My Mutt Stories: Leo
Featured My Mutt... "Leo"
I stopped by Peninsula Humane Society after a particularly stressful Thursday night to check out dogs available for adoption. My husband Jim and I had spoke about adopting a dog or cat, but hadn't gotten serious. I was casually looking around at the dogs available for adoption when I saw a volunteer putting a small black dog back into his room. Something about him caught my attention as they passed by, and my next observation was that the little dog looked very sad in his room. A short time later, Leo and I were together in the get-acquainted room and he fixed himself on my lap. If I put him down, he would climb right back up and not move from my lap. Jim surprised me by being open to the idea of adopting, and drove over to PHS.
Adopting required a leap of faith and awareness that our new responsibility would mean some sacrifice and slightly less freedom. Our holiday travel plans were on the chopping block. We decided that Leo was worth it.
Those first few days were nervous but exciting ones for us as new dog parents. Leo had us on edge as he wouldn't eat for several days. He was still timid around us and was keeping to himself. We spent a few days figuring out a routine and boundaries. I had sworn I would never allow a dog on my bed, and that first night Leo jumped up several times only to be placed back on the floor. So for that first night, Jim slept with him on the floor.
We’re not sure what Leo had been through in his short life. We do know he was picked up as a stray in East Palo Alto in October 2013 and put up for adoption several weeks later, which was the day we met him. But somehow, somewhere, he had gotten used to sleeping in a people-bed. And despite the fact he was in dire need of a bath (think farmyard smell!), he slept in our bed starting on day two.
The folks at PHS had described him as an escape artist, and indeed he got out of our fenced yard (twice) shortly after we brought him home and before we installed a magnetic lock. One day I was getting ready for work when I realized that Leo was nowhere around, and our gate was opened a crack. But a crack big enough for a fourteen pound dog to slip through. Jim and I raced around town by bike and car in panic, only to find him 30 minutes later one street over from our house. A woman driving through the neighborhood pulled over, picked him up and called us from the information on his tag. When I arrived, Leo was on her lap and her toddler was in a car seat. I still think of this woman as an angel.
We've come a long way since a scared but affectionate little guy came home with us. We feel extremely lucky and happy to have taken a chance on him. Leo has come around to be a sweet, energetic, playful, speedy, prancing, cuddly, cat-hating, food-mooching, people-pleasing charmer. He is an instigator and can be accused of some rough play in spite of his small stature. He loves to chase and be chased. He lives for his walks and trips to the Washington Park and picking up treats from kind vendors along the way. It’s hard to believe he was ever shy or that he ever refused food.
We had thought about changing his shelter name but in the end Leo fit him best. Nevertheless we call him by many names: Leobaby, Leomeister, baby dog, Licorice nib, bat-dog, little boy, cow-dog, little hombre, Lee-lee, etc. He is the center of our attention. For what we give him, he pays us back in ways beyond measure. We can’t imagine life without this little guy.
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