Katie Newhouse has been a UPS driver for 15 years. One year ago, she met the dog that would change her life.
You may not know this, but most UPS drivers are huge dog lovers. There’s even a Facebook Page called UPS Dogs where drivers post pictures and stories about the dogs they encounter on their routes. In fact, that’s where Katie first told the world about Leo.
On the surface, Leo’s story is sweet, but it goes much deeper than this short Facebook post can ever tell.
Leo’s original guardian was a woman named Tina. Her son, Cannon, brought the pup home with him one day. It was clear to Tina that he had been taken from his mother too early. She bottle-fed him until he was able to eat regular food. As Leo grew, he and Tina formed an unbreakable bond.
Tina wasn’t the only person Leo bonded with. Katie told us the pair had a connection from the start.
He would hear my truck come into the condo complex and start barking and scratching at the door to come down to the truck. He would love to come into the truck and go into the back to look around. I remember one day I was driving up one of my busier streets and they were coming down the street and all of a sudden there was Leo popping his head out the passenger side barking at me! He barked all the way down the street!
But life wasn’t always a charmed one for Leo and Tina. Leo’s size and appearance made the people of her condo complex nervous. They believed the stigma that surrounds “pit bull” dogs and told Tina to muzzle him when he was outdoors. Katie, who was close with Tina, was in the process of helping her find legal representation to fight for fair and equal treatment for her and Leo.
But then, everything changed last October when Katie returned from vacation to discover that her dear friend passed away.
I pulled into the complex and saw Cannon pulling out with the back of Tina’s truck loaded with furniture. I thought that she had found somewhere else to live. I waved and he waved and I didn’t think anything of it. I tried to call her later that day and her phone went right to voicemail. I tried the next day and the same thing. I looked on her FB page and there were condolences and comments about her passing away. I was in shock.
Katie immediately contacted Cannon and offered to foster Leo. Cannon is in the Marines and thus was unable to keep the dog. Katie didn’t intend to keep her furry friend, as she already had three other dogs, but the heart wants what the heart wants — and she and Leo couldn’t escape their BFF-love connection.
The whole vibe in the house changed as soon as we brought him home. He is the biggest, most lovable dog that you will ever meet. He was instantly running around the yard with my dogs.
There were some adjustments though — one of which was to Leo’s diet. He was used to eating human food, but Katie doesn’t often share her meals with her dogs. It took Leo a week to quit with the constant Hopeful Face of Begging Doggos. But, Katie confessed to us that she now mixes boiled chicken in with her dogs’ food. It’s no wonder the other pups love Leo! He scored them all chicken!
The biggest adjustment for Leo was living life without Tina. His new mom said:
I do know that Leo missed Tina when he first got here. He would whine at night before he would fall asleep. It was heartbreaking, really. He still does every once in a while. I know he misses her.
Although Leo has his moments of sadness, at heart he is a happy dog who loves playing pranks on his pup sister, Bailey. His favorite thing to do is tap her on the butt repeatedly until she chases him around the house! As for his other fuzzbutt sibling, Moose, they are a dynamic duo and the best of friends. They spend hours dragging each other around the house in epic games of tug-of-war.
Leo joined Katie’s pack under sad circumstances, but it’s almost as if their story was designed by fate. Katie never imagined her regular UPS route would bring her a new best friend — and Leo never imagined the sweet lady who gave him treats would give him a new family who would love him forever.