Leonardo, March 2002
Leonardo's rescuer wrote:
"Most of my friends know that once I look into the eyes of a dog in need, I am compelled to save its life. There's no turning back. That's why on the morning of January 30th, a friend sent me an email with the message telling me about a Lab mix named "Kim" who was scheduled to be euthanized the next morning. My friend knew I would save this dog. The only obstacle was that "Kim" was in a pound in Georgia, and I am in New York! While frantically searching for an online adoption agreement and phone contact, I had to scroll past many dogs with the same fate. I squinted as much as I could to avoid the other faces, but I could not escape the begging eyes of a young, large black Lab named Leonardo. Under his picture was the same message of doom. The picture showed him barking at the front of the cage he was in, surrounded by dingy, crumbling cement walls and a filthy, broken up cement floor.
I immediately called the shelter when it opened and arranged to adopt both dogs. No one could help with transportation to my home so I had Kim and Leo transported to a local veterinary office where they would be completely vetted and boarded until I could figure something out. The next morning I called the vet's office to see how the health evaluations went. Leo was diagnosed with a severe ear infection, heartworm and malnutrition. I would have spent anything to help these dogs, but paying for all their vaccines and general care along with boarding was already a financial strain; I would not be able to afford the HW treatment. I immediately contacted a Lab Rescue friend in Connecticut who referred me to LABMED. I filled out the online application and anxiously awaited the reply to see if they could help pay for some of Leo's emergency medical care.
In the meantime, an organization called LabLinks agreed to create a transport team to get Kim and Leo to New York for free! With HW treatment pending, they arranged for transport on February 9th to give Leo some time to recover from the initial treatment. He would need to be kept virtually inactive for the following 30 days. .Within a few days, LABMED agreed to pay for Leo's HW treatment! On February 5th, Leo received his treatment and was neutered. Days later, he and his new companion, Kim, were transported by an incredible network of animal lovers and arrived safely to me, as planned, on my birthday.
Two mornings later Kim went to her wonderful new adoptive family and Leo stayed with me for a few weeks until he was fully recovered from his treatment and I could find the right "match" for him. A couple of weeks later, my prayers were answered! I showed Leo's pictures to a family whose 9-year old daughter I tutor, and they fell in love! It was their two daughters' birthdays that month and they had been begging for a dog. On March 23rd, in a new collar with a shiny ID tag, Leo went to his new family. The girls were excited beyond words and Leo knew he had finally found HOME!
Every Wednesday I see Leo and often find him reclining on his lounge chair taking in some sun in his picturesque 2-acre yard. His new "Mommy" tells me all about his daily walks to the beach where Leo loves to swim and chase seagulls, around the neighborhood lake, and about visits to see his new dog friends. Leo's best friend, Pasha, comes to play with Leo in his yard every morning."
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