Leo the Boxer is 10 years old. He was rescued from a puppy mill in 2012 by the National Mill Dog Rescue, after living in a cage for eight and a half years. That means he’s spent 80 percent of his current life suffering from abuse, neglect, and irresponsible breeding. Imagine if you’d spent the majority of your life waiting for and wondering if there is anything better than a rusty cage, filthy water, and long, lonely hours — you’d probably be a little bitter, right?
But that’s not the case for Leo. Despite being pulled from a puppy mill covered in fleas, blood, bugs, and dirt, Leo is full of gentle appreciation. And to show his appreciation, Leo always approaches you with a gift in his mouth. That’s because he’s happy his mouth no longer festers with sores. The only “toy” Leo had at the puppy mill was a piece of plastic piping. During his rescue, the piping became a security blanket — even though it was also making him bleed. His teeth had been filed to the gums, leaving them raw. He now gets soft toys to play with and his mouth no longer bleeds.
Eighty percent of one’s life is a long time to spend being miserable and treated cruelly, and Leo would have every right to be upset about it. While it took a little time for Leo to learn to trust in humans, he’s overcome his past and now gets to live out the rest of his life in quiet comfort.
And he’s paying it forward. Please accept a gift from Leo. Would you like …
1. A tennis ball
It is completely covered in slobber and smells a little weird, but Leo assures you it’s still great to chase after.
2. An empty food bowl
It had food in it, but … you know. Leo apologizes profusely and assures you it was delicious.
3. A purple plush dog bone
Oh hahah, just kidding, this is for Leo — it has his name on it!
4. A bouquet of roses
Plastic! So they’ll last forever!
5. Another soggy tennis ball
He has so many!
All photos via Leo’s Facebook page — go check it out and tell him that Dogster sent ya!
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About Liz Acosta: Dogster’s former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site’s daily “Awws,” only now she also wrangles Dogster’s social media. That’s why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and — her personal favorite — Instagram. See ya there!