TENAFLY, N.J. — He started as just another pet, but "Rocco The Pug" has become a beloved member of the Brightview Senior Living community in Tenafly.
Vibrant Living Director Kate Meehan was looking for a new pet. She found Rocco in October and brought the six-month-old puppy into work.
Now he's more than her pet, he's everyone's pet.
"He will be your friend," Meehan said. "He's thinking 'We're going to be friends whether you like it or not!"
Rocco's friendliness goes further than most animals. Whereas some dogs are skittish around walkers or wheelchairs, Rocco's small size allows him to jump up on seniors and lick their face without issue.
He's more than just a cute pet, some specialists say he has real therapeutic value. His small size gets seniors to bend down more as they pet him. His presence motivates many to stay mobile.
Meehan has noticed Rocco can assist residents who have dementia or Alzheimer's.
"They don’t remember what they had for breakfast twenty minutes ago, but they’ll remember Rocco. They know he’s going to be here," Meehan said.
Rocco will turn one year old on April 20th later this year. Brightview intends to craft some events centered around Rocco.
Fans of Rocco can follow him on Instagram .