Imagine a tropical beach with beautiful white sands, clear blue water, and coconut palms swaying in the breeze. For many of the millions of tourists who flock to Thailand every year, this is what they imagine. Now imagine a famished dog desperately pulling himself across that beach, unable to move his back legs.
While Canadian model Meagan Penman expected to find the beach, she couldn’t turn away from the sight of a suffering animal. As she told The Daily Mail: “I was just walking along the beach and saw what looked like half a dog sticking out of a small tide pool—I couldn’t understand what I was looking at so I went to have a closer look.” Having been hit by a motorcycle, the dog could barely move.
As Penman described his situation at the time on a GoFundMe page she created to help him: “[Leo] drags himself around by his two front legs to get around, leaving his back legs extremely raw from the friction of the ground.” After finding the owner, who hadn’t sought help for the dog, she carried him to the vet herself to make sure Leo got treatment.
What she found at the vet was heartbreaking. In addition to the dog being “COVERED in ticks,” as she wrote on Leo’s GoFundMe page, the x-rays made it clear that Leo was “completely paralyzed in his back two legs.” In fact, Leo had paraplegia, meaning he doesn’t receive any sensation from the area below where his spine was fractured.
While this meant he didn’t feel pain, as long as he stayed on the beach, he would never have access to better vet care that would give him more mobility. After getting in touch with overcrowded and overwhelmed local dog rescue organizations, Penman decided to take a big chance to raise money for Leo to go to Canada.
Leo got to reunite and visit with Meagan in Ottawa!
Penman’s fundraising call and her Facebook page called “Help Save Leo,” brought people from all over the world together to help this amazing dog. She asked people back home: “Please help me raise money to bring this poor guy back to Canada where he can get the vet care he needs. He’s less than a year old and there’s no way I can just let this go without trying to help.”
Getting an animal ready for international adoption is a long and costly project that requires lots of vaccinations and paperwork. It took over $7,000 that mostly anonymous donors contributed to get Leo ready and on his way.
Leo lands in Canada tomorrow. He is leaving Thailand tonight. The vet just sent me a picture of him with Leo before he boards the plane. I'm so excited!!!
While Penman was arranging for Leo to come to Canada, she was also looking for a suitable home, as her work schedule and living space couldn’t accommodate a dog who needed so much attention and care. Luckily, she found Jaime Smith of Sarnia, Ontario, who agreed to foster Leo until a permanent home could be found.
Smith took care of him for a year and a half and “fell in love with him,” as she told the Sarnia Journal. She even helped raise an extra $9,000 to pay for treatment and physical therapy. Taking care of Leo was a lot to handle for Smith, especially since her apartment had stairs. After months of physical therapy, Smith said “I don’t think he’ll walk again but he crawls on his hind legs rather than dragging them and he’s much stronger.”
Just to clarify with some of the new people to this page when I found Leo on the beach I had originally contacted many…
As for Penman, she was touched by all the donations and encouragement from people all over Canada and the world. As she said about Smith, “she is a really awesome person and I am very happy that he ended up with her.” While Leo will never walk the way other dogs do, after the gift of a specialized wheelchair from K9 Carts, he’s able to run around and enjoy the outdoors. An amazing transformation that happened because of the kindness and compassion of strangers.
Leo walking on his own in the water treadmill today!
Love for Leo စာစုတင်ရာတွင် အသုံးပြုမှု ၂၀၁၈၊ စက်တင်ဘာ ၁၁၊ အင်္ဂါနေ့