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A family in Ohio left their pregnant dog in the back yard when they moved away. It was an unthinkable act. Neighbors kept watch, offering food and water. Eventually she would give birth to two males and a female. Four weeks later the neighbors saw that the mother was failing and knew the pups would, too. They gathered up the family and saw to it that they got care, but what next? The two males were fostered by loving families and the female still needed veterinary care. Fast forward four more weeks and my fiancee (now my husband) and I were looking for a puppy to love and share our home. We looked at lots of photos and we both fell in love with one 8 week old little boy. We went to the no-kill shelter to meet him and it was there that we learned his heart-breaking story. The foster family was wonderful! They said he learned fast and got along with their three kids and their cat. We were concerned that being taken from his mother at such a tender age that he might not have learned all the things she would teach. At that time we learned the female pup was still too small to adopt because the boys took most of the nutrition that mom and the neighbors had offered. She was still under the watchful eye of the veterinarian. The other male, we were told, was doing well. We fell in love with him instantly. He followed us with his eyes; at 8 weeks old he would sit on command and was nearly completely potty trained. There were only two problems: we had to wait one week so he could be neutered, and the kids had named him Mr. Bananas!! It was a very long week. When the time came, we made the joyful drive from PA to Ohio to get our furry little bundle. He had grown a little belly and looked even healthier! He had a little white spot just above his nose that I couldn't stop kissing. Half way my home we switched drivers so my fiancee could bond with him, as well. We renamed him Rocco. It seemed fitting since he is part Boxer and part Pit Bull. Rocco has four acres on which to romp and shares a queen size bed with another boxer mix who we would rescue a year later. They met at a no-kill shelter in NY State and bonded instantly. We're not sure who rescued who, but we're still in love with our pups. Rocco's muzzle has since turned gray and Jackson has started to age but at nine years we're all still inseparable. We never learned what happened to the others but pray that they found the joy that we have in these two.

Charlotte Mitchell