nothing rattled him….and, he rewarded our efforts not only with progress but with unabashed affection….
Rocco and I had one special day in particular where he got to be off leash at the beach. From concrete and confinement….imagine these paws, that were always on cement, sinking into the soft sand. Rocco ran, expecting I could keep up with him…wondering if he was ready to expand into this new vast world…..
He was ready…his home was beckoning him….I think his future adoptive mommy saw these posts and the seed was planted….
Date: UPDATE: Boo and Rocco are now with 4LifeRescue!
My rescue 4LifeRescue (who I fostered and volunteered with- who helped me enter this passion with loads of support) and the one that saved Piper took in the Dobes! Amazing! Could it get any better? The dogs would be safe and loved 4Life, no matter what. Their fate had changed 4Life, forever. Posts were up now looking for foster and forever homes for these sweeties with 4Life. And, they were invited to the awesome events the rescue has. Almost immediately, there was an event where Boo and Rocco were invited to come! And, they got to see each other again for the first time since the filthy shopyard…they were wary at first but soon were pack walking happily together….we got their paw prints done in paint too, paws to canvas, but also PawtoPalm in the creations 🙂 with the help of others.
Rocco needed to stay in boarding that night because his boarding/vet closed long before the event ended. Guess who his roommates were that night?
Yes, the photo is right, minus five other little dogs that missed the photo op . Rocco stayed and got along with ten little dogs (some young, some old, two who are blind, a few who loved to bark at him)! Rocco was off leash with them and he slept next to his amazing temporary foster mom Cheryl in her bed. Rocco took corrections from some little dogs, and hung out with others. Isn’t this amazing for a dog rescued just 9 days prior? He was the gentle giant among them.
2/22/2016: ROCCO HAS FOUND HIS FOREVER HOME!!!!
Jackpot! A friend and co-worker of mine had been watching posts on Rocco, and I had no idea he was nuzzling into her heart. In the past I had always said, “hey you need a dog!” She was waiting for the right time and the right four legged fellow. When she saw Rocco, she knew. She and her boyfriend Steve loved him and when they met and walked him, they told me it was a “yes” they want to adopt him! After years of working in Adoptions for dependent children together, she and I got to have an inter friendship adoption of a very special dog!
After working one day, I was able to take Rocco to his forever home and sign the paperwork with them. You can see in the photos how pleased he and his new family are! How meant to be are they? When I left, Rocco didn’t even look back! Adopted! Woohoo! It was cute because his clever adoptive parents call him Cinderfella and I get the nickname of his Fairy Godmother, I’m so lucky!
If I were the clever one I would think of some spin on Rocco (a foster dog at the time) and the ten little doggie dwarves he stayed with…suggestions are welcome, lol!
Keep reading, the fairytale is almost complete….
Meanwhile, Boo got a local foster placement which helped us to take him to more local events and screen adopters for him and just keep searching! Debbie and 4Life Rescue wanted the perfect ending to his story, like Rocco got. In the meantime, Boo also stayed a few nights with wonder foster mother Cheryl and her ten dwarf doggies. What a boy!
While caring for him, Boo’s foster family was falling in love with him and he was doing great in their care and with their dog. But, Boo wasn’t home yet….then…4LifeRescue and Teri found him the perfect family…..just look at his head tilt, Boo agrees!!!
3/4/2016: BOO HAS FOUND HIS FOREVER HOME!!!
Adopted!!! Boo found his forever with a couple and a new doggie brother.
See, fairytales really do exist!
The original thread Debbie began-and-the photo, brought a team together for these sweethearts. I recall the moments as they unfolded. I remembered feeling so helpless but Debbie, her contact, 4LifeRescue, and everyone else who fought so hard for these dogs proved we can make a meaningful difference one step at a time. Thank you to those who posted, shared, walked, fostered, transported and sent love. Everyone, you proved that we can.
I came across this image of a doberman, and, it resonated with me for Boo and Rocco. Angels, these dog are, beautiful beyond the expression of words.