'We named him Rocky because he’s such a champ.' Puppy unable to walk given second chance by Detroit Dog Rescue

Posted at 2:24 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 14:26:51-05

(WXYZ)  — A little dog with special needs is getting a second chance at a long happy life thanks to Detroit Dog Rescue.

Rocky, who is believed to be around 13 weeks old, was born with swimmer’s syndrome, a developmental condition where the animal’s muscles and ligaments are sprawled out making it hard to walk.

Photos courtesy Detroit Dog Rescue

“They really need the physical therapy — water, treadmill and a lot of consistent therapy to learn how to utilize those muscles and, of course, grow those muscles in order to walk,” said Kristina Rinaldi, executive director of the Detroit Dog Rescue.

Rinaldi said she heard about Rocky and knew her and her team could help the pit bull puppy.

“Nobody in the area really works with these dogs, and I’m just so excited that, by chance, he landed in my hands,” she said. “So many times these dogs end up being euthanized or they don’t get the help that they need when they’re younger and then they can never learn how to walk.”

Rinaldi said the Detroit Dog Rescue worked with another puppy recently, whose nickname is Guppy Puppy, and had great success. The physical therapist liked working with the dog so much, the pair decided never to part.

“He actually went on to live a great life with his physical therapist,” said Rinaldi. “He goes on hikes in the woods, he swims, he does everything.”

She said Rocky now holds a special place in her heart, because of his can-do attitude.

“We named him Rocky because he’s such a champ, he loves people and he doesn’t give up,” Rinaldi said.

Photos courtesy Detroit Dog Rescue

Right now, Rocky is working with that same physical therapist and staying with a veterinary team as he continues on his road to recovery.

As he progresses, Rinaldi said they will be looking for a foster or an adopter who can continue the special training and physical therapy that the dog will need.

“He has a really good prognosis, we’re seeing movement in his back legs, but it is something that can take months, and it’s very expensive.”

Rinaldi said people interested in donating toward Rocky’s therapy can give directly on the DDR’s website here.

“At DDR, we deal with a lot of underdogs, and I’m just so happy that we’re going to be able to give him a chance,” she said.