ROCCO IN A NUTSHELL: Easy-going boy with some basic training. Age guesstimated to be between 3 and 4.
Rocco first appeared on our radar in mid February when a California shelter put out a rescue plea for this handsome gentleman. Naturally, because they were already overloaded, every rescue thought of us but, unfortunately, due to family illness, we have had to temporarily close our intake and were unable to take him.

At the end of February, our dear friend, adopter and supporter Michael also emailed us about Rocco, but we had to tell him the same thing -- Sorry, but no. But Michael had an idea -- what if Onyx's fosters, Dave and Jackie, would foster Rocco? Michael asked, and Dave and Jackie said YES!!

And so we set about finding out more about our incoming foster furkid. What we found out was that Rocco had come into the shelter as a stray in early December 2021. He was gentle and friendly and had obviously been loved and well taken care of. He also had some basic obedience and manners! The shelter thought this boy was around 5 years of age and felt sure that someone would be missing him and come looking for him ... but they were wrong. And so Rocco sat behind bars and waited for his family to find him.

Shelter temperament assessment notes: (Indoors) Rocco greeted the runner with soft eyes, erect ears, and a neutral tail wag. He jumped up and down excitedly, and licked the runner's hand. He was easy to leash and remove from the kennel, pulled lightly on leash, and was easy to collar. In the catch pen, his eyes were soft, his mouth was open, his body was relaxed, and his tail was neutral with a loose wag. He raced into the yard and greeted the other dogs excitedly. He engaged in play with the other dogs and solicited petting from the handlers. Rocco is social with the other dogs, and prefers a push/pull playstyle.

(Outdoors) Rocco was already in the yard when the handler decided to start the handling assessment. He was moved to the side yard and given a few minutes to decompress before the handler entered the yard. He moved away from the handler and would not return when the handler called him. The handler used the leash to hold Rocco in one spot. He allowed the handler to pet his head and neck with no issues. When the handler began petting his back and back legs, he closed his mouth and licked his lips. When the handler tried to pet his back and legs again, he allowed it without protest. He sat down and offered his paw, allowing the handler to touch his paw with no issues. When the assessment was over, he moved away from the handler and did not return.

When 2 months had passed and Rocco's family had not appeared, the shelter sent out a rescue plea for him.


Thanks to a little help from our friends at Husky Camp, Rocco was pulled from the shelter this afternoon

UPDATE 3/6: Rocco was transported to Arizona today courtesy of Chuck and Jon from Husky Camp and Michael and Bill. According to Chuck, Rocco is "a really nice guy. He's no 5 though, probably closer to 3; needs to work on treat taking, but I think we got the point across." He will be taking up temporary residence with Dave and Jackie in Globe and we will await updates on our newest rescue furkid from them.

Chuck and Jon arrive with Rocco

Foster dad Dave meets Rocco

Dave was smart and brought treats!

Rocco offers Chuck a nice sit

A little too grabby for Chuck ~ something to work on!
Dave and Rocco

Loaded up and ready to head to AZ
Arrival at his new foster home and happy to meet Jackie

Dave takes Rocco for his first walk around the yard

FIRST FOSTER REPORT 3/7: "First: If he is 5 years old, he is the most puppyish 5 year old I've ever seen. While he rides well in a car, he is very active and has a lot of puppy traits. At this point he is very needy for attention but he is very loving. I would put his age closer to 2 or 2.5. A mister with water enforces the 'NO' very well and he gets the idea quickly.

Potty: After arriving at the house and letting him sniff around the front, I took him through the house to the back yard where he did his job. Firm. Later he indicated he wanted to go back outside where he did another job. He knows where he's supposed to go to do his jobs. Again, Firm. Same for Monday AM, so no food issues. It appears that for a while, I will need to stay with him outside until he's all done, or he will just relieve the pressure and come back in. Minor issue Monday AM, but understood his 'no-no.'

Food: I bought him a good grain free chicken and sweet potato kibble and gave him 1 cup with a tablespoon of pumpkin. No issues; he ate it well. About 2 hrs later I gave him another 3/4 cup of food and he ate that. Monday AM breakfast was 1-1/2 cups of kibble and a tablespoon of pumpkin. Ate it well.


Play: He is VERY active. He may settle down in a few days. I got him 2 tennis balls and he loves to play with them (both shredded as of Monday AM) . Does not really do 'fetch' outside, but a version of it in the house. He will bring you the ball and nose it into your hand or lap. If you toss it down he will chase and play with it for a bit then bring it back for more... endlessly. I took him to the dog park to see if I could burn some of his energy. He sniffed and ran around, but kept checking on me, and several times came back to me to be petted. He found an old rag pull toy and was shaking, tossing it around and racing around with it. He came to be leashed when I called and showed the leash. He gets a bit excited when you try to hook the leash, but gets in the car easily.

