I’ve written this blog a hundred times at night as I lay trying to fall asleep, each time slightly different, each time with tears muffled in my pillow. Honestly, I don’t believe that I will ever be ready to write it. I force myself in this moment, with tears in my eyes, and an emptiness in my soul to type this out, as maybe in sharing our loss we will be able to take another small step forward in the healing process.
Today, March 11, 2018, would have been Leo’s 15th birthday. Leo didn’t make it to today. Leo lived to be 14 years, 5 months, and 10 days old. Our little old man passed away on August 21, 2017 (the eclipse), in the comfort of his home, surrounded by all the love we could give him. Leo took his final breath with mom’s hand on his little rib cage comforting him at 8:21 p.m. He passed naturally, with no chemical assistance (even though his vet did offer to come to our home and help him pass). Not sure how everyone else is with numbers, but we see Leo’s passing as significant as he took his final breath at 8:21 on 8/21, he wanted us to always remember just how amazing of a boy he was.
In the end Leo’s little body could no longer battle the Cushing’s disease and the cancer, but he sure tried. Leo outlived his vet’s life expectancy guess twice. In January of 2016 we were told we would be “lucky to have a few good months.” In June of 2016 we were told he probably had “a few weeks left.” The mum bear in me couldn’t handle the thought of only a few more weeks, so we made big changes to help keep Leo as healthy and happy as possible. Immediately we changed his diet to 100% homemade full of inflammation fighting and cancer fighting goodness to help him with his battle. We started him on a cannabinoid based supplement. Finally, I stayed home to care for him (though this put us behind, I wouldn’t have it any other way as being there to care for my old boy during the end of his life when he needed me the most was the best thing I could do for him as a pet parent). A diet change, natural supplement, and full-time care helped Leo outlive the vet estimate and gave us more time with him, which of course is never enough.
During Leo’s life he taught me many valuable lessons. Leo taught me what unconditional love was as his love the was pure (I am still working on transferring this knowledge to humans). Leo taught me how to put someone else’s needs before my own, as no matter what happened in life I would always put him first. Leo was the love of my life. He was my lifesaver, as I have had dark times where I questioned my need for living, but knew that he needed me and I couldn’t hurt him by ending myself. I loved Leo more than life itself, and told him every day. Leo was my best friend. Leo was my son. People say, “it’s just a dog”, no Leo wasn’t just a dog. I am honored to have called him son, friend, love, lifesaver. He was truly the best boy.
Since Leo’s passing we’ve realized how truly amazing it is that one little dog could touch so many lives, both during his life and since his passing. How one little dog could help so many strangers. We get messages on a regular basis thanking us for sharing Leo’s eye enucleation story and providing families with some comfort when it comes to their fur kids going through the same procedure. We love that Leo’s story has helped and is helping so many, it warms our hearts. We’ve also realized how important that connection with others is, that connection that helps others, that connection of family bonds…that human connection. It took an amazing little spunky Boston Terrier named Leo to make us truly think about and appreciate love, each other, others, and the connection that brings us all together.
Thank you, Leo, for all the laughs, the memories, the stories, the love. Though we had to say goodbye to your physical presence, we will never say goodbye to your spectacular soul.