Do any dogs scare Rocco, or is Rocco the boss?
Rocco's mom: We have yet to meet any dog that Rocco is scared of. At day care, he goes in with the big dogs because he's too much for the littles. They call him the "big boss" and he's known to regulate a Great Dane, a couple of Great Pyrenees, tons of pit mixes, and a few boxers. His only weakness seems to be me. He cries like a little baby when he's separated from me. He even broke free from his harness and scaled a five-foot fence trying to get to me once.
Lady Prunella Knucklesnude von Wrinklebothum
Does Prunella know any tricks?
Prunella's mom: Yes! She is scary smart, which is expected for her breed. She high-fives, sits, spins, sits pretty on her hind legs—all on command with the occasional treat bribe. She also knows up, down, and off. If she really wants to, she can open doors with levered handles. She also grabs and picks things up with her front paws and will kind of throw things at you if she is feeling ignored. Those things she taught herself. Basically, she's a bossy monkey-dog.
At age 17, Sharky is a wise old lady. What has she taught you?
Sharky's mom: Sharky has taught me to be a better person. She survived the streets, she survived the kill shelter, and she survived being unwanted. Before Sharky came into our lives, she went through a trauma that never received any medical attention, so it left her malformed. Her lower jaw is crushed in like an accordion and her tongue is permanently pushed to the side—she can't move it in any other direction. She also suffered a broken back and broken ribs. I don't know what caused this—if she was hit by a car, or abused, or something else. But I do know absolutely no one helped her.
Sharky survived out of sheer will, and she never gave up. She pushed through pain and circumstances that are impossible for me to imagine. She could have become fearful or aggressive, but she has nothing but love for everyone she meets. She never let the bad things that happened to her make her bad.
Last year, we almost lost her. The doctor couldn't figure out what was wrong with her, and she slowly started to lose all her hair, and she lost a third of her body weight. Everyone wanted me to euthanize her, but if Sharky wasn't giving up, I wasn't either. After about seven months of this, we finally figured out what was wrong with her and were able to get her mostly back to normal, although she is still a sick dog. You would never know how ill she is.
Sharky shows me every day that it is okay to be a little weird, to never stop trying, and to not let the evil of the world make you bitter. She has shown me the value of patience—she waited 15 long years for a better life. Whenever I have a bad day, I think of all she has been through, and it makes me realize that nothing is actually that awful after all. I am the best version of myself because I met her. I will carry the lessons she has taught me in my heart for the rest of my life.
Thank You to Our Fantastic Sponsors!
The Stranger's Ugly Pet Contest is brought to you by our pet-loving friends at Urban Animal Clinic, Purrfect Cat Boarding, Emerald City Pet Rescue, and Red Dingo. Along with a photo shoot, all three finalists received a prize package of toys and goodies from PureAyre, Pioneer Pet, and Red Dingo.