Meet the new kid on the (prison) block–Rocco!  Rocco joined HOPE on August 26, 2022.  This sweet and adorable boy comes to us from our good friends at Canine Rescue of Central PA.
Rocco has not had an easy life. He was left in a southern shelter where he was on the kill list. Thankfully, he was saved in the nick of time by Canine Rescue of Central PA. Several months later, he was adopted for a total of 36 hours and then returned, because he had “too much energy.” He has been at the rescue’s kennel for almost two years, waiting for someone to adopt him.
Well. . . Rocco’s luck just changed! He entered the prison this morning all wiggles and wags and so happy to meet everyone. Rocco’s handler is thrilled to have another dog to train, and we think they will make a great team. Stay tuned for updates on this hunk-a-burnin’ love!
Rocco’s PetFinder Profile can be found here:

1/27/2023   This was kind of a strange week for Rocco.  For whatever reason, he didn’t want me to leave him alone whether it was for five to ten minutes or me walking to the trash can.  Thankfully, the last two days he eased up.

Every night, I get in his crate with him and give him my daily pep talk.  I comfort him, telling him he did a great job, or telling him the things we need to work on.  I also tell him to have a good night’s sleep and that I will see him in the morning, God willing.  When I have these conversations with him, I swear he understands every word I say.

Rocco and Bruno generally don’t like each other, but this week, we were able to have them in the dog yard together, on leash, without either of them barking at each other.  Huge milestone!

1/20/2023   When I was given Kane, and now Rocco to train, I’ve seen so much and learned a lot.  They literally have become gifts in my life and continue to be so.  Rocco has made tremendous strides at getting along with Oreo, Roxie, and now Finnegan.  I’m so proud of him!

Rocco’s energy speaks on so many levels; he really does become the LIFE of anyone’s down day.  My greatest joy is when people request to see Rocco.  They love the energy he brings.  Honesty, I can’t recall Rocco ever having a bad day.  Do dogs even have those?  I thank God for Rocco!

1/13/2023   Every morning now Rocco looks to eat a bowl of fruit loops with his breakfast.  Shame on me for starting this tradition, but the look that he gives me softens my heart to the core.  I swear, Rocco is almost the spitting image of my prior dog, Kane.

I’ve been taking Rocco for walks with the other dogs so he can be more comfortable being around and with them.  He’s doing well.  Sometimes people confuse him barking at other dogs as being aggressive.  This is not the case!  Rocco just gets really excited and wants to play.  He yearns for play and companionship–what has been missing for most of his life, until he came to HOPE.  When other dogs play, he wants to play too, and vocalizes.  But, it’s with excited barks!

Rocco also loves to chill with me.  Rocco will lay face to face with me claiming his spot on the pillow, nesting his head on my arm, while snoring!   This pup is such a love muffin!

1/6/2023  When people see me walking with Rocco they often say that he looks like my twin.  I smile because knowing where he came from, Rocco walks with confidence and you can see at times a smile on his face as he walks.  I love it when I hear the compliments he receives.  I especially love seeing the faces of people as they watch in awe his progress when going around the other dogs.  Rocco just wants to play.  He wants to be a part of whatever is going on, whether it’s with people or dogs.

I also noticed that Rocco likes taking the lead when walking with the other dogs.  He hates being in the rear of the pack!  He is funny!

Rocco has lots of character and it’s a joy to watch as others experience what I get to witness every day.  I love it when I hear people chant his name, “ROCCO!”  His energy is uplifting.

What people don’t see is that this stocky butt loves to cuddle!

12/30/2022   I don’t know what got into Rocco the other day.  I put his dog bowl down, and he looked at me like he was asking, “What else are you going to put in my bowl?”  So, I chopped up a hotdog for him thinking that would do it.  NOPE.  I then sprinkled some mozzarella on his food, and I swear I saw a smile on his face.  Rocco is no dummy, that’s for sure!

