Leo rang in the New Year at our hospital and had an unbelievable recovery journey, so we couldn’t think of a better patient to be our January Patient of the Month!

On New Year’s Eve, Leo was transferred to our hospital for evaluation of severe vomiting. Leo was in critical condition when he arrived, so he was stabilized with fluids and pain medications. Abdominal x-rays showed that he was obstructed. Our ER doctor, Dr. Hartman, worked through the New Year’s countdown and saved his life performing an emergency surgical removal of the foreign object causing the obstruction.

During his initial recovery, Leo had low blood pressure and albumin levels (protein in the blood) and he received a specialized infusion of plasma. Following the transfusion, Leo continued to improve dramatically. After two nights in the hospital, he regained his appetite, energy, and happy go lucky personality. We were sad to see him leave since he was such a wonderful patient, but we were happy to see him recover so well.

To commemorate this award, we interviewed Leo’s owner, Ashley, to learn more about Leo’s life!

I was still recovering from the unexpected loss of my last dog, Emmy, when Leo came bursting into my life. I didn’t think I was emotionally ready to adopt another dog but then one of my college friends started fostering two puppies that were brothers and Leo immediately took it upon himself to become absolutely everything I ever needed. My friend and I ended up adopting the puppies and they got to grow up together as brothers until we both graduated college and moved to different states. Leo stole my entire heart, as most of our pets do, and forced me to look outside of my own needs and consider that helping another dog who needed a home was the best way I could have ever honored Emmy.

I have so many stories about Leo that I could share, it’s hard to pick just one. If I leave my socks lying around when I leave for the day – almost always I’ll come home to him sleeping in my bed with one or both of those socks. He’s never chewed any of my socks, he just brings them up on the bed with him. I’ve always thought that was one of the cutest things ever.

He used to be skittish around younger kids, never aggressive, but you could tell he just didn’t know what to make of them. One time I took him on a hike and there’s this giant rock that overlooked a river that we always loved to sit on. We were walking back from the rock when we came across a younger kid around 6 years old. The kid went running after Leo to say hi and Leo immediately turned around and SPRINTED away. When I went to go find him, I found him all the way back on top of the rock just sitting and looking around as if on watch (picture below). I can now say he is no longer weird around kids anymore :).

Leo LOVES the snow. We didn’t get much of it back when we lived in Georgia and now he can’t get enough of it. He’s always leaping through it, rolling around in it, and sometimes just resting in it. Which is pretty incredible considering he doesn’t have a lot of fluff to keep him warm. He loves to play with other dogs – he’s always been extremely social. His favorite game is tug-of-war, but he doesn’t understand that playing Fetch means he’s supposed to actually bring the ball back. Hiking is another one of his favorite activities! During the summer, Leo loooves to lay on the top pool step in the shallow end – but refuses to actually SWIM in any body of water.

He is a big cuddler and always has to sit right on top of you. And at night he HAS to sleep under the covers against my legs or else he’ll just sit and stare at me while pawing at the comforter. When you pet him, he holds onto your arm with BOTH of his paws so you can’t go anywhere. And no matter how crazy he is acting, if you pick him up and hold him, he will relax almost instantly. He loves to play with cats, but he has yet to meet a cat who wants to play with him 🙁

Since his last check-up, he’s been doing great! His appetite is better than it’s been in a long time and he’s back to his super energetic self. He’s also never been more cuddly – which is crazy because I didn’t think he could get more affectionate than he already was. On quiet, lazy days at home he still loves to sit in the bay window and look outside (pictured below). I like to think he’s just extra grateful to be alive now. I got to take him back to the dog park for the first time since surgery this past Sunday where he got to show off his new battle scar.

This whole experience has been super terrifying. Especially after the unexpected loss of my last pet and Leo still being so young. I’ve realized just how easily we can start to take our pets for granted because they are ALWAYS there for us. It’s been an incredible reminder of just how much their world centers around us and, as cliché as this may sound, I really do have a renewed determination to make sure I give Leo the life that was worth fighting through a surgery and a recovery where the odds were decidedly NOT in our favor. I remember one of the vets telling me that Leo seemed to have an incredible will to live and I will carry that with me forever. I couldn’t have gotten through this without all the help and compassion that Evolution gave to me and Leo…I am endlessly grateful to them and the service that they provide to my (and other’s) loved ones.

Ashley B., Leo’s Owner