Therapy dog of 9/11 first responder has gone missing after being spooked by fireworks

Therapy dog of 9/11 first responder has gone missing after being spooked by fireworks

A desperate search is underway for a therapy dog who fled in terror as fireworks went off as part of the fourth of July celebrations in Yonkers.

Rocky, a five-year-old golden retriever, had been helping his owner, Paulina Santos, come to terms with the trauma she had experienced as a first responder to the terror attacks on 9/11.

Unfortunately, the pooch was so spooked by nearby fireworks on Wednesday night, that Santos and Dermot McVann are concerned they'll never see him again after he ran out of their backyard near McLean Avenue.

Dogs typically fear fireworks due to the loud and startling sound they produce - a sound that is likely unfamiliar to them and thus something they perceive as a potential threat. Sometimes - as in Rocky's case - this activates their fight-or-flight response, resulting in them running away as far as possible from the sound.

"I don't know what part of town these fireworks were, but the sound is very intense, very loud, and the hearing of the dogs is so sensitive," says Santos.

Santos told News4 that she had been watering the plants in her garden when a frightened Rocky ran away "in an instant" from their home in Yonkers at about 8:00 pm.

"He's not only a house pet he is like a therapy dog," Santos said. "With all the fireworks and everything, it frightens him terribly."

"Having my dog was a way to heal myself," she added.

According to some reports, Rocky did not have a collar on when he fled their home.

Santos explained that she immediately went to look for the canine with some friends but to no avail. She then got in touch with the police. The devastated owner plans to post flyers notifying others in her local area of the disappearance.

If you have any information on Rocky's whereabouts, his owners ask that you give them a call on 914-888-4060.