Dogs are some of the most amazing animals on the planet. One of the best things about them is how readily they form bonds with people. Not just their owners, but people outside their families, too. These bonds can be just as heartfelt and unbreakable as any other, a fact many UPS drivers can tell you.
Being a driver for UPS means you’re going to be stopping by a lot of the same houses day in and day out.
As one would expect, that also means you’ll be encountering a lot of loveable dogs on your daily route. Many UPS drivers have developed a tight bond with some of the pups they meet while working. A lot of the times they will even pack along treats and toys to pass out to pups on their routes.
In fact, so many drivers have developed bonds with these dogs that they’ve even created their very own Facebook page to feature them, called UPS Dogs.
Katie Newhouser is one such UPS driver, and she loves to spoil all the dogs on her route.
There was one dog, though, in particular, that she formed quite a bond with. His name is Leo.
Over the course of time, Katie also became attached to Leo’s owner, Tina.
Leo’s mom told the UPS driver the story of how her and Leo came to be. She said that her son brought him to her when he was still very young. He had found the pup almost too tiny to survive, and so Tina bottle-fed the small pup back to health. Thinking of Tina as his real ‘mom’, Leo and Tina bonded to each other immediately. There wasn’t a single thing Tina did without her devoted dog Leo right there with her.
“They were very very close and did everything together. I don’t think that dogs ever forget anyone who they have been that close to,” explains the UPS driver in an interview with PEOPLE.
Tina and Katie had formed a fast friendship, and it was always a joy to see Leo on her delivery route. Then, one day in July of 2017, tragedy struck.
As Katie was scrolling through Facebook, she came across a post that broke her heart. Her friend Tina had suddenly passed away.
The UPS driver was devastated by the news, but she also found herself worrying over what would happen to poor Leo. She reached out to Tina’s son, Cannon, to see what would become of her faithful, furry friend. Unfortunately, though, Cannon was still an active duty Marine at the time. Due to circumstances, he wouldn’t be able to keep Leo with him.
That’s when Katie decided to take Leo on herself, unable to bear the thought of him going to a stranger. Thrilled with the idea of spending every day with the pup, she shared the good news in a post on UPS dogs’ Facebook page.
“This is Leo …. he would always start barking as I pulled into the condo complex……He would always jump into my truck when I stopped…. his owner passed away and now he lives with me,” wrote Katie in her caption.
As it turned out, this wouldn’t be Katie’s first furbaby. In fact, the UPS driver was already mom to three other dogs.
She was a little anxious about how the dynamic might change by adding a fourth, but it turns out she had no reason to worry. Things changed, but for the better. Leo loved his new siblings!
“It was probably confusing for him at first, [but] he has adapted well. He and his brother Moose are inseparable. Bailey, his sister, has taken a while to come around, [but] they actually play now … once Leo was introduced into the house, the whole vibe changed,” she explains.
While there is no question Leo was adored by his new family and that he would fit in just fine, he was still working through his mom’s death. It was obvious to Katie that her fur buddy missed Tina fiercely.
“Leo missed Tina when he first got here. He would whine at night before he would fall asleep. It was heartbreaking, really. He still does every once in a while. I know he misses her,” Katie says.
While we are sure Leo will miss his mama for a long time to come, we are happy to know he is in a safe place with a loving family to help get him through it.
Leo is an amazing pitbull with an enormous smile and an even bigger heart, which is just the perfect size to match Katie’s. If you want to know more about their story, watch the video below.
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