This Chocolate Lab Was Neglected For YEARS, Then This Happened

Sitting With Dogs

Join animal advocate Rocky Kanaka on a heartfelt and authentic journey as he visits scared and lonely shelter dogs, armed with nothing but his iPhone and a deep desire to provide comfort and hope. In this unpretentious series, Rocky quietly sits with these homeless dogs, capturing their stories and unique personalities. Through the simplicity of his approach, he aims to shed light on the challenges they face and help them find loving homes. Experience the power of genuine connection and the transformative impact it can have on both humans and animals in this sincere exploration of companionship and second chances.

1. The Heartwarming Journey of Teddy the Golden Retriever

Sitting With Dogs: Teddy the Golden Retriever - This Chocolate Lab Was Neglected For YEARS

Meet Teddy—an exuberant 2-year-old male Golden Retriever who was found on the front porch of a couple in the community. They searched for the Golden’s owner, but with no identification it was almost impossible. So they took him on walks in the surrounding area to see if anyone recognized him. The couple eventually took him to the shelter in case his owners were searching.

After he spent some time at the shelter, Dawn, an employee stationed at the shelter’s front desk, couldn’t help but form an instant connection with the spirited canine. Dawn said if she could, she would love to take Teddy home with her.

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Enter Rocky Kanaka, who felt an uncanny kinship with Teddy. In fact, Rocky mused that if he were a dog, he would undoubtedly be a Golden Retriever (given his fondness for the breed).

Rocky’s bond with Teddy grew evident as he spent time sitting with the pup in his enclosure, creating a heartwarming scene of camaraderie between man and dog.

However, the shelter environment, with its cacophony of barks and restless energy, weighed heavily on Teddy’s nerves, exacerbating his high anxiety. In a moment of unfortunate commotion when other dogs joined the chorus of vocalizations, Teddy’s anxious movements led to an unintentional scratch on Rocky’s skin. It was a reminder of the stressful circumstances shelter animals often endure.

Despite the challenges, Teddy’s endearing personality shone through. His affable nature caught the attention of prospective adopters, resulting in two separate holds on the enthusiastic Golden Retriever. But fate had other plans, as the first potential adopter failed to materialize, leaving Teddy’s future hanging in the balance.

Sitting With Dogs: Teddy the Golden Retriever - This Chocolate Lab Was Neglected For YEARS

Just when it seemed that Teddy’s prospects were dimming, a ray of hope emerged from an unexpected source. The very couple who had stumbled upon Teddy on their own doorstep, the ones who had initially brought him to the shelter’s attention, returned with the intent to provide him with a forever home.

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Through Rocky and Dawn’s devotion, Teddy’s resilience, and the unwavering commitment of his original rescuers, the story underscores the remarkable capacity for love that exists within the realm of our four-legged friends.

Indeed, the Golden Retriever, a breed known for its exuberant spirit and remarkable beauty, took center stage in this heartening narrative. As Teddy settled into his newfound home, his story served as a reminder that even amidst life’s uncertainties, the unbreakable bonds formed in the presence of compassion can transform a chance encounter into a lifelong companionship.

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2. Charlie Was Neglected For Years.

Sitting With Dogs: This Chocolate Lab Was Neglected For YEARS

A striking chocolate Labrador stray was discovered by a kind-hearted passerby at a nearby casino and dropped off at the shelter’s night drop. Following a swift assessment, the dog found himself confined to a kennel and feeling quite anxious. The shelter’s occupants seldom include a Labrador, the 2nd most popular breed in America.

Rocky decides to sit down with Charlie and his approach is measured as he navigates Charlie’s apprehension. The Lab’s initial responses are cautious—underscoring his unease not only in Rocky’s presence but in a shelter environment. “He is totally shut down,” Rocky commented. Rocky was surprised that Lab was this shutdown. “Usually Labs are so happy, so to see a Lab like this it could have been years of neglect,” added Rocky.

Sitting With Dogs: This Chocolate Lab Was Neglected For YEARS, Then This Happened

Through patience and observation, Rocky unearths a breakthrough: a love for treats and an unexpected fondness for toys. The interactions between Rocky and the Lab mark a pivotal juncture in his transformation. Under the joint care of Rocky and the Mel, a caring groomer, Charlie’s evolution takes center stage. While progress is evident, Charlie still grapples with deep-seated fears—manifesting in his aversion to sudden loud noises and swift movements.

