by Ali Berman
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: .
Photo: Our Pack

Back in 2007 fifty-one pit bulls were rescued from the Bad Newz Kennel, Michael Vick’s dog fighting operation. There was much discussion over what to do with the animals and many feared that they were too abused to be saved. One particular dog, Leo, proved them all wrong.

Parade reported that he was taken in by Marthina McClay’s rescue organization Our Pack and soon was getting along famously with all the other pups. He was able leave the pain of his former life behind him and learn to live in a house and understand commands. McClay, who is a trainer, worked with him so that he even passed the tests to become a certified therapy dog, and in 2009, was visiting with the elderly, sick and troubled kids.

Unfortunately, after an unknown illness, Leo’s time has come to an end. After six months of seizures and a great deal of pain, his loving human McClay made the decision to put him to sleep last week.

She said about Leo, “I’m just so sad to lose him and miss him horribly. I loved him so much, and he was the best dog ever. However, it was SO hard to watch him suffer. I want him to be remembered for how beautiful he was.”

Leo surely serves as an inspiration to all. He showed resilience, great love and was a perfect example of all the wonderful qualities of his breed. We are sure he will be missed.

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at aliberman.com. In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

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  • Frank B

    The world needs more people like Marthina McClay and thank you to Leo. Now we just need that long overdue justice for him and the other 50 victims.

  • Anonymous

    Rest in peace Leo. You truly will be missed. Thanks to Ms. McClay for giving him what he deserved, love and a safe environment. He showed the world that the only monsters are the dog fighters/animal abusers. The dogs were never the problem. I am glad Leo got to have a happy ending away from the horrors of dog fighting but obviously, we all wish he could have lived a lot longer. Beautiful dog. Wonderful people who fought to save all of you victims of dog fighting, rehabilitate you and adopt you. So much compassion and integrity.