Walkabout: Took him for a short walk Monday AM. Loved the walk and was pretty good on the leash. Could use some work there. He sniffed the mules near the house (nose to nose), but did not bother them with barking or such. Let him out back after we got home and he pushed the double gate open enough to get out and go for a walkabout. Would NOT come to me, but stayed close as I tried to leash him. Eventually, he went back into the front yard and I opened the car door and he got in. There I could leash him and he went easily back in the house.

Summary: Very loving, playful, active dog. Has training but could use more. Needs someone to walk him, take him to the park, and play with him in the house/yard. A wonderful pet for a forever home."

FOSTER UPDATE 3/14: "Rocco has been with us a week. When he arrived he was a bundle of nervous energy, but he is much calmer...still energetic, but with significant periods of calm.

This week has been a series of adventures for this curious pup. He has held a conversation with a lamb, touched noses with donkeys, flushed a covey of quail, watched a cat saunter across the field, crashed a child's birthday party, and made friends at the park. One of his new friends is not much of a mouthful for Rocco (a 2 pound chihuahua), but she is in charge. He has faced all these adventures with a quiet joy. In fact, the only time I've heard him bark was when our yard was invaded by javelina.

Rocco is a puppy. He knows 3 commands:

1) Sit - he is very good at this command...especially if you are holding a leash.
2) No - This will make him stop. He will either look confused or guilty.
3) Down - He will look at you like 'seriously?' We will continue to work on this.

Rocco will be a joyful part of a forever home."

UPDATE 3/26: Dave brought Rocco to the park this morning! He reports that Rocco is doing very well, loves to play fetch, is very good in the car, has learned to wait until he gets an okay to exit the car, and has learned not to dash the door at home! He's also better on the leash.


UPDATE 3/27: Rocco met Beaux at the park this morning. (Beaux is John [a friend's] coated shepherd.) They did very well together. They played through the fence and enjoyed themselves.


UPDATE 4/1: Dave and Rocco showed up at the park again early this morning. Dave gave Rocco his freedom to run and explore and, even though the fence surrounding the area was only 3' high and Rocco saw his doggie friends on the other side of the fence, at no time did he even attempt to go over the fence to join them.

UPDATE 4/25 KITTY TEST: Thanks to our wonderful volunteers Michael, Bob and foster dad Dave, as well as a volunteer shelter cat, Rocco had his official "kitty test" this morning: "Cat test went well. Rocco gave the cat some curious sniffs, and when the cat had had enough and lashed out, Rocco backed away and basically ignored the cat. The cat got out of its bed and approached Rocco with another hiss and swat. Rocco stood his ground, but I don't think he would have hurt the cat. He did get agitated and bark a little bit."

UPDATE 4/25 FOSTER UPDATE: "Kitty test was successful. He was curious, but not aggressive. With his tail waging he hunched down and was sniffing. Got too close and touched the cat with his nose. Cat batted him on the nose, and Rocco backed up, cat got aggressive, and Rocco backed up, tail wagging, but started to bark as the cat got close. Rocco then wanted to leave. Rocco was NEVER aggressive towards the cat and I'm sure, once they got familiar with each other he would do great with a cat. There was also a dog there he greeted and was friendly with. They made the dog get behind a barred gate, after the kitty test, the dogs were friendly, sniffing each other, and actually gave each other a 'kiss' (lick) or two before we left. Rocco is a very friendly, mild mannered dog, he IS a puppy, but learning great and wants to please.

Hello, kitty!

Rocco wants to sniff

Maybe I can sneak my way in there ...

Kitty says NO ... Rocco does not argue

Just a story to add.. Rocco got out again (Jackie forgot to tell him 'You Wait') and headed up the street watching me. I refused to go after him, and walked into the street where he could see me. He moved a bit further twice watching me, but I did not move and did not have his leash. I told him I was NOT going to chase him and to come 'home.' He started one more time to move off and when I didn't move, he came running back, around past me and in the door, where he sat in front of the refrigerator looking like, 'See! I was a good boy and deserve a treat.' He got a small piece of cheese."

UPDATE 5/14: "Rocco loves to play fetch. After he says hello to his friends, he will play nonstop for the hour we are at the park every morning."

Rocco and foster dad, Dave

Adoption fee $395.00.

If you are interested in Rocco, please fill out our PROSPECTIVE ADOPTER'S QUESTIONNAIRE. You will be contacted by return email. If you do not receive a response within 24 hours, please Email Nancy at This questionnaire link is only for Rocco or other white German Shepherds on our site. WE WILL NOT CONTACT YOU until a questionnaire has been completed.

Please familiarize yourself with our adoption policies by reading ADOPTION BEGINS HERE. THANK YOU.