If you follow local news then you probably know the sad story of Rocco, the Pittsburgh Police dog that lost his life in the line of duty.
Rocco, an 8-year-old German shepherd, was stabbed in the back on Jan. 28 as he was trying to protect his handler from a knife-wielding fugitive in Lawrenceville. The K-9 officer died two days later in Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center in Ohio Township. Hundreds attended his funeral services on Friday.
“Roethlisberger wanted to do something to help, and the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation will by purchasing another K-9 dog for the Pittsburgh Police Department and Officer Phil Lerza, who was Rocco’s partner and handler,” according to the statement released by the Steelers.
Big Ben’s foundation has funded the purchase of police dogs and equipment throughout the country, predominantly in Pittsburgh, Ohio and cities where the Steelers have played.
The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation was originally founded when when a police dog was shot and killed in the quarterback’s hometown of Findlay, Ohio.
“Rocco can never be replaced, but we can only hope to help with the healing process and to provide Officer Lerza with another loyal partner,” Roethlisberger said in a statement.