This week, I had conversations with Rocco for playing too rough.  He’s doing so much better; he’s even playing with Roxy now.  Sometimes, when he gets in that rough play mood, he’ll look at me as if he’s saying, “Sorry, don’t give up on me!”  The look he gives me touches me to my very core.

I tell Rocco that his time is coming for his forever home.  He’s listening. . .

12/23/2022   This week, Rocco didn’t disappoint.  The snow came, and I couldn’t wait to take Rocco out.  I’m not sure if Rocco had ever been exposed to snow before because when he stepped in it, it almost seemed foreign to him.  It was funny watching him tip-toe through it, not sure what was underneath him.

Once he figured it out, he ran though it with the zoomies.  Then he settled in and just wanted to eat the snow.  When the men came out to shovel, Rocco started jumping around in a playful manner trying to catch the snow in mid-air and acting like a goof ball.

This week, Rocco met Oreo for the first time, face-to-face, on leash.  It was hilarious to see Oreo lick Rocco in the face.  Rocco tried to do his normal chest bump, but with Oreo being so big, Rocco didn’t have to jump.

I’m so happy to see Rocco getting along with some of the other dogs in HOPE.  For the first time, Roxy and Rocco were able to run the fence together–that was huge.  I’m just so proud of this “meatball!”

12/16/2022   It’s been a beautiful week with Rocco to say the least!  I decided to try something different this week with Rocco.  Ever since I got him, Rocco will lie in my bed all day, but at night, it’s my time for the bed, so I would tell Rocco “crate.”   He would go into the crate and sleep for about 10 to 15 minutes, then he would hop his meatball butt into bed with me.  Well let me tell you, the bed is NOT big enough for both of us!  The past few nights, I’ve been latching the crate, but in the middle of the night, Rocco somehow manages to get out of the crate and jumps into bed with me.  He knows I’m too tired to care that he’s in the bed.  So yes, we are still working on that.

Did I tell you that Rocco eats his breakfast in bed?  Well, he does.  AND he likes a few fruit loops on his dog food, along with some roast beef.  Rocco is smart–sometimes, too smart!  There are times that Rocco reminds me so much of Kane!

12/09/2022  At this very moment Rocco is trying to nibble on the pen I am using to write this journal entry!  All week Rocco has been turned up!  First thing in the morning, I’m not sure what his dreams are about, but whatever they are they have him ready to PLAY!  Even before he eats breakfast, he needs to play.  He knows darn well that I only have so much time to get ready for work, and get him ready.  He also knows I don’t like to leave until he’s eaten breakfast, so he saves that for last.  He knows I’m sucker for this “meatball”!

Rocco is doing better and better meeting random new people and he’s adjusting to having new dogs come on the block and other dogs leave.  We’re still working on “give it” when he has something, so we’re still trading things, but to just hand it over without anything in trade is a big NOPE from meatball!  We’ll keep working on it though!

12/02/2022 Thanksgiving was a little different this year, as it was just me and Rocco.  We’re not sure how he spent his last few Thanksgivings, but this time around Rocco’s bowl was overflowing with turkey, a little stuffing, and a little bit of pumpkin pie!  And it really is true that after a turkey dinner you really do need that nap, because Rocco passed out with a full belly and a smile on his face!  In fact, he didn’t want to go anywhere the rest of the day, I think he was waiting for a second helping!

We continue to work on Rocco’s ability to go from 0 to 60 and back to 0.  He’s doing really well with it, and all his other training too! Rocco’s future home will need to dedicate time to continue working with Rocco to help him be successful in a home.  He’s a lot of dog, lots of energy, but eager to work and make you happy too!  Rocco would also like to make sure that his future family definitely includes him on EVERY future Thanksgiving meal every year!  

