Love Leo Rescue has a soft spot for the sick and injured dogs in the shelter. We know that it takes extra care – and extra cash – to get these dogs out of the shelter and get them healthy. The average adopter is not going to go to their local shelter and adopt a dog that needs a $1000 — or a $4000 surgery. But – we believe these dogs do deserve their second chance.
After several years of rescuing “medical dogs” we kind of became one of the “go to” rescues for badly injured dogs (especially puppies). So …when Raye was brought in to the Carson shelter, multiple people reached out to us to see if we would help.
Raye was a beautiful blue pit bill puppy with a badly injured eye. We are not sure what caused this. Was it some kind of trauma? Or was it a severe case of glaucoma (less likely). Its times like this we wish dogs could talk and tell us where they came from – and what their story was.
Raye was rushed into surgery to have an enucleation (removal) of that eye. As you can see from the photos there was no way it could be saved. Sadly – it turns out she was mostly blind in her remaining eye.
Raye was fostered with the Love Leo team for a few weeks until her stitches were removed. She learned to navigate her way around very quickly. Being a blind dog did not slow her down – nor did it bum her out. She had no idea she was different. She just was Raye; a happy, loving puppy who was ready to explore life.
It was not too long before her new family spotted her listing and fell in love. They knew she was blind before they met her and that did not phase them in the least. They had not been searching for a special needs dog specifically but when they met her – they knew she was going to be part of their family.
She now lives with them in Southern California and is adored and very loved.
When we first saw the intake photo of Handsome circulating on Facebook – our hearts broke. He was emaciated, just skeleton of a dog. One eye was totally opaque and white, he was blind in that eye. His ears had been cropped off straight to his skull. Other photos of him in the shelter showed him curled up in a tiny ball on his shelter bed. It was as if we was trying to disappear from the world. We dont know what his past life was but we knew he had experienced some horrific things.
We knew we had to do something and we got him out of the Lancaster shelter. We took care of his medical needs and found him a foster home. The pounds quickly starting packing on. His prominent ribs disappeared – now covered with a lawyer of muscle and a wee bit of fat. His sunken skull now had a shape. He started to look like a dog.
And as his health flourished – so did his personality. He loved people. He did fine with other dogs. But his true love was his tennis ball. It was hard to get a photo of him without it. It was kind of a security blanket for him. Despite the good food, medical care and love he was receiving – there was a part of his past we could not repair. Handsome had PTSD. I don’t say that lightly – and I’m not trying to create a diagnosis for his behavioral issues. When he heard a loud noise, a fire cracker or a car backfiring he would redirect on the dog next to him. It was as if he was a different dog for that split second. After – he would return to his normal, sweet self as though nothing had happened. He ended up badly inuring several of his canine friends …
Given the fact he was a senior pitbull, blind in one eye who had to be an only dog and had some serious behavioral issues – he was not an easy dog to place. I don’t think we got 2 applications for him in the year we had him.
Then one day we got an email from a Vietnam veteran. He said he said Handsome’s story had touched his heart and he wanted to adopt him. You see – the adopter too had PTSD and Handsome’s story resonated with him. He wanted to give him a happy ever after.
The catch was – he was 1,000 miles away in Washington state. As much as we wanted to find Handsome his home we were not comfortable placing him so far away. We told him we could not send him in transport as it was too stressful. He said “no problem” – and that he would drive down with his son. We tried to dissuade him and told him to look at local rescues and shelters. But – nothing we said worked. He was set on adopting our old Handsome.
We had a local friend do the home check and the adopter set off on his 1,000 mile journey to bring this old, battered (but not broken) dog home.
Handsome lived happily in his forever home for 4 years. He ate well – maybe too well as he got a little chunky in his old age. One day the adopter came home and to find Handsome had passed away. We wished he had longer to enjoy his new life but -we are very grateful to have given this special dog 4 years of a life as a loved dog
Mighty Mouse was a tiny, 1 lb white Chihuahua who was dumped at a very busy shelter – likely because his former owners could not sell him. When we first saw his shelter intake photo was a sad site. He was on a metal medical table and looked so helpless and venerable. It looked like he had one deformed leg. We thought: “no big deal”. We planned to have it amputated and had no doubt he’d do fine as a tripod.
