Hello, and welcome! My name is Devan, and the handsome devil you see in the banner is Rocky, a two year old shepherd mix rescue. Rocky's story is, sadly, nothing out of the ordinary. Surrendered by his owner to a overextended high kill shelter in Georgia in 2017, Rocky was one of the lucky bunch transported northwards to One Love Pet Adoptions in Scottsville, NY.
He came into our lives a few months after I moved back to the Rochester area, following my fulfillment of a six month seasonal position with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. After a long string of jobs involving work with either domestic animals or wildlife, I began seriously considering the possibility of training animals for wildlife conservation work. Choosing the right dog is tricky, and navigating the ins and outs of working dog training without significant mentoring is laughable. I researched breeders and spoke with professional handlers, but in the end, we fell for Rocky.
At the end of December, my boyfriend, AJ, and I had finally agreed we were ready for the additional member of our family, and visited the shelter on a whim "just to see what they had." I knew I wanted a dog with drive, an inclination to follow scent, and that special something that happens when you click with another being. I think that AJ was just interested in a partner that was interactive and people loving that would get along well with our little Golden mix, Faith. We walked a few dogs without seeing eye to eye, and decided we wanted to take out just one more, a big black dog with crazy eyes of gold and goofy ears that clearly hadn't decided whether they wanted to stand up or flop over.
In ten minutes we were charmed. He was all personality, running happily when we let him and sitting on our feet gazing up at us when we didn't. He was responsive, communicative, and all energy. And then he followed a trail left by what I'm certain was some small, scampering critter and buried his nose in the snow, tunneled all the way to those wacky ears. We took him home a little over an hour later. We chose the name "Rocky" after Rocky Peak Ridge, one of the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondack Mountain range, a summit I hope our little family will reach together in the near future.
His training has since been challenging. He is willing and responsive, but also reactive and easily distracted. He is uncomfortable with strange men, runners, and bicyclists. There is a great chance that he won't take to the work, or that my limited skills won't allow him to reach his full potential. But he is adventurous and forgiving, and I think that, with time and hopefully some willing mentors, there is a good chance that we can learn to love the work together.
It is a long road ahead, but we hope that you will enjoy joining us on our journey!
Happy trails and wagging tails!