We first met Rocco when his owner attended a Nut Truck events for vaccines and later, a neuter. As you can see, he adored his boy. This photo was so lovely that we included it in photo show that highlighted Nut Truck event images taken by Kathy Kinnear.
When we knew them, they had lost their housing but were getting by in an RV. We recognized him as a very devoted dog owner so were concerned when we received an alert a couple of years later that a dog with Rocco's microchip number had turned up at an out-of-area animal shelter.
Initially the tone that the shelter took with Rocco's owner was shame and intimidation. "We have your dog. Come collect him and pay the fines or we will be forced to turn you into the authorities for abandonment." Ouch. During a pandemic (it was 2020) with so many people in crisis, this was terrible way to work with a family who was separated from their pet.
The heads up we'd received allowed us to get involved, locate Rocco's and other family members, learn what was going on and intercept on their behalf. Unfortunately a personal tragedy had played it's hand and life had taken a difficult turn. Through many painful conversations with his family, it seemed best that Rocco find a new home. Rather than shame, we accepted Rocco into our program, stayed in communication with family members to compare notes on his likes/dislikes and soon found him a suitable new home without too much trouble. Once he was placed, we let them know that their boy was home and sent an adoption photo of him smiling with his new family. A small gesture that we'd like to think offered some comfort and peace of mind during a time of upheaval.
We feel very strongly that animal welfare organizations are obligated to give families the benefit of the doubt when dogs fall into crisis, especially those who are clearly well cared for. In this situation we played that hand, and were grateful that a microchip offered us a way to get involved and help orchestrate the very best possible outcome for everyone.