11/25/2022  When it’s time for me to go to work, Rocco puts up a bit of a fuss because he doesn’t want me to leave.  So I have a conversation with him, assuring him that I’m coming back.  When I return, he gives me the biggest greeting as if I’ve been gone all day.  It puts a smile on my face.  Sometimes I forget that being in the prison in Rocco’s longest stay in a home in his life.  Unbelievable.
I lay down with Rocco at night and tell him how proud I am of him.   I tell him to have a good night and that God willing, I will see him in the morning.
Rocco is soon to have a home visit.  I pray that he will find his forever home soon.  He deserves it!!  He really is great.  My boy, Rocco, “Meatball.”
11/18/2022  What started out as a bathroom break for Rocco turned into a full-blown play session when it snowed for the first time this week.  I had never witnessed his reaction to snow.   Heck, I don’t even know if he had ever seen snow before.   My guess is that he hadn’t because he went CRAZY.  He pulled me like he was a reindeer and I was Santa.  It was so funny!  I wasn’t really dressed for the snow so our time outside was short.  Rocco gave me a look like “Hey, dude, why didn’t you put on warmer clothes so we could stay out longer?”  I can’t wait till we get a really big snow to see how he reacts.  Stay tuned for that!
Rocco is doing really well and is getting along with everyone!  That’s my boy!
11/11/2022   Rocco (Meatball) is really thriving, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.
Rocco does this thing where he doesn’t want me to lay down, or “rest up.” So when I lay down on my bed, he immediately jumps up and lays right across me, which means one of two things.  He either wants to play or sleep!
Rocco likes to sit with me in the exercise yard and watch the cars go by.  Often, we see a car with a dog in the passenger seat and Rocco will run to the end of the gate, curious.  He’ll also stare at low-flying airplanes.  I swear, Rocco has so much personality.  It’s always something different with him–in a good way.   Rocco reminds me so much of my prior dog, Kane.  It’s crazy!
11/04/2022  Let me tell you about this Meatball!  I have to admit, he’s very smart and crafty!  Rocco sleeps in my bed when I’m at work.  But at night night time, he knows the bed is all mine.  So he goes in his crate at night.  This week, though, just as I got comfy in bed, Meatball jumps right into bed with me.  I was too tired to get him off, so we shared the bed for the night.  I have to tell ya, there wasn’t much room for either of us, and he also snored!   I know he was smiling.  He had that look—
“I gotcha!”
Rocco has lots of energy, but he’s becoming more calm around people.  I’m also really working on calming down his hard play.  It’s working.
10/28/2022  Let me tell you about this joker named Rocco!  He does this new thing trying to prevent me from going to the shower.  The moment he sees me pulling on my shower shorts he grabs at them, not ripping them, but not wanting me to put them on, knowing that I will have to leave him for a little while.  So, I distract him with a high value treat so I can get dressed and head to the shower.
Rocco really is a big kid at heart.   All he wants is love and you can see it.
I am still working on his aggressive play.  He is NOT aggressive, he just likes to play rough.  It’s a work in progress, but it is getting better!
10/21/2022   I am happy to report that Rocco (“Meatball”) has finally made a friend with the new kid on the block–Tank, which is a calming sight to see.  Rocco has really settled in and his temperament toward people is beyond exceptional.  He puts smiles on the faces of everyone he meets.  And, seeing HIM smile is pure joy.
Rocco is fascinated with role toys and flimsy Frisbees.  He will literally play all day with the Frisbee, jumping and twisting in the air like a cat.  When it’s time for him to cool down, he’ll lay right on me or next to me and snore like a trucker.  LOL.
Rocco’s commands are going really well, and I have been working on calming down his heightened play, which is also improving!
10/14/2022   Well, folks, let me tell you about Rocco, aka Meatball.  He is thriving every day with new tasks.  We’re working on him getting along with other male dogs, but his space is his space.  LOL.
The other night, Rocco went into his crate to go to bed.   He was even snoring.  So, I figured it was safe to get some food out for a snack.  As I put the food in the bowl, Rocco wakes up and gives me a look like “Yo, buddy, you’re busted, and I want in!”   I tried to remain firm but that didn’t last long.  Of course, I shared my food with him.  I guess that’s the price I pay for getting him on the treadmill!
