They say good things come to those who wait and that certainly is true for this senior pit bull who has narrowly escaped the euthanasia list.

In a viral TikTok video shared by @shelterdogsofaz, the on-screen text explains: “Rocky sits by the door every day waiting for someone to ask to meet him…but no one ever does.”

The heartbreaking footage shows the black and white dog sitting directly in front of his kennel door and then he looks at the person filming with a glum facial expression.

The on-screen text explains that Rocky was on the euthanasia list. Katie Gerlach, who runs the TikTok page, told Newsweek: “Per shelter policies, Rocky was given a five-day deadline.”

Rocky
Two screenshots from the viral video showing Rocky sitting in front of the door with his head bowed down. He then looks at the camera with a sad facial expression.

TikTok/@shelterdogsofaz

She explained that Rocky was given up for a second time as his original owner put him up for sale on Facebook Marketplace. Then the second owner handed him over to a Phoenix, Arizona, based shelter but his reactivity towards other dogs made him unadoptable to the general public. He also has “escape tendencies,” told Gerlach.

“The shelter required Rocky to go to New Hope Rescues which is for dogs with behavioral or medical issues, which are not suitable for the general public. Many of these dogs get the behavioral and/or medical care needed and become adoptable once with a rescue,” she told Newsweek.

“Thankfully, he was rescued by a local rescue, Rescue Street and is safe in a foster home.”

With over 241,000 views and 31,200 likes, the clip’s reach proved instrumental in connecting Rocky with a lifeline. The original poster has since shared a message of relief: “ROCKY HAS BEEN RESCUED + IS SAFE.”

The heartwarming news has delighted thousands of users and the video has received over 2,400 comments.

“This breaks my heart. Lord, I pray that you would send the perfect adopter to save Rocky. He deserves to having a happy & loving home,” said one user, whose prayers have seemingly been answered.

Another user said: “It’s kills me when they’re older and yet so very hopeful. He needs his forever home now more than ever.”

A third commenter said: “Prayers for this sweet boy—those eyes say it all.”

While Rocky had a lucky escape, the same can’t be said for all dogs who end up in a shelter. According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized (390,000 dogs and 530,000 cats) each year. However, the number of dogs and cats euthanized in U.S. shelters annually has declined from approximately 2.6 million in 2011.

The decrease can be explained partly by a rise in the percentage of animals adopted as well as in the number of strays successfully returned to owners, says the ASCPA.

Animal shelters are overpopulated which is often why dogs like Rocky are put on the euthanasia list. The ASPCA website states that approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.1 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats.

“We estimate that the number of dogs and cats entering U.S. shelters annually has declined from approximately 7.2 million in 2011. The biggest decline was in dogs (from 3.9 million to 3.1 million),” adds the ASCPA.

Update 03/04/24, 4:58 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with comment from the OP, Katie Gerlach.

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