National Disaster Search Dog Foundation

Rocket The Dog, Saved from Euthanization, Became Hero in Houston

It's been a long road for Rocket. 

Rocket has energy. The border collie mix found himself in a Sacramento shelter, and once his adoption window had closed, he was put on the euthanasia list. Luckily, he was recommended as a search-and-rescue dog in 2012 and finally found a place where he could shine.

"I think it's just a testament that ... just because an animal ends up in the shelter doesn't mean that they are an animal that someone doesn't want or that they don't have a lot to give to the community," Dawn Foster of the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told Sacramento Bee.

The Sacramento SPCA saw Rocket's potential with his "instinct to want to do jobs, that ... like to play with toys and solve problems." This innate desire to help landed Rocket with one of the most important jobs:

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Helping find and rescue people left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Rocket got paired with the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation and initially failed the assessment test. But the recruiter kept coming back to the little black and white dog. Rocket may have failed the test but there was something about him and the recruiter couldn't bear to see the dog go back to the shelter. She ended up adopting Rocket.

The recruiter and her husband took Rocket along on search and rescue missions and Rocket finally passed his test in 2013. He was officially assigned to Michael Stornetta in 2015 and eventually became certified with an Oakland-based Federal Emergency Management Agency task force.

Soon, it was Rocket's time to really show his potential and the task force was deployed to Texas to help with in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Rocket and 14 other search dogs looked for survivors of the flood under rubble making sure there is no one left behind.

Denise Sanders, spokesperson for the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation said she loves seeing dogs like Rocket come from hopeless situations to become the heroes they are. Rocket's story is hardly the last for the foundation. She said:

"We know that there are many more like Rocket out there just waiting to be found." 

Thank you for your service, Rocket! Stay safe out there everyone.

Tell us what you think of Rocket's incredible story in the comments below!

This article was originally published September 8, 2017.

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