When we went to pick him up the next day we were faced with a dilemma. Both of his front legs were deformed. They looked like 2 little, curled up chicken wings. We thought we could order him a tiny front cart to help him move around, as he was not able to walk on those legs. We made an appointment with one of the top orthopedic surgeons in LA, Dr. Olds. We expected to discuss to process of measuring him for a cart with the doctor. Instead – to our shock – he said he could do surgery and straighten his front legs. He explained because he was so young – his bones were still malleable and he expected a good outcome for this tiny dog.
And that my friends — is exactly what he did. A small pin was inserted in the leg to keep the bones straight while they healed in the correct position. The first few days of recovery were rough. The brave little guy could not help but cry in pain. But he had a friend to help him through this rough spot, Uncle Earl the pitbull. Days turned into weeks and the itty bitty casts finally came off to reveal 2 perfectly straight legs.
He has been adopted and enjoys a loving forever home in Pasadena
Dottie was the first dog I ever rescued on my own without the support of a rescue group to back me. She was before Love Leo came to be. I saw her photo online and knew I wanted to help her. I walked through the shelter and stopped at her kennel. There she was, this itty, bitty puppy, probably no more than 3 lbs., sitting on a gigantic dog bed all by herself. She looked at me with a mixture of curiosity and sadness. It was almost as if she knew this was not a good place for a puppy to be and wondered if I might be the person to get her out of there.
On the ride home she sat in the seat next to me and I could not shake how sad she looked. A puppy should be playing and chewing on the seatbelt, barking and generally being an annoying puppy. But Dottie sat there quietly. My heart broke for her. How did such a little dog find her way into an overcrowded shelter? How could someone not want her with her tan and white coat and funny half mustache?
I got her home, bathed her, fed and introduced her to Leo and Jimmy. And then a change occurred. It was as if she knew she was safe. It was quiet in the house – no more barking dogs. And she was clean. And her belly was full. The fear was gone. After her meal – she rolled around on the soft beds and finally relaxed.
She loved Leo and Jimmy and slept on top of them, or curled under them. She was sweet and trusting and turned into a puppy before my eyes.
A young couple soon adopted Dottie. They passed all the tests and the application looked great … ON PAPER! But after two months she was retuned to me for no apparent reason. I guess having a puppy was more work than they expected. We were happy to have her back and after one day – it was as if she had never left.
Soon another application for her came in. They were a dog savvy family and were looking for a second dog. The met her and it was an instant connection. She and her new brother were two peas in a pod and that became Dottie’s forever home.
We got a call from our friend that volunteers at the very busy South LA Shelter about a small puppy that had tested positive for Parvo. Due to the highly contagious nature of the disease they cannot have Parvo positive animals on the property and look for rescues to help with these dogs. We took one look at her cute face and knew we wanted to help. We got her to one of the best 24 hour urgent care facilities and they began treatment. They inserted a feeding tube to make sure she was getting proper nutrition, ran IV fluids as well as a cocktail of antibiotics. Parvo is a tricky disease because it change on a daily basis.
Luckily Latke had a big fight in her tiny puppy body and after 4 days of hospitalization she was released to a foster home. She continued to get stronger by day and then was ready for her forever home. The couple that ended up adopting her had their new rescue dogs name picked up before they meet her. And – that name was LATKE. What are the odds? We knew this was more than a coincidence and this was the perfect forever home for her.
Henderson is a pitbull puppy that defied the odds. When we first round out about him he was at the Riverside shelter. He had been brought in the day before by someone who found his lifeless body laying on the sidewalk. When he arrived to the shelter he was in urgent need of medical care. Our local shelters are so busy caring for the healthy dogs in their care – they don’t have the staff of resources to care for a dog as critically ill as Henderson.
We had him rushed to a local 24 hour vet. He was too weak to even make the drive to our local vet. He was just bones, weighing a mere 17 lbs (half of what a healthy weight should be). His skin was taught on his skeletal frame, his eyes were cloudy and covered with mucus. He did not look good.
