An ex-shelter dog on the euthanasia list is now serving as a search dog in Texas

By Alexia Fernández
August 30, 2017 11:57 PM
Credit: Search Dog Foundation

From rescue to rescuer.

Rocket, a Sacramento shelter dog, was once considered too high energy to be adopted and was scheduled to be euthanized.

However, it was that energy that saved his life and now is helping him to save the lives of those caught up in Texas’ deadly floods.

Credit: Search Dog Foundation

As he awaited euthanasia in 2012, the local SPCA saw Rocket’s potential and recommended he be tested as a potential rescue dog — a test he failed.

Denise Sanders, a spokeswoman for the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, tells PEOPLE Rocket did not initially pass the evaluation required for potential search dogs to enter the foundation’s program.

“The evaluator fell in love with him,” Sanders says. “So, she took him home and decided she wanted to give him another chance.”

Months later in 2013, Rocket passed with “flying colors.”

Credit: Search Dog Foundation

Since passing his evaluation, Rocket has been working alongside Michael Stornetta, an engineer with the Windsor Fire District in Sonoma County, California.

Together, the pair is now helping search and rescue efforts in Texas where the death toll from Hurricane Harvey continues to rise.

Credit: Search Dog Foundation

The Border Collie mix whose high energy almost caused him to lose his life, will now be using that energy to try to locate survivors.

“They could be going door to door where flood waters have been receded,” Sanders says. “They could be checking debris piles. They could be checking to see that no one has been left alive. They only search for live victims.”

Sanders revealed Rocket and Stornetta are one of 14 dog pairs trained through the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation sent to help with relief efforts in Texas.

“There are definitely other Rockets out there,” she adds.