FULTON, NY – Earlier this summer, when news spread of how Rachel Dean had rescued a pit bull after his jaw was almost completely torn off, support for the puppy poured in from all over.
The only ‘reward’ she wanted out of all this, she told Oswego County Today.com back in July, was to see Rockford recover.
The puppy went through five and a half hours of surgery at Cornell where surgeons installed plates and screws into both sides of his jaw; six on either side, Rachel said.
The jaw surgery cost about $3,700. More than twice that amount was raised in donations for Rockford.
Rachel got her wish and is now Rockford’s legal guardian.
On Wednesday, she will be honored along with more than two dozen other heroes at the American Red Cross of Central New York’s 12th Annual Real Heroes Breakfast.
It will be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center at Oncenter, in Syracuse.
She will be recognized with the Adult Good Samaritan Award.
Rachel said she is very excited about attending Wednesday’s ceremony.
“As far as the award goes, I’m indeed honored and I have not one clue how they find out about Rockford!” she said. “I didn’t expect any sort of recognition for my actions. But I’m immensely grateful for Rockford now being a part of my life and the award.”
The man convicted of abusing the pup, Reginald Stepp, 35, of Milton Avenue, Syracuse, pleaded guilty in October to felony aggravated cruelty to animals. In early November, he was sentenced to six months in jail.
Rockford was rescued in June after Stepp came to Absolute Auto and Audio in Fulton to have his vehicle worked on. Employees discovered the injured and emaciated dog in the vehicle and rescued him. Stepp voluntarily surrendered the animal.
“Rockford is very obedient and responds to his name,” Rachel said.
“He wants a lot of attention. He is always wagging his tail and greeting people when they come in to the shop. He loves everybody.”
“Rockford’s story has touched a lot of individuals all around the country and opened the eyes of certain people who turned their back on the fact that animal abuse occurs each and every day,” she continued. “But seeing change, and actions like Rockford’s tale, gives people the motivation to act upon animals in need.”
For more information or to make reservations for the breakfast, call 234-2225 or email [email protected]