Retired disabled military dog Rocky dies if not adopted; UPDATE: Rocky is saved!

Give now to help others last chance pets like Rocky

Pets for Patriots is a small charity, but we were able to mobilize 42,393 people* to save Rocky, a three-tour Iraq war canine veteran (*as of 8:15pm ET 8/18/11).

Your donations are needed to save more pets like Rocky: dogs and cats who will never become an overnight internet sensation or have major news media vying to tell their tale. These “last chance” pets – adult and other at-risk shelter dogs and cats – face near-certain death if not adopted. We connect them to veterans and service members who need a new pet friend, arrange access to reduced cost veterinary care and provide direct financial support towards the purchase of pet food and other basics. Your tax-deductible gift is necessary to help us save the next Rocky and, in so doing, transform the life of the veteran who chose to Be A Pet’s HeroTM.

Click here to give to our cause

UPDATE 8/18/11 9:25 AM ET: ROCKY IS SAVED!! We have been informed that Rocky will be adopted. Please DO NOT CALL Camp Pendleton, Lackland AFB or Pets for Patriots regarding his case; we are all overloaded with a deluge of inquiries about his plight. THANK YOU to all who have answered Rocky’s call and helped to assure his final years will be spent with a loving family. 


Rocky is a retired military dog who will be put down on August 24 if he’s not adopted. He served three tours in Iraq and desperately needs a loving home to enjoy his final years. Pets for Patriots is responding to a request to help create awareness of this veteran’s plight. We have spoken to authorities at Camp Pendleton in San Diego and confirmed this story.

Rocky currently lives at Camp Pendleton, his home base since entering the Marine Corps in 2004. He served three tours in Iraq between 2004 and 2007 as a patrol and explosives dog, and returned to the states. We had previously noted that his last handler was killed in theater, but have since been advised that is not the case. However, since returning to the U.S., he has not had a steady handler, but has continued to serve on base until March of this year. By that time, a degenerative condition rendered him unable to work and he was retired. Typically an ex-military K9 will be adopted by his handler, but Rocky has no handler to call his own.

The base kennels are not suitable to provide the type of ongoing care and attention that Rocky needs and deserves. And without an individual or family to adopt him, he will be put down. He was recently featured in an article about military dogs enjoying a bright future after service, but that’s not the case for him.

Because Rocky is a retired patrol dog, military protocol does not permit him to be surrendered to a shelter.

Like most military working dogs, Rocky is independent, but he has a sweet temperament and enjoys relaxing in the sun. As a result of his disability, he uses a canine wheelchair and needs assistance to do “his business.” He would do best in a family that can devote a lot of time to him, and that has no small children or other animals. As with many military canines, Rocky shows slight dog aggression. More than anything, Rocky needs someone who honors his service, and who will love and accept him.

Rocky is nine years, nine months old with these known medical conditions:

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia/Enlarged prostate
Mild hip dysplasia L coxofemoral joint, grade I
Bilateral coxofemoral DJD (mild)
Bilateral neurologic defecits rear legs – degenerative myelopathy
Pressure/kennel sores

P.S.: Our thanks to for sharing Rocky’s story in a hot rush!

P.P.S.: We welcome your comments, but if you use profanity or threaten another user you will be removed and blocked. 




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  4. Donna

    This is not about humans this is about a disabled military dog soldier. So focus people and find the soldier a home and if you cannot do that ask Best Friends to help.

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  7. Theresa

    Someone start giving Rocky 1/4 tsp of Cosequin Equine poder Concentrate (280gm) on his food once per day. Will totally take care of the hip issue and possibly even the leg issues.

    14 yrs experience with hip dysplasia.

  8. Wayne Keel

    I just now saw this site and I was going to take the shepard if no one had stepped up, but I’m glad someone did this time. I have two GSD and even though my wife would raise hell, I’d take this one too! I have experience with the hip problems having built a carriage for one of my previous shepards. Trust me I would have taken the dog as I love them all and for a hero to be put down would be like putting a brother down. Not gonna happen on our watch. I’ll keep an eye out for more on this site. Check out my shepards on my fb. I love them and have two in heaven now waiting for me!



  10. Shannon

    is it really that necessary to argue about it? Service member or not – SOMEONE adopted him because they could take care of the dog and his needs. I dont see why everyone wants to argue over the internet – its not going to solve anything…

    On another note- good for Rocky to be adopted! May his previous handler rest in peace. <3 And God bless the person who adopted him in their home! 🙂

  11. Summer_Australia

    WoW…how did this debate happen between so many????? The article was all about Rocky and retired military K-9’s, it was actually very sad to see so much negativity between so many 🙁 The focus was lost, it was all about “Rocky”…Great to hear he has gone to a loving home. Respect and love to retired and working K-9’s, where would we be without mans best-friend 🙂 Love to my partner and his K-9 in Afghanistan and all over handlers, servicemen/women deployed, no matter what nationality they may be 🙂

  12. Geoffrey Carlyle Nutt

    I think the government needs 2 get the job done ! forgot..Nobama on vacation again..He bought a fancy dog..Adopt next time..but that will be easy for you..U r gonna be broke ! No job..I have 5 adopted already….or Rocky would be mine !!!!!!!!

  13. The STAND Foundation

    If the adopting family can get in touch with us,, I can introduce them to an outstanding orthopedic surgeon who is in nearby Camp Pendleton. It may not make this hero 100% whole, but if anything can be done to ease his pain, this would be a great opportunity to try.

