“After talking with staff, we’re almost positive it’s him!”

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In April 2018, Eileen and Chuck Russell thought they lost their sweet senior pooch, Rocky, for good. He wandered off their Central Texas property one night and, even after putting up posters and canvassing by car and ATV for a long time, they never found him. 

"My assumption at that point was, because we live in the country and there's a lot of coyotes, coyotes had probably gotten him," Russell told KCEN 6

This winter, a good samaritan found a sweet older dog on the side of the road who was emaciated and could barely stand. KCEN 6 reported that they took him to the Humane Society of Central Texas (HSCTX), but "it was clear the animal was sick. Vets didn't think he had many days left." Unfortunately, the 15-year-old pooch had cancer. HSCTX made the decision to enlist the help of Old Souls Animal Rescue and Retirement Home in Waco, a fostering program, so this elder statesdog, who rescuers named Batiste, wouldn't have to spend his remaining days in a shelter.    

But, in a surprising turn of events, Batiste got better! "He eats like a champ, he uses the doggy door on his own, and he is in great spirits living with dogs and cats who know to be gentle with him," HSCTX celebrated with a Facebook post on February 7. "We don't know how much time he has left but he is not leaving for the Rainbow Bridge any time soon."

By sheer chance, Eileen Russell spotted this post. "Was Batiste chip checked when he came in?" she commented. "He looks just like my dog Rocky who disappeared three years ago. He was 12 at the time." According to KCEN 6, an exchange of phone calls and photographs of a younger Rocky made Eileen believe that Batiste at the HSCTX was actually the couple's long-lost pup.

"I am going to get him today. After talking to staff we are almost positive it is him 💙😭" she posted a few hours later.

Actually, Chuck wasn't so sure. "Eileen said, 'Is this Rocky?' My immediate thought was no, absolutely not. Rocky's dead," he said in his KCEN 6 interview. "How can a dog survive three years?" But the pair went to the HSCTX the next day. 

Now, Batiste was a little ruff around the edges, in cancer recovery, and trying to adapt to a new way of life. When Eileen first saw him, she had doubts, too. "My first thought was, 'that's not my dog' because he had shrunk so much," she told KCEN 6. But after a few pats, she felt a little knot behind his ear—one she knew Rocky had. "I was like, 'this is him!'" Awwww! 

As the video above shows, Rocky is happily wandering the Russell homestead once again, thanks to a squad of dedicated animal rescuers and pet parents who never lost hope.