The Life of Leo
Leo was my faithful dog, my best friend for almost twelve years. This is dedicated to his memory
- The Life of Leo
- Your Puppyhood
- Leo the lion
- You loved the cats
- Last summer
- During our holiday
- Without you.
The Life of Leo
When our beautiful Purdy was put to sleep, the house was so empty, I could not bear it. I have always had dogs in my life, both as a child growing up, and as an adult, I thought bringing my children up to respect a family pet was the right thing to do..
We had an elderly cat at the time, so we decided to get a puppy. We thought of having a golden retriever, as my grand daughter was only 5 years old, and often came to stay with us. We felt that was a breed that could be trusted around a young child.
I took a trip to a farm, as I had been told that there was a litter of puppies there. Sure enough there were nine little bundles of fluff, all eagerly vying for their mum's attention, how on earth would I know which one to choose?
The first one I picked up trembled in my arms, and didn't seem that comfortable. The next one was wriggly, and didn't want to be held. But then I picked you up Leo, you nestled into my arms and promptly fell asleep. Our bond was formed at that moment, and I knew that you were the one.
You were a beautiful puppy, everyone loved you wherever you went. You loved all food, in fact we did find you rather over enthusiastic about eating, but the lady had explained that the reason why you were the smallest puppy was because you were timid, and had been pushed out by your siblings. it must have been nice once you got home with us, not to be bullied , and to have your own food in your own dish.
You soon learned to walk on the lead, you were house trained within a week, and in all of your lifetime, even when you were not well, never once did you have an accident indoors.. You were always a very clean boy.
Being bullied had caused you to be timid, when we met other dogs out, you used to walk round them to avoid confrontation. Most dogs were friendly, and only wanted to play, but you had to get used to them. But you loved all people, the way you barked when the doorbell rang meant nothing. You might have sounded fierce, but the moment the front door was opened, your tail wagged, and everyone was given a warm welcome.
Leo the lion
We had named you Leo, because you were born in August, and jokingly we referred to you as Leo the lion, but nothing could be further from the truth. When we used to say, " Where is my lion?" you came over and tried to lick us to death.
You grew into the most handsome boy, and we shared such wonderful times with you. We took you on holiday, you shared our lives, and the highlight of your day was our daily walk on the beach. You could be a pickle at times, you dug a hole in the lawn deep enough to go to Australia, so when we moved into our home near the beach you had your own section of courtyard, and there was a gate leading down to the lawn. We only allowed you on there when we could watch you.
You loved your toys, and usually when you went out for a walk you found something to bring home. Tennis balls, cuddly toys, gloves, anything left around, and you trotted along with it in your mouth as proud as punch, because you were a retriever.
You always looked as though your tail was wagging when you were walking, you were the biggest charmer ever. If I tied you up outside a shop, when I came out, I would find two or three women around you stroking you, you knew how to make sad eyes, even though you knew I would not leave you for long.
You loved the cats
When Charley died at the grand old age of twenty one, we were without a cat for a while.But four years ago we rescued two kittens from the RSPCA. They soon learned how harmless you were, you all sat together by the fireside, and when they came in, they made a point of rolling in all the places where you had been laying.
Max always used to walk underneath you when he came in, and you just stood there and let him do it, you were long suffering and so patient with them, I think you actually preferred cats to dogs. When you were all let out into the garden in the morning, you always stood respectfully back, and let them go through the door first. What a gentleman!
In June last year, just before your eleventh birthday, we noticed you were walking more slowly, and didn't want to go so far. The weather was very hot, which didn't help. We took you to the vet, and he said you had arthritis, and put you on Metacam.. That made a huge difference, you started to enjoy your walks again, and then the weather cooled off.
In September I noticed a pink swelling on your gum, it looked like a wasp sting, so we took you to the vet. He said it was a growth but ninety per cent of them were harmless, and he could remove it. We were not too worried until the results of the biopsy came back, and he confirmed it was a melanoma.
We were in despair, but the vet was hopeful,, he said another operation and digging deeper could probably clear it. But you had four operations, and although you bounced back with no problem from each one, the 4th one the vet said had to be your last, but you were still full of life and energy, and we took heart from that.
I cleaned your teeth every day, and checked your mouth, and this time the cancer had not come back after four weeks as before. We were full of hope that it had been beaten, and we took you on holiday to Suffolk for a week with us.
During our holiday
The weather was gorgeous, everything seemed perfect, and for the first few days, we took you on some great country walks. But then one morning everything changed. Keith took you for a walk, and returned very shortly, you limped in with your tail wagging, but it seemed you were injured, and we were concerned.
We took you to a local vet, who explained you had displaced your hip, and it was a major operation, which at your age, might not work . On that day we also noticed the cancer had started to push its way thorough your gum again. The vet gave you some pain killers, but said you could not go for any more, walks, and as you were coming to the end of your life soon, the pain killers would ease your distress.
We took you back to the bungalow, but within a few hours, you could not walk at all, and we knew what we had to do. There was no way we could spend another week of our holiday with you unable to walk and suffering. On that last night, we left you sleeping on the lounge floor, our bedroom was right next door, we did not think you could move, but some sort of inner strength must have kicked in when you shuffled yourself along later so you were outside the door.
I was already grieving about losing you, I could not sleep, but when I heard your even breathing I knew you were not in pain. In the morning, for the first time ever, when I was dressed, you did not get all excited to go for a walk, you just lay on the floor, with your beautiful brown eyes looking sadly at me, and I knew you were telling me that it was time.
There was only one more thing I could do for you, so I gave you tuna for breakfast, and as always eating was your greatest pleasure, you visibly brightened when you saw it, and cleared your plate with relish.
Life can never be the same now you are gone. I remember how you used to greet us at the door when we came in, once when I was ill in bed, you stayed next to the bed all day until I got up.
You loved to be stroked, you used to come over, and if we stopped stroking, you would push your head into our hands. Every night you would climb onto my lap for a cuddle, even though you took up most of the sofa.
So many memories, I could keep on listing them, you gave us such love and loyalty, you were such fun to be with, and all those walks we shared. I always felt safe with you if we were alone at night, your deep brown bark sounded just like an alsatian from the other side of a door.
We miss you so much Leo, we always will, but you will always be in our hearts, and although it was such a hard thing to do, we knew we had to free you from pain and discomfort. Thank you so much for enriching our lives for almost twelve years.
R.I.P. Leo the Lion. xxxx
My thanks to Youtube for the video, the images are my own