Rocky is surprised to learn that Charlie knows a trick, he can shake his paw on command which shows that at some point, someone loved Charlie enough to take the time to spend time with him.

Charlie’s story underscores the role of compassion in his turnaround. As Charlie seeks a permanent home, his narrative remains a testament to the resilience of both the canine spirit and the human capacity for empathy.

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3. Greta – Available For Adoption.

sitting with dogs - emaciated dog Greta

Encountered by Animal Control on the streets, this young girl’s journey began as a tale of uncertainty. With no identification microchip or collar, her plight was clear – she was not only without a home, and she was emaciated. Greeted with concern, her story took a hopeful turn as the shelter team welcomed her into their care, affectionately dubbing her Greta.

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A regimen of three carefully portioned meals a day was introduced, marking the first step towards her recovery as she embarked on a quest to regain her lost weight. The team, compassionate and skilled, also addressed her other medical needs, tending to her well-being.

sitting with dogs - emaciated dog Greta

Greta’s journey to a brighter future continued as she experienced the luxury of a much-needed bath, a respite from her days wandering the streets. Among those who extended a helping hand was Rocky, whose own recent loss of his beloved Boxer named Flip stirred deep emotions. Their encounter transcended the ordinary, as their connection formed against the backdrop of shared loss and newfound hope. Greta’s longing for a stable and loving home resonated with Rocky’s own experience.

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This boxer is emaciated and was forced to breed
Greta the Boxer mix is filthy and emaciated.

In terms of lineage, Greta emerges as a Boxer mix – a breed renowned for its agility and strength, evoking the image of graceful athletes. The Boxer’s playful nature and spirited disposition define their character, particularly their affinity for engaging with children. With a role as both vigilant protectors and cherished family members, Boxers approach their duties fearlessly, standing guard against threats with unwavering courage. Early socialization with various individuals and animals during puppyhood lays the foundation for their well-rounded personalities.

From the depths of uncertainty, she now stands on the precipice of a new chapter. With the shelter’s nurturing care, Rocky’s empathetic presence, and the inherent strength of her breed, Greta embodies the potential for transformation and healing.

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4. Brandy – Available For Adoption

Sitting With Dogs: Brandy - This Chocolate Lab Was Neglected For YEARS

Brandy is a 4-year-old Pit Bull mix that came into the shelter because her owners turned her in. After Eva mentions she would take her home if she could, Rocky sits with her a bit outside in the yard to get to know her a little better. Brandy is already sterilized, great with kids, dogs, and is housebroken. All she needs is love and a forever home!


5. Daisy – Available For Adoption

Sitting with dogs: Daisy

Daisy is a young Pit Bull/Boxer mix at Animal Friends of the Valleys that is only a year and a half old. She came into the shelter as a stray from a good samaritan finding her and turning her in, and now she waits to be adopted. She was mentioned by Annette, a dog walker volunteer at the shelter, when asked if which dog she would take home if she could because she immediately flips over for belly rubs! Daisy is housebroken already, gentle, a little shy, but loves belly rubs!

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Sitting with dogs: Daisy

6. Ella – Available For Adoption

Sitting with dogs: Ella

Although this Aussie/Terrier mix female is shy and timid, she has a lot of heart for those she comes to know! Sharyl mentioned Ella by name when asked if she could take any dog home, who would it be. Ella is taken to get combed and bathed by Mel in the groom room, where Rocky stops by to check on how she’s doing.


7. Molly – Available For Adoption

Sitting with dogs: Molly

Molly, nicknamed by Rocky, is a 6 month old stray black Lab girl that was mentioned by name by Animal Care staff Felix to say he would take her home if he could. Her puppy energy is infectious and brings joy to all around her


8. This Dog Was One Big Mat!

Sitting with dogs: matted dog

This 3-year-old Yorkie-poo girl surprised Rocky when she came down the hallway looking like a complete mess. Rocky was ready to see her get groomed right off the bat – it’s like her body was one big mat! Lisa, one of the Client Service Representatives, said she would take her home if she could. 

Nicknamed by the shelter Wednesday, she came into the shelter as an Animal Control pick up with no microchip or collar. Her groom was a big struggle that included sedation due to her nervousness and neglectful past, but she was a brand new dog at the end of her groom, and was thankfully adopted soon after!

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