When the Lassen County Animal Shelter in California first found Rocky, the yellow Labrador Retriever was so terrified of people that it took days for the shelter staff to finally catch him. When they examined him, they determined that Rocky was in bad shape, probably abused, and injured with shrapnel from buckshot.
Because of his timid nature, it didn’t look like Rocky would ever find a home. The shelter staff didn’t want to give up on the Lab just yet, however; instead, they contacted the Pups on Parole program, which proved to be a game-changer for Rocky. During his time at the prison, inmates trained Rocky to gain confidence and trust people again.
Dawn Tibbets, a prison employee, met Rocky and knew that he would be the perfect match for her husband, Floyd.
“I looked at him and he looked at me and he just looked like he wanted to go home with me that day,” Dawn explains. “And I just couldn’t leave him.”
Rocky fit in immediately with the Tibbets family, forging a fast bond with Dawn and Floyd.
Floyd, an avid rock collector, enjoys taking Rocky with him on rock-hunting missions. On one long walk through a California canyon, Floyd suddenly collapsed with chest pains. Disoriented and suffering from irregular heartbeats, Floyd struggled to his feet.
“It looked like I had been in a cat fight,” Floyd remembers. “Lost my glasses. Of course, I lost my hat, so I had no protection from the sun.”
Floyd tried to make his way out of the canyon to safety, but he quickly became lost. Falling in and out of consciousness in the hot sun, it looked like he might not make it home.
But loyal Lab Rocky wasn’t about to let his best friend go that easily. When Floyd would start to slip into unconsciousness, Rocky would lick his hand until Floyd came to again.
“That would wake me up, and if it didn’t, he’d just lay down beside me,” says Floyd.
Eventually Floyd was able to make it to his feet with Rocky’s help, and Rocky tried to lead Floyd back to the car.
“The only time he wandered off was what I started going the wrong way,” Floyd says of Rocky. “He started going the other way and finally I gave in to him.”
As if by some miracle, Rocky led Floyd back to the car and away from danger. Dawn Tibbets is beyond grateful to the dog that saved her husband’s life.
“I don’t think we would have found him in time,” says Dawn of her husband, “I don’t think he would have made it.”