Some have asked for more info on Rocky, so I've posted the following:
In the Summer of 2011, I was at one of the emotional low points many of us have in life. Coming out of a relationship and eyeing 40 while alone I flirted with the idea of adopting a dog. I grew up with dogs, but hadn't had one of my own since adolescence. But I knew about the responsibility and logistics involved, so I was hesitant. But my oldest daughter colluded with a close female friend of mine and together they convinced me to at least look at this 3-legged boxer my daughter had found while searching shelter listings online. He was with a group called Rufus Rescue. We'd been looking both there and Atlanta Boxer Rescue (another great group that I personally donate to).
Still a bit hesitant (because I was unsure of how much extra work a little dude missing one of his front legs would be) I met him on a muggy Atlanta afternoon in August 2011... and immediately I knew that he was my dog. It's hard to say exactly how/why. Inner voice? Gut feeling? Something spiritual? Maybe all of the above. But whatever the case, he immediately took to me, and me to him. At that moment the only question I had was what I would name my new friend. They were calling him "Petey". But that just didn't work for me. Besides, he just doesn't look like a Petey. Even though I know boxers are a German breed, I wanted to keep my personal tradition of Irish-themed names for my pets (my cats, for example, have been named "Guinness" and "Murphy"... to give you an idea). Then it hit me: I'll name him "Shamrock", after the famous Irish symbol that has... 3 petals.
. But it struck me that he's also the kind of dog that just begs for a nickname... something other than his proper name to call him by... so "Rocky" is was/is. Plus, it fit as well. Like the titular movie boxer played by Sylvester Stallone, this Rocky is an underdog with the heart of a champion. So, his proper name is Shamrock... but he goes by "Rocky".
From the very beginning, Rocky has had a loving and friendly personality that betrays his ordeals and experiences. He was already missing his left front leg and had just had it surgically removed before I adopted him. What we were told is that his original owners were neglectful (possibly abusive) and had him in the back of a truck with the tail gate down while traveling down the road, and he fell out. His leg was ruined. What's worse, these terrible people did absolutely nothing about it and abandoned him and his brother. They duo were at a kill shelter when Rufus Rescue saved them both. Unfortunately for Rocky, it was too late to save the leg and it had to be amputated all the way because it was just dangling, weighing him down and impeding his mobility. It was also becoming infected. He recovered very quickly from his amputation. When I adopted him it was only a few weeks after the surgery (he literally had the staples removed and the "cone" taken off that very morning) and he was already remarkably mobile. I was originally concerned about him navigating the stairs in my house, but he instantly put that at ease by following me up and down the stairs as soon as I brought him home for the first time. In every way, this was a handi-capable dog. He can do pretty much anything that any other dog can, including running at full speed. It wasn't long before I actually become oblivious to his non-disability (he already seemed to be unaware of it himself). I would take him to a dog park and people would ask "Aww, what's wrong with him?" and it would take me a few moments to figure out that it's the missing leg they were referring to. Because, of course, to me (and to him) he has nothing wrong with him.
Rocky is a dog with immense heart. He loves people unconditionally. And he just wants to be around you all the time. That's the only thing he wants. He also gets along great with all other dogs and even loves his cat brother, Murphy. So perfect is his disposition and personality that I find myself wishing I could have adopted his brother too (who, by the way, I would have nicknamed "Rambo"... haha). And Rocky is still all boxer. He's a total goofball and clown sometimes. Hardly a day goes by where he doesn't do something to make me laugh.
Make no mistake, I may have saved Rocky by adopting him... But the truth is, he saved me, too. He is my best friend and buddy.
Now on to why this page exists... Unfortunately, the constant stress on that one remaining front shoulder has caused almost all of the ligaments and tendons to be strained and they are in danger of rupturing at any time. If that happens it would be very difficult to save the leg, and he'd likely lose it as well. While it's possible for dogs to survive with no front legs it would obviously be extremely difficult for him to get around and have any kind of normal life. The best preventative measure is an extensive shoulder & joint reconstruction surgery that will "shore up" the ligaments and ease strain in the muscles and the entire joint area and also include an internal prosthesis. This will likely be done at South Cherokee Animal Hospital in Woodstock, GA not too far from where we live. I have called 2 other local animal hospitals as well, including one where a family friend works. They are all in agreement that this is probably his best option, if costly. The silver lining his that he's still pretty young (only 3-4) so the likelihood of success and recovery is very good. And even more importantly, the shoulder will be stronger and more durable than it ever was and he will have a good continued quality of life for years to come. It's the least we can do for a friendly, living who has already endured enough.
If you can help Rocky, please do. And know that it will be going to help an amazing dog that is loved.
In any case, we sincerely thank you for your support.