One week ago, early in the morning, we heard a strange sound. Leo, our Shih Tzu started into some end of life symptoms. A few days before this, we noticed that he was having some incontinence problems. At the very end, he was bleeding and had trouble with his bowels. We were calling some emergency vet clinics to get him in very soon, to be seen. We put him in part of a crate, wrapped him up mostly with some warm towels and took him to the clinic. It was 15 minutes away. The Vet Tech came out to check his heart and breathing and he no longer had a heartbeat. She took him in to the Veterinarian so that they could check and confirm his heartbeat. He definitely did not have a heartbeat. We had to make some decisions for and about him and spend some time with him before we left. Here is a tribute to Leo! He was very special to me and my husband!
Memories of Leo Early On
Almost 10 years ago, some friends of ours had a litter of Shih Tzu’s. They asked us if we would like 1 or 2 of them. We went and picked out 2 of them, a boy and a girl, Leo and Lilly. They were both very precious! We brought them home and enjoyed playing with them and loving on them constantly. A few months later, we learned that we would be moving. We could not bring all three dogs when moving. We actually also had another Shih Tzu from the same family, born a year before Leo and Lilly. His name was Mushu. We looked for someone to adopt either Lilly or Leo. A very sweet older couple chose Lilly. The man had some health problems and needed the love and support that a puppy would give him.
Moving With Leo
We moved to the St. Louis area from Orlando in 2013. Leo acclimated well to our home here in St. Louis well. He loved his big yard to run and play in. Also, he sat at the top of our stairs and guarded our house well! Even though he was a small dog, he always looked after us and sought to protect us always!
Squeaky toys were his favorite toys! He loved getting a hold of these toys and attacking them, pulling the squeaker out of them! Eventually we had to buy him toys that he could not rip apart made out of fire hose material. Still, he loved the toys, but he could not get anything out. That was good for us!
Leo’s Brother Prince and Sister Ava
A couple of years later, we had a boxer that he enjoyed playing with. Prince was much bigger than Leo and Leo had a tough time keeping up with him. Due to health problems that I had and expecting some grandchildren soon, we realized that we needed to give Prince to a rescue shelter for Boxers. They took good care of him and soon found a family to adopt him. That was very hard to do. Still, we had Leo, thankfully. Two years ago, we got another dog closer to Leo’s size again, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Ava and Leo played well and enjoyed each others company. They played ball outside and were competitive. Leo tended to listen better and came in sooner than his sister, Ava.
Leo’s Health Challenges
At one point, Leo was Neutered but when the vet was doing his surgery, she found kidney stones in him for which she needed to get out as well. Leo was placed on a special diet specifically for dogs that had urinary tract/kidney problems. The vet checked him yearly to verify that he still did not have kidney stones. As far as we know, when he passed away this last week, he did not have any.
Over more time, we could tell that Leo had trouble getting up our stairs at times. He must have had arthritis. I’m sure he hurt. Towards the end of his life, he stayed mainly on the bottom floor of our house so that he did not have to go upstairs often and it wasn’t difficult for him to get outside to play or after he ate.
Fun Family Adventures With Leo
Leo went on several trips with us. I think the most memorable trip he went on with us was up to Idaho, through the top of the Rocky Mountains. He was such a good boy! Always, he cooperated and rarely gave us any trouble. He stayed calm while we drove. He would get out to go to the bathroom and eat, but didn’t really do much else on that trip, until we got to my parent’s house. Our little nieces took him around on a leash and enjoyed holding him and playing with him. My nephew also loved on him too! He was mellow and so cooperative, just a sweet little dog, my buddy, Leo! He went to Texas several times with us and up to New Hampshire with as well. Then of course, he moved from Florida to Missouri with us. We had a lot of history together and special memories that I won’t forget, ever!
The Constant Love And Support From Leo
I miss him already. Life isn’t the same without him. Still, I am grieving as we had him for the longest time, longer than any of the other dogs that we had. Waves of grief will come, I am sure but I am thankful for him! I needed a calm, loving dog like Leo. I really needed the therapy that he provided as I have some health issues. The support that he provided was amazing! For a pet, he was constant, he was there for me and knew when I was hurting. Since our daughters have all grown up and moved out, Leo was still there. That helped! Now I miss him SO much! Our young grandchildren are around now and had the opportunity to know Leo as well.
What I Learned From Leo
Leo was a humble dog, very selfless. He definitely was not selfish. He would let another dog get a treat or get attention before he was concerned about himself! I would have to tell Leo, “Leo, you can have some too”! As people, we can learn from this! Sometimes we want to be first! We want all the attention, or be the first to have what we want instead of letting someone else have it. He was just SO caring and SO loving!!!! I know that he could tell when I wasn’t doing well also. He would come snuggle and love on me too. I can’t say enough good about Leo!
Even with Daniel, my husband, Leo wasn’t real close to him for a while, in his earlier years, but I would say in his last 2-3 years, Leo really got close to Daniel as well. He was also sad when we lost Leo. It has been tough for both of us, being so sudden. We just didn’t really see the signs coming. It was very soon then he was gone. Thankfully, we were both there in his last hour, looking at him, trying our best to help and figure out what was wrong. Then we called the Emergency Vet and took him to the clinic. Somewhere in between, Leo’s heart stopped beating. Daniel and I were there with him and for him at the end.
Now, we have special memories to hold on to. I will never forget Leo Ba Deo (just a goofy name I called him)!
Here is a special tribute, R.I.P.! Thank you Leo for the time we had with you.