  14. Norma Sandler

    Hi Amy,

    As a life long animal rescuer and animal rights activist I can tell you that every rescue group I know of but one is overwhelmed and bursting at the seams with the number of animals needing homes and 99% of them are under funded and rely largely on volunteers…when they are available. There are hardly as many foster homes as needed either. People are dumping animals at a far greater rate than ever before for economic and other reasons such as puppy and kitten mills churning out inbred, sick babies as fast as they can that people cannot afford to pay vet bills for. ONLY BUY RESCUED ANIMALS FROM PET STORES OR GO TO THE SHELTER AND SAVE A LIFE. The spay and neuter laws are not strong enough and definitely not well enforced. People who dump animals are not being prosecuted; it IS against the law to do that. German Shepards are being murdered at an alarming rate at the “shelters.” It seams epidemic. I blame the breeders for that. This is our noble war dog species and should be treated with respect. I don’t think you were aware of all this. Please factor this in when you make a statement. Thanks.

  15. scott

    Awesome,Brought tears to my eyes…There is good people out there…and ROCKY:)…ALL GOOD DOGS GO TO HEAVEN,see you there someday champ:)

  16. Brent

    He’s adopted… Check the top of the page!

  17. Diana

    As a few people pointed out, this is not the place for my-military-life-is-harder-than-yours flame wars. It is wonderful that Pets for Patriots was able to help this canine vet find a great home to spend his golden years and the social media sharing of this so quickly was amazing to see.

    That said, PFP, maybe you should close comments or delete the flame war spamming up your posts because it casts quite a shadow on the professional image of such a wonderful organization.

  18. Debi

    I was so sad to read about the dog and then sadder yet to read all the bickering between total strangers on this site. It seems pretty petty. I am happy that someone stepped up to the plate for the dog’s sake. And for anyone military, I appreciate your service. Hopefully we can all learn how to get along and be more respectful on our daily lives with others.

  19. Kerri

    I would love more than anything to have Rocky in my family! I am a 35 year old woman who is also a disabled vet. I think Rocky and I would be great together. I am going to apply and hopefully they will hearmy request. I was a cop in the Air Force and my roommate was a K9 handler so I am very aware of all the care they need. I hope to God I can adopt him!

  20. Dog Diva

    What a despicable bunch of posts. First of all, the dog simply needed a home, and you all spent your time dissing each other instead of doing something constructive to find him one.

    But, now that you folks brought these things up in the first place, since when did having a baby mean that a family couldn’t have a dog? Since when is it OK to get pets, knowing that you are a military member and might get deployed? Last I heard, there is still no draft, so you volunteered and put your own pets at risk. Did you know that while this dog can’t be surrendered to a shelter it really doesn’t matter – because OWNER SURRENDERS are the FIRST dogs to die at crowded shelters, no matter how nice the dogs are, unless some rescue gets there first and pulls them out. If you take a look at Facebook and Petfinder, you’ll see just how big a problem that is – there is no farm in the country, folks. So, finding a home for a retired K-9 with a disability is an accomplishment – which should have been supported by some action, not just hostility and bashing. Grow up.

  21. Teri Brewer

    I am a 100% disbled Army Veteran with a German Shepherd. Shame on you all for making excuses while begging others to find him a home. I am calling now ! If they will let me I WILL adopt him !!!

  22. Robin Winterberg

    Our Military has not treated these dogs well in the past .Why would they change now

  23. Vicki

    Rocky, many prayers and well wishes for you sweet boy. I wish you much love and happiness in your soon to be new home. Many thanks to who ever will be blessed with becoming Rocky’s new pet parents.

  24. Michelle Ray

    We would take him in a heartbeart but, we have a dog, cat, teenagers and are always on the go. I really hope someone does the honorable thing and steps up!!!

  25. Aaron

    If it’s possible I’d love to get an update on Rocky in a few weeks or months once he’s settled into his new home.

    And also, just because I am curious, how does the wheelchair work? Can a dog sit or lie down in one or is he/she always up until someone takes him/her out of the chair?

    • Pets for Patriots

      Aaron, we don’t know if the family adopting Rocky will choose to keep us posted, but if they do we can assure you that we’ll share his journey with our fans. As to your question about the wheelchair… good question! Maybe there’s an answer on’s site; they’re the premier provider of adjustable dog wheelchairs and we believe one of their models is the one used by Rocky.

      • Indio

        It is so wonderful that Rocky has a permanent home! To the new owners: PLEASE neuter this dog. he woud not have prostate issues if he had been neutered. he’ll be more comfortable.

  26. v.a.l

    I think This is disgusting that you all are fighting about a bunch of little bull shit like this GROW UP I’m not part of the military but you all should be ashamed of yourselves talking like this and Yes I do know someone in the military and they would be appalled at seeing this grow up and may be you all should check your self before shooting off! Its about the dog not you!!! And yes I understand there are different types of military families but you are all a like and the same missing a dear families member and hoping for their safe return God bless all of the soldiers over seas!

  27. Giuseppe Collesano

    Rocky should be adopted right away.Our daughter retired and adopted her dog that she trained.The dog too as a degenerative illness,she is going to be totally blind soon.As military do not leave anyone behind,the same should be for Rocky.

    He served well,he deserve better.

  28. Amy Teal

    Wow all this bickering has put the real problem in the dark. This veteran deserves a home does not matter who adopts him as long as his medical is taken care of, he is loved and is able to live out his years in a loving environment.


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