Leo the Lionhearted
How a Rescued Dashaud Unleashed Love
By Camp Bow Wow
She didn’t like pets – not at all. And despite tolerating her husband, Jim’s, hunting dogs, Lisa never considered them part of the family. Her reluctance to get close to a pet stemmed from several experiences in childhood that had ended tragically. She had “never had a good pet story,” so she learned to shut off her heart to all things animal.
When their girls reached their teens, Jim declared they needed a family dog. He researched online and found what was advertised as a one-year-old male dachshund – for FREE! All they had to do was pick him up. Although Lisa vowed this would not be her dog, the family chimed in to name him Leonidas Zeus Spartacus – a moniker at least twice as big as its 12-pound namesake.
Jim soon went on a trip leaving Leo under Lisa’s care. As she started warming up to the pup, she prayed God would open her heart and allow her to understand the love people felt for their pets. The next day Lisa noticed Leo seemed listless. By Monday, he looked really sick. To her surprise, she was starting to feel real concern for him. When she took him to the vet, they realized Leo was much younger than claimed – only four months at best – making him susceptible to Parvo – the puppy-killing disease for which he tested positive.
“I fell apart,” Lisa said. “I just was starting to let myself love this little dog, and now I’m told he’s going to die.” Parvo treatment is rarely effective and always expensive, but Lisa vowed to give it their all, no matter the cost. For two weeks, she visited Leo twice daily in the pet hospital where he received plasma infusions. “I was beside myself thinking he wouldn’t survive!” Miraculously, (and several thousand dollars later) Leo pulled through.
Nine years later, the girls have grown and left home, but Leo sleeps in a fluffy pillow at the bottom of Lisa and Jim’s bed and accompanies them to Starbucks for a puppyccino on the patio. He loves hoisting his now sturdy body onto a chair to rest his head on the table as he sits beside his daddy.
Once they became empty nesters, the couple took up a new hobby riding their Harley Davidson through the countryside. Jim wears a doggy backpack so Leo can join them. There’s no way to dissuade this tiny motorcycling maniac. He anticipates the event from the minute they pull on their boots. Once they touch their vests, it’s all over. He starts dancing and “screaming” with excitement (not his usual bark,) Lisa reports. In fact, if for some reason they don’t choose to take him, they have to sneak their gear out and get dressed in the garage.
Leo rides happily sandwiched between Jim’s back and Lisa’s chest. Lisa reports once he’s settled in, Leo tilts his body to the side until he can view the open road around Jim’s shoulder. She can see his ecstatic expression – mouth open – tongue out - in the reflection of the side view mirror. No wonder her sunglasses are always glazed with doggy drool by the end of the day. It’s amazing what love can do.