San Diego, Ca. -- A dog in California who chewed off his own foot to escape tangled chains is getting a helping hand.
Learning to walk on three legs hasn't been easy for 11-month-old German Shepherd, Rocky. His hind leg was amputated after he nearly chewed it off trying to escape from a chain wrapped around his foot.
"It never seizes to amaze me the cruelty that people inflict upon their pets," said Melyssa Stayner, who is temporarily caring for Rocky.
Rocky's story began earlier this month when his owners surrendered him to the Orange County Animal Shelter.
The rescue took Rocky to the Alicia Pet Care Center in Mission Viejo where a veterinarian discovered "ligature marks in addition to festering wounds" on the dog's hind leg, according to a Facebook post by the organization. Rescue officials believed that Rocky was chained up and that the "chain wrapped around his foot so tightly that he literally chewed his foot off to free himself from the confinement and the pain," the post stated.
In California, it is illegal to keep a dog chained for more than three hours, but his owners told shelter officials they weren't sure how Rocky ended up the way he did.
After a four-hour surgery and weeks in recovery, he is now rooming with his temporary foster mom, San Diego resident Melyssa Stayner.
"I really think it's amazing after all he has been through and the cruelty other people put him through that he is still so loving," Stayner said. "At least we can help socialize him and teach him manners of an indoor dog and give him all the snuggles he needs."
Through her love, Rocky is getting stronger every day. Stayner, who lost her own German Shepherd, recently admitted that caring for Rocky has been like therapy.
"Because he meant so much to us, we're missing that piece in our life right now…just being able to help rocky is helping us, too, get over that," Stayner said. "He would be a great family dog, he loves to go for walks, he loves to play ball, he loves attention so he needs to go to a family that can spend a lot of time snuggling with him."
Although Rocky is in foster care, he is still eligible for adoption. The Coastal German Shepherd Rescue is currently accepting applications.