................. my angel Leo fell asleep for the last time.
Leo came to me in 1994, he was brought into a rescue centre in the UK where I worked. I was 18 & had been wanting a dog of my own (rather than a family dog) ever since I started my job at the centre when I was 16 - I wanted a large dog, a german shepherd or a rottie was what I was looking for but nothing came in that was 'the one'.
Leo came into the centre on my day off, he was 17 months old & had been neglected, he looked like a little lion as he had lost most of the hair on his body & just had like a lions main & fluffy feet. He was in our 'hospital' block as no one knew what was wrong with him as they were still waiting for his vet records to arrive from his previous vet (- turned out he had a severe flea allergy that had been left till he had scratched most of his hair off & scared his skin). AFter he'd been in the kennels for 4 days he still hadnt eaten a thing so I took him into the dog kitchen & put out a small bowl of everything we had - he chose what he wanted to eat & then as it was my break time I took him into our staff room (pure laziness as the kennels were further away than our kitchen!!!).
That was the beginning, if Leo (then called Ringo) heard or saw me he would screach loudly till someone let him out of his kennel & then he would follow me arround - I kept telling everyone I didnt want a small dog, but after a few days I gave in & reserved him, wondering how I would ask my parent about bringing this sorry state of a dog home! A day later I still hadnt said anything but had gone to the pet store & bought all his new things & decided to change his name to Leo - partly because he looked like a little lion & because my starsign is Leo.
The following day when Dad came to pick me up from work I was waiting at the gate with what my Dad described as 'a rat on a piece of string' & a faked adoption cert. I have to say Dad was less than impressed but the funny thing was whan we pulled up outside of our house Mum was looking out the window like she knew what was going on. Leo walked into the house & sat on the sofa next to our Retriever - was like he'd always been there!
From that day on he was my best friend, he came to work with me every day - even the day after he was neutered as he refused to be left at home! He did everything with me, he would creep upstairs if I was sick & sleep with me with his little head on my pillow, he ws there when I split up with my first proper boyfriend, a man who dearley loved him too - even years after we split I saw him in a bar & he asked after Leo!
He was the kind of dog you either loved or hated for some reason.
When Leo was 4 my friends Jack Russell had pups & I decided he needed a little friend so Cassie joined us, Leo loved her - a little too much sometimes!!! he were a great little partnership! I changed jobs & was working for a chow & chin breeder, cass wasnt too impressed with little puppies but Leo was the babysitter! I remember one litter of chins that the mother would look after during the day then at night time while we were watching tv Betty would leave the pups to sit with us & Leo would sit int he whelping basket with them to look after them!
I then changed jobs, this time working in quarantine/boarding kennels in the salisbury countryside, Leo & Cass would come with me on days I was looking after the office or boarding kennels.
Then I came to Ireland & met Mark, I moved here & broke my heart having to leave Leo & Cass at home with my parents - I knew I would have them here as soon as I could but it was very hard to find somewhere to rent where I could have them so we bought a house in 2005 - the day the contracts were signed I booked the ferry for my parents to come over with the pups.
On 11th Sept 2005 my babies were here! I remember seeing the ferry coming in & wishing it would hurry up as I couldnt wait to take Leo & Cass home. By this time Leo was almost 12, so he had the last 2 and a bit years of retirement here in Ireland. He loved it here, it seemed to bring him out of himself for some reason.
In April 2007 Leo just didnt seem himself for a couple of days, nothing was specificaly wrong but he wasnt himself so I took him to the vet & they told me he had heart failure - I was very surprised as he had only been at the vets for his annual booster in the febuary so I was shocked. He was put on medication & after 2 days had perked up which ws great. He was his 'normal' self untill the paddys weekend 2008 & his breathing was very fast & he didnt want to go for a walk, I took him into the vets knowing it was his heart, they put him on frusamide which helped for a few days. Then one night I came home from work & he was very excited & he collapsed, I rushed him to my vet who told me to take him to UCD emergebcy vets where they kept him overnight in an oxygen chamber. the following morning I collected him & he seemed better. I had said to Mark at this time that if it happened again I would let him go as I wouldnt want him to suffer at all.
That night Leo stayed on my lap all night & I had a little word with him telling him if he needed to go it was ok, even though it would break my heart, but Cassie & Mark would look after me.
I got up the next morning & I didnt want to go downstairs. I finaly did & only Cassie came to the kitchen door, I ran into the living room & there Leo was, I think he had only just gone as he was still very warm & he looked as if he had heard me come through the door & looked up & then gone.
I still miss Leo every day, I have a picture of him on my mantle piece that Mark had framed for me the day Leo died & it's one of those picture that follows me around.
I got Sparky only 5 days after Leo left us which a lot of people thought was odd but I was depressed & so was Cassie. The odd thing is that Sparky does a lot of things Leo used to & he was exactly what I needed after Leo's death, Cassie isnt a cuddl dog - she like to lie next to you but isnt a cuddler wheras as soon as Sparky was in the house I had another cuddler, I would often sit with his when he was small, bawling my eyes out about Leo & he would just lick my tears like he knew. (as he is now as Im typing this). I sometimes think Leo sent Sparky to me (Mark thinks Im a nutter when I say that!!).
RIP my little man, I know you're still with me, I miss you & will never ever forget you xxxxxx
This was taken the day before aleo died - he still has his little canular in his leg.