This ‘Unadoptable’ Dog Is Now Saving Lives In Texas

From unadoptable to rescuer

Five years ago, a rambunctious shelter dog named “Rocket” was deemed un-adoptable; his boundless energy believed to be too much for any adopter to take on. Fast forward to today – the border collie mix was given a second chance after employees at the Sacramento SPCA saw his potential as a search and rescue dog, reported the Sacramento Bee.

It wasn’t immediately smooth sailing for the high-drive dog. In fact, he failed his initial evaluation by a National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) recruiter. Fortunately, despite Rocket’s inability to pass the first-round testing, he was adopted by Andrea, the SDF recruiter who evaluated him, and her canine handler husband.

With the help of his adoptive family, Rocket was able to get into the SDF program, where he “thrived in training.” In 2014, Rocket was partnered with Engineer Mike Stornetta of the Windsor Fire District – together, they achieved FEMA Certification. The duo is currently one of 14 search dog pairs who are deployed to Texas to aid in the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Rocket’s high drive may have been too much for the average family to take on, but it’s just what is needed to make him a successful search and rescue canine. Recruiter of Search Dog Rocket, Andrea B. stated, “I’m so glad that Mike and Rocket are able to respond to those in need (in Texas)! It is truly amazing to see how far Rocket has come! I’m overwhelmed to think of all of the people and time and effort that has gone into a stray dog that no one wanted. This is what it’s all about! Great Job SDF!!!”

(Photo: Lalita Segal/National Disaster Search Dog Foundation)

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Penny Eims

Penny is a freelance writer who provided content to her National Dog News column at for 8 years. She is a current contributor to Fido Friendly Magazine, as well as a newly formed website, Pet Rescue Report. Penny is married and she has two rescued German shepherds and two kids.


  1. Sandy Wittliff says:

    You are the best– thanks

  2. TERRY FURLONG says:


  3. JERRY EDELMAN says:

    As I always say, NO DOG is unadoptable. It is just a matter of finding the right fit for both the dog and the human. So when shelters label dogs or any pet for that matter “UNADOPTABLE” what in reality they are doing is labeling themselves as “LAZY” in not trying to find that perfect fit that saves the life of that pet. PLAIN & SIMPLE.

    1. Carrie Peterkin says:

      Jerry Edelman hit that one right on the head… what if we started labeling kids as unloveable? Time and effort and finding the right mix almost always works. Rocket, rock on!

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