Our Michael Vick Dog
It is with great sadness I must announce the loss of a wonderful soul. Leo passed away from a severe seizure disorder. Leo was my working partner, friend and family loved one and I will never forget how wonderful he was. He was so many things to many people and to many dogs.
Leo came to Our Pack from the Vick case and I was lucky enough to later adopt him. Even though he didn't have a good start in life he made life for others around him better. Just after arriving to us, Leo quickly turned inhumanity into humanity. He gave love that wasn't even given to him.
He worked with cancer patients as a therapy dog. He showed kids that no matter what you can still show love and compassion toward others regardless of how life has treated you. He showed the world that one should not be judged based on what property he lives on but on who you are and what you do as an individual. Many dogs are alive today and many people have smiled because of Leo and his work. He gave a second chance to other dogs that may never have gotten one because of who he was and what he did.
Please join me in remembering the good that Leo has done and pass it on. We've suffered a great loss but we've also received a wonderful gift in the time we were lucky enough to share with him. Leo accomplished so much in so little time. Thank you Leo, I love you so much and you will never be forgotten....Ever.
For Leo, 2005 - 2011 ~ Marthina McClay
Featured in The Lost Dogs
by Jim Gorant
The Washington Post
slideshow & interview by Carol Guzy
(Marthina & Leo in Chapter 4)
Best Friends Network
Best Friends Network
(Leo working w/ at-risk youth)
Feb. 18, 2008
Silicon Valley Tails Magazine
San Jose Mercury News
Award from Animal Farm Foundation:
Leo & Marthina made the cover of
The Washington Post!
Monday, July 7, 2008
Meet Leo! He’s a cheerful, sweet greeter. He’s fond of cuddles and hugs. And he spends his free time sharing his affection with the sick and elderly at a local hospital (having recently passed his therapy dog tests with flying colors). He also spent the first part of his life under the dark, demeaning ownership of football star Michael Vick.
Yes, Leo is one of the fifty Vick dogs confiscated from the football player’s property late last year – although to meet him now you’d never guess at his unfortunate beginnings. In fact, it seems wherever Leo goes he garners adoring smiles and effusive compliments. What a sweet boy! Where did you get him? He’s so well-behaved! To which he responds with tail wags and dreamy gazes from his kohl-rimmed eyes. His most adoring fans are schoolchildren.
It’s amazing to watch, surprising to some, and yet to those who know the pit bull breed, not a surprise at all. Leo is the consummate example of true Pit Bull spirit – despite the life he led before with his former owner, he has made a quick ascension to stardom: ace-ing his obedience classes, playing and socializing with other dogs, and revealing himself to be a true ambassador for all canines, not just Pit Bulls. He has already begun work as a Therapy Dog with Therapy Dogs, Inc. (www.therapydogs.com), and is invited weekly to a local South Bay hospital to bring comfort and smiles to the patients there. His biggest supporters aren’t just the patients either – staff, nurses, and EMTs have taken to calling him “Dr. Leo” for his healing touch. All in less than two months!
Marthina McClay, Leo’s trainer, foster mom, and founder of Our Pack, Inc., can’t get over his popularity. “I’ve worked with hundreds of dogs. People are drawn to Leo. I’ve never had a dog that was so magnetic.” She’s quick to brag on his personality, “He’s such a tenderheart. When he came to me, I was prepared for anything. But I never realized I would be meeting the Casanova of Dogs. He has this way of romancing you with those brown eyes of his - he’s truly amazing.”
Of course, if you spoke with Leo today, he would likely gloss over his accomplishments and the association that has made him famous. Instead, he would politely take a seat beside you, plop his head in your lap, gaze up at you with those dreamy eyes and talk about how he enjoys Sunday afternoons playing with his doggie brothers and sister, and how much he looks forward to visiting more people next week.
This is the true Amercian Pit Bull Terrier: resilient, people-loving, willing to please, and just so good-hearted!
UPDATE Dec. 2011: Leo passed away from a severe seizure disorder this month. We are deeply saddened by his passing, and filled with hope at the tremendous joy and healing he brought to those around him - human and canine - while he was with us. He will be greatly missed.