10/07/2022  Rocco, aka “Meatball,” has officially found a new joy–the treadmill!  When he is on it, the look on his face is priceless.  It’s like he is sticking his head out of the window of a moving car against the wind.  His ears are pinned back and he is smiling, whether the treadmill is going fast or slow.  He really enjoys it, and he is gassed afterwards.
One of many of Rocco’s great qualities is his genuine love of people.  He loves affection.  It’s funny because he knows when I am about to leave for work.  He barricades himself at the door and then gives me this look that says “Please don’t leave me!”
Rocco is doing great with all of his commands.  I’m so proud of him!
09/30/2022   Rocco is really fun to work with.  I love it when he walks into a room with his clam demeanor and demands everyone’s attention.  Everyone loves him!  If you haven’t encountered him before, he’ll introduce himself to you, like, “Hey, it’s me, ‘Meatball,’ nice to meet you!”
Rocco loves rope toys and basketballs.  If he could get all the toys in his mouth at once, he would!
Rocco sits in front of me when I eat, and looks at me with one ear up and one ear down.  He’ll start to whine when I don’t look at him.  Of course I cave in!  Yes, yes, that’s my Rocco!
09/23/2022  Working with Rocco is a lot of fun.  He’s really smart.  I was working on exchange (treat for a toy).  Last night was the first time he actually did it for me.  He had a small ball in his mouth and when I asked him to release it, he did, and I gave him a treat.
I also worked on his stay.  With a ball in my hand I would give the command to “stay” while I threw the ball.  It took awhile but he eventually got it, and I continued to work with him on that.
There were some tours of the block this week.  I took Rocco out, and he did all of his tricks for the guests.  He is always on his best behavior!
09/16/2022  I couldn’t be more pleased to let you know that Rocco aka “Meatball” is thriving.  He now has found another girlfriend in Lacey.  Lacey tries to run circles around Rocco, but Lacey knows that Rocco is also fast!  Seeing him play and smile is beautiful to watch.  It’s sad knowing that Lacey will be leaving for her forever home, so another one of Rocco’s girlfriends will soon be gone.
Rocco loves to meet people.  He really is a joy to be around.  He has this infatuation with holding on to the basketball.  It’s funny.  I still can’t get over the fact that when he snores, you really think that a human is in the room!
Rocco is doing great with all of his commands.  He likes to play hard, so I am working on calming him when he gets to that point.
09/09/2022  Rocco continues to adjust well.  He played on leash with Libby this week.  To see Rocco’s excitement was a treat to watch.  He was smiling as he was playing.  He also played with Pixie this week–Rocco is definitely a ladies’ man!
All Rocco wants to do is meet people.  If you don’t pet him, he starts this really cute whining.  He is a joy to be around and so full of life.  When Rocco is winding down he just wants to lay down beside me.  It blows my mind listening to Rocco snore.  I swear he sounds like a human.
Rocco’s loose leash walking has improved.  He only pulls when he gets excited.  His excitement level is high right now, but when when he gets there, I immediately calm him.  He really just wants to play because that is something he was missing when he was in the kennel.
09/02/2022  Rocco, aka “Beef Cake,” is already becoming a favorite with everyone!  The temperament he displays toward people is refreshing.  He genuinely loves people.  All he wants is to be loved on, and he whimpers when you walk away.  He loves jumping in the bed and cuddling.  He loves his rope toy and plays with his basketball, chomping on them.  He listens well and is extremely smart.  He already knows giving paw, high five, bowing, rolling over, and sitting petty. His one ear is up and the other is down–it’s so cute.  His bark, which is a little high pitched and unexpected based on the Beef Cake he is, reminds me of my former dog, Kane’s, bark.
So far, he’s been great in my cell.  Rocco hasn’t destroyed any thing.  I was told that when he was in the kennel he ripped up his beds, but he’s been fine here.  I think he just wanted out of that kennel!  Rocco can really pull on the leash, so we are focusing on that right now.
I honestly don’t know how no one wanted to adopt Rocco, and he sat in a kennel for two years.  He is a great dog and loves people, especially females.  He gets so much love here.  We’ve got you, Rocco!


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