Due to his high energy, Rocket was considered unadoptable and placed on the euthanasia list, but the SPCA staff knew he had promising Search Dog characteristics and contacted Andrea to evaluate him for our program.
They achieved FEMA Certification and this [Hurricane Harvey relief] is their second deployment together, but first major deployment as members of Oakland-based California Task Force 4.
Denise Sanders, a spokeswoman for the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, further explained to PEOPLE that his evaluator Angela “fell in love with him” and took him home with her because she wanted to give him another chance after initially failing the search dog evaluation in 2012. Months later, in 2013, Rocket passed the test “with flying colors.”
On September 6th, the Windsor Fire Protection District, where Mike and Rocket are based, shared an update about the duo’s work.
“The task force was on its way home from Hurricane Harvey when FEMA called and said we need your help, Hurricane Irma is coming ashore. The ‘convey’ did a U- turn and are now headed to help with yet another natural disaster,” they wrote. “The team is crossing back through Texas right now headed to Alabama to get their next assignment.”
“Firefighter K-9 handler Mike Stornetta said, ‘We are in good spirits and remain ready to help!’ Mike said that ‘Rocket is settling into life on the road but he is eager to get out and do his job.’ Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected and all of the front line responders on the ground helping those in need!”
There’s no doubt about it: Rocket and Mike are true heroes!