Leo’s Just a Plain-Wrap Sorta Guy


Another “Tail” from the Shelter

Have you ever had the sort of friend who doesn’t try to impress you with his talents, looks, or ‘bigger than life’ personality, but rather is always there when you need someone to talk to? The type of friend who has a heart as big as this state and is right there to give you a piece of it as well as a shoulder to lean on when needed.


Today as I walked to the shelter I thought about those friends in my life. Often unsung heroes who just want to help me get through the rough spots and celebrate the good times.

What brought these thoughts to my mind was one dear little soul at the shelter named Leo.

Now, as far as a description, I will tell you that Leo is pretty plain-wrap, but what I find totally interesting about the little guy is that he is basically just one color! His ginger-colored fur is the same shade as his nose, which matches his eyes, yes, he is monochromatic!

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Leo is small with a little paunch that just makes him extremely cuddly and that, dear friends, is part of this little guy’s charm. He sincerely likes people and wants to please them. He walks nicely on the leash and when I stop at the curbside to sit and chat with him a little, he is in his element. Those little brown eyes close in ecstasy when I rub his ears and tell him that even though he is not exotic, he is, nonetheless, exceptional.

The fact is that Leo has been at the shelter for a very long time.

A couple of months ago he was brought to the pet expo with hopes that he would capture someone’s heart. I visited him there and when he saw me approach his cage, he was overjoyed! He wiggled and lit up like a little windup toy—so happy was he to see a friend. The next day I was back at the shelter, as was Leo. No one looked past the outer wrapping and saw through to his heart of gold.

That seems to be his personality to a tee. He hasn’t fallen prey to the depression I often see in shelter dogs. While day after day he sees one dog or another go home with a new owner, he almost seems joyful for them while hoping to see his pen door open up and a smiling face look in at him.

I am hoping that this little man finds a home soon. He is capable of being a very good friend and confidant to someone who can look beyond the wrapper and see a heart of gold.

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Having lived these good many years, (71 to be exact), has given me the opportunity to reflect on what I value most. Family, good friends, and the precious pets that have shared my life  have enriched me as a person. I’ve evaluated what is most important to me and what lessons I’ve learned, and what I’ve determined is that I want to leave this world a better place for having lived here. It is one of my deepest desires to be able to help those who have no voice — because animals have always played an important role in my life. They were constant friends when the world around me was changing.  One, (a small parakeet named Petie), accompanied me when as a child my family moved across country twice, (New York to California and back again)-I can still see Petie in his small travel cage sitting on my lap as I explained to him where we were stopping for the night and feeling that his company as well as my dear parents were all I needed to feel safe and secure. My pets were with me in good times and bad, often being the consistent non-judgmental voice my heart needed. Although I spent my working years as a commercial artist, both teaching the craft at a local college and in my own studio, it seems that in my later years it is by painting with words that I am now able to reach out to people, and it is my joy to do just that. I hope my stories help to connect people to kindred souls that wear fur on their faces but are just as capable as we are to feel great love in their hearts.  Rescue animals particularly deserve another chance at a happy life and it is my honor to bring their stories to light and hopefully be the catalyst that joins two different species on their journey. The connection we share with our pets is like no other, There is no need to be anything other than who and what you are. No amount of money or privilege will impress them as much as your kindness and attention. I do know that in the final analysis, life is good and most people honestly want to do the right thing. If that includes opening their home and heart to another living being, then my purpose is accomplished. I hope in some small way I can contribute to that greater good. Bio- Born in Middle Village, New York- 1945 Mother to a wonderful son, Michael who truly would be a cherished friend even if we weren't related--and fortunate in meeting my kind and thoughtful soulmate, Burt, in later life- I am blessed indeed. Retired teacher/ Orange Coast College/ former owner and operator of a commercial art business in Huntington Beach, California.
 Lucky to have had the opportunity to work in the art field where I was often quoted as saying, "You mean I am being paid for something I love to do?!"

 Interests: travel, enjoying local points of interest, movies, volunteering at the Newland Animal Shelter and writing about the wonderful personalities I have been honored to meet there, both human and furry-faced, and generally enjoying the retired life.


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