Katie Newhouser, a UPS driver, could always count on one thing - every time she arrived at a certain condo complex in Rancho Cucamonga, Leo the pit bull would be there to say hello!
“Whenever I’d turn up at the complex, he’d apparently go crazy, and he’d want to come down and see me,” Newhouser said. “He just took a liking to me for some reason. He’d always come up and lick me.”
After Leo is done greeting Newhouser, he would jump into the UPS truck. He wanted to go for a ride, even though he wasn't allowed.
“He would sit there and sniff around,” Newhouser said. “When I had to leave, he didn’t want to get out.”
Because of this common exchange between Leo and Newhouser, Leos's owner - Tina - has gotten to know Newhouser.
“I saw Tina walking Leo and stopped to pet him,” Newhouser said. “That's how I started talking to Tina. That's actually how I've started talking to most of my customers. If they've got a dog, I'm stopping.”
For well over a year this routine went on between Newhouser and Leo. But when last October came, things changed.
“I was on vacation, and when I came back to work, I went to the complex,” Newhouser said. “When I was pulling in, I saw [Tina’s] son Cannon pulling out with furniture in the back, and I thought, ‘Oh that’s weird.’ I just waved to him and he waved to me. And I didn’t think anything of it, because she was looking to move because the association of the condo was giving Leo a hard time because he was a pit bull, and they didn’t really want him there.”
Newhouser called Tina, but no one picked up the phone. To see what happened, she checked Facebook. That is when she learned that Tina had passed away.
Newhouser knew Tina's son, Cannon, was a Marine, meaning he would need to be away from home for training. Newhouser got in contact with Cannon to see what his plan was for Leo.
“I said [to Cannon], ‘I’ll take Leo until you can come back and get him from your training,’” Newhouser said. “And he said, ‘That’s fine.' And then I picked him up that following Saturday.”
“I knew he had nowhere to go, and I didn’t want him to end up in a shelter, and with somebody who was not going to be good for him,” Newhouser added.
While Newhouser didn't come to pick up Leo in the UPS truck, he knew who she was right away.
“He ran up to me, and started barking at me, just like he does when I’m in my UPS truck,” Newhouser said. “Then he immediately hopped into my truck. He loves going in the car, so I think he just thought he was going for a ride. But you could tell that he was confused.”
Newhouser was already a huge dog lover - with three dogs at home already! Unsure how the dogs would react to Leo, she made sure to do an introduction first. Right away she knew there would be no problem.
“They did some sniffing, and then they started running around in the backyard,” Newhouser said. “They just immediately took to each other.”
While Leo was happy, Newhouser could tell he missed Tina by the way he whined.
“He would whine a lot at night,” Newhouser said. “It made me very sad.”
While Leo still whines at night on occasion, he has grown fond of his new life with Newhouser - his now full-time owner. Newhouser is thrilled to have Leo be part of her life.
“He’s a big baby. He’s one of the most gentle dogs I have ever met,” Newhouser said. “He’s big and he looks like he could be mean, but if you look at his eyes, you can just tell that he’s just the sweetest dog.”
Source: The Dodo