We had him tested for everything. There are so many deadly diseases that can cause similar symptoms we did not know where to begin. It turns out he had bacterial pneumonia which can be fatal in dogs – especially a puppy as weak as Little H. was. He spent 4 days in the hospital and finally began eating on his own. Finally he was sent off to a foster home to continue his recovery.
His foster mom was meticulous with his care. She even kept a food diary for him to make sure he was getting everything he needed. Some days he did great and ate well and kept everything down. Other days he would vomit and had not appetite. He was not gaining weight at a healthy rate. So we decided to take him to a specialist for more testing.
After a costly ultrasound it was determined his intestines were twisting in on itself. He needed emergency surgery and there was no time to waste. We knew it was a risky procedure as he was so weak and emaciated. But we had not choice.
Happily the surgery was a success. They were able to remove the damaged piece of intestine and stitch him back together. He spent 4 days there recovering. His gentle nature and happy personality won over the hearts of the staff there and he was even invited to join in on staff meetings.
Happy Ending, he has been adopted by his foster family. He is strong and healthy – and so very lively. Thanks to everyone who donated for his special puppy’s medical care.
Milton the Magnificent
Meet Milton. When Milton came into the shelter he was so weak he could not even stand for his intake photo. His ribs were showing, his face was sunken and he had several tumors on his body – including an enormous thyroid tumor on his neck which made swallowing difficult. The shelter estimated him to be about 10 years old. They started him on medication for his arthritis but could not do anything about the tumors as they are limited on staff, time and finances.
Milton has a microchip which meant the shelter was legally required to give 14 days to locate his owners. 14 days in a busy, noisy shelter is forever to a delicate old man like him. With each passing day, Milton lost hope. He became so depressed that the only time he would stand up was once or twice a day to go to the bathroom. Visitors came to see him and by day 14 – he would not even lift his head. Milton had given up. He seemed to think his chances of making it out of there a live were slim to none.
But on day 14 – something changed. Love Leo came to rescue him and it was as if he knew his luck had just changed. He happily trotted out of the shelter, ate a bully stick on the way to the vets office and by the time we arrived at the vets office – he was literally jumping up and down for treats.
After we ran blood work and did X-rays we decided to remove his tumors – including the large thyroid tumor on his neck. Once he has recovered from that he will be looking for a loving forever home to spend his golden years.
To think of the things Lotti has seen and endured breaks our hearts. A neighbor called animal control when they saw a skeletal dog walking the property next door. When animal control showed up the residents would not let them in. But animal control outsmarted them and contacted the police department who were allowed to enter the property. What they found was heartbreaking. One dog who we believe to be Lotti’s sister was deceased. She most likely starved to death. The other dog was taken to the local shelter and the staff there immediately called us and asked if we could help. One look at Lotti and there was no way we could say no.
Lotti has been with us over a month now. She eats 5 times a day and has gained 12 lbs (she has more to gain). She had a large and happily benign tumor removed from her stomach and is feeling much better. Lotti lives with 4 other dogs and is good with all of them including the young boy who lives in the home. Lotti is a loving dog who is still waiting for a home to call her own.
THE LEO STORY
Where to start.
Leo loved sticks and balls. If you throw a ball Leo would go through a wall, if necessary , to get at it. If you offered him the choice between a steak or a stick, he would go for the stick. Leo loved to find sticks while hiking in the woods. He would grab a large branch and run full speed up and down the trail. But be sharp and quick, as evidently he will turn and run in your direction, just to show off his toy, carried a knee height. Look out. !
And he was self assured. Leo would look directly into your eyes in every encounter. If he wanted to play, a ball would be deposited at your feet and Leo would back up a few feet, sit and wait. Wait 5, 10 or 20 minutes, starring . Usually one either played or left the room. And Leo slept very soundly, most often in the most traveled doorway, forcing you to step over him. He never moved a muscle, no matter what. !!
And Leo was brave but afraid. When he saw sneakers hanging off the telephone wires, not knowing what he was looking at, he would bark furiously. He was scared of baby carriages. One day he farted, and was so startled that he jump up and started barking while running around looking for the noise. When challenged, even though not very aggressive, he would stand his ground. He was not interested in challenging most other dogs (except perhaps his enemy that bigger Rottweiler). He was not fearless yet he was very, what I would call, unflinching.
More to follow…