I think it was last summer I met Leo for the first time in Monterochello. He was a free stray, 15 years old and the people in the neighborhood all knew him. A lady fed him, an animal friend kept an eye on him, this was his life. He was known as being grumpy. If you tried to pet him he limped away, irritated. But he was loved.
Maria contacted Martina and me if we could help Leo, he started to become lame and he had fungus and other things, like erlichia. I met him and saw something behind that “evil eye.” To put Frontline on him you had to come up behind him very quickly and put it on before he realized what was happening. He was quick around the parked cars and disappeared. I didn’t know what to say. This was his life!
He got to Dr. Lungo for an examination. In they carried him in a cage wearing a muzzle. Leo was angry!
Medicine was provided and back with him but Maria had difficulty to give it to him.
Finally we got our Hospice and Leo was the first one I wanted. They carried him in the same cage and he had the same look. He limped out from the cage and went as fare as possible away from us laying in a corner of the garden with his back towards us. We could not touch him.
All right, I told him he could hear me and when he felt comfortable he could come and talk to me. After three days, I could wipe of his face, I could massage his side of his head–he love that– and after one week I could give him a bath. Leo was my love! He was the biggest soul I had met in a long time, gentle and sweet, very quiet.
A week later I gave him his first bath. He didn’t touch me! He was a true gentleman. Everyone loved Leo. He looked like Obiwan in Star wars with his black ears going out to the sides when he was happy to see us. He never wagged his tail that was his balance when he walked. It stood right out.
He hadn’t played for years. Suddenly he stole the toys and came trotting like an 80 year old Fred Astaire. He hadn’t been inside a house, and it took over a month till he walked inside but still wanted to sleep outside.
I never pushed Leo. I gave him good food and painkillers as needed, but a lot of love. He saw that in our eyes when we spoke to Leo.
The last month he slept inside because it was cold and rainy a lot. And Lena had sent him a special wonderful winter coat that he loved. He felt beautiful–since we kept telling him that–and he was toasty warm.
He was my friend. When drama happened during the day, Leo and I sat outside and we talked. I felt he many times said “Is this person worthy of your friendship?”
His back legs started to become weaker and one day his back leg seemed paralyzed. He couldn’t walk! It broke my heart to see him and Leo who had been a strong man and survived many obstacles didn’t want to become lame. You could see how he disliked being pampered like a baby. No, Leo was a Ranger and it was with big resistant I let him go…
I love you so much Leo. There are some you meet for a short period in life but it feels like forever. Thank you for teaching me about having a “backbone” myself. You are the only dog where I still feel that you are with me, on my mission, in the hospice, in my home. I am so thankful Leo that you are not leaving my side. That’s Amore, my friend!