Leo 20-119C

Leo 20-119CLeo 20-119C


Leo arrived in the USA as a part of RAGOM's rescue outreach in China. Leo is a healthy boy who is special: he is a tripawd. Leo is gradually adapting to the Golden life. He can be overexcited and mouthy, so any children in the home must be age 8+. Leo requires another confident, playful dog in the house. A physical fence is not required, but he will need to kept on a long leash to keep him safe. Leo needs a patient family who can guide him with love, training, and exercise to continue his growth and development.

At a Glance #20-119C

Golden Retriever Born: February 2019
Male 58 lbs

Status: Adopted


Leo arrived in the USA as a part of RAGOM's rescue outreach in China. Leo is a healthy boy who is special: he is a tripawd. Leo is gradually adapting to the Golden life. He can be overexcited and mouthy, so any children in the home must be age 8+. Leo requires another confident, playful dog in the house. A physical fence is not required, but he will need to kept on a long leash to keep him safe. Leo needs a patient family who can guide him with love, training, and exercise to continue his growth and development.


Saturday, January 16, 2021

Every one in a while, a foster dog comes along that you know will remain part of your heart forever. In this case, it was a scrawny, terrified, 3- legged little boy from China, who without a doubt was saved from a horrifying future.

Right from the start, one of his greatest fans, Sam, captured amazing videos and pictures of Leo, and said he had the "heart of an angel." His forever family has re-named him Leo Zhanshi, which means "brave warrior" in Mandarin. There are no greater truths about Leo than these, and it has been an absolute honor to be his foster mom.

Leo was adopted a little over two weeks ago, and as his foster mom, I would normally write his final update. However, his forever mom has shared her family's love for Leo, and I think there is no better way to conclude RAGOM's part of his journey with a  clear picture of what his forever future holds. It is bright, it is shiny, and it will be filled with the love and patience of a very strong family.

Thank you to every single member of the D. family (pets included!) for seeing everything that is amazing in this special boy, and providing him with the home that we all know he deserves. He's a very lucky boy to have found you: 

"We love Leo and are so happy to have him join our family! From the moment we met him, he stole our hearts and he has this way of looking right into your eyes as if to say, "thank you for being my family!"

We kept his name, Leo. With everything he has gone through coming from China and losing one of his back legs, we thought it would be important to add to his name. He is now Leo Zhanshi, which means brave warrior in Mandarin.  He is a brave boy, and he doesn't really seem to realize that having three legs is a deficit--he runs, plays fetch and loves to play in our backyard!

He still doesn't like to go for walks on leashes, but we will continue to work on that, with a goal of making it to the dog park across the street from our house. For now, he has plenty of run space in the backyard, which he litters with all of his toys!

His favorite place in our house is sitting by our sliding glass doors looking out at the yard and checking for bunnies and squirrels. He and our six year old Golden (also a RAGOM dog), Kody are becoming friends. Kody was a bit hesitant at first, but Leo is a persistent guy! They now will play and enjoy the snow in the backyard.

Our cats Joey and Maddy mostly keep their distance, but Leo is more interested in playing fetch and finding ways to get outside. He still whines and gets really excited and tries to nip at us, but we just distract him with a toy or offer for him to go outside.

He is a good eater and is very interested in the dinner making process; sometimes he looks up at you with his soulful eyes as if to say, "what about me?" We resist, but he is very persistent with his puppy looks!

At night he has been sleeping in our son Jack's room in a crate. He seems to prefer this because it's confined and seems to give him security. We have tried a few nights to let him sleep anywhere, but he has started barking at squirrels or "noises" and wakes up the whole house.  The crate at night seems to be a good plan for all of us for the time being.

Overall, Leo is doing fantastic and is an amazing addition to our family! He is currently sitting by my feet as I write this and just loves to be around people. He is lucky because Lou works from home and the kids are home for distance learning so he has lots of company! Thank you RAGOM--you are an amazing organization and we are so thankful to have Leo and Kody in our lives!

With gratitude,

Carey, Lou, Emily & Jack & of course...Leo Zhanshi & the rest of the furry family at Leo's house"

Leo 20-119C
Leo 20-119C
Leo with Emily
Leo 20-119C
Leo with Jack
Leo 20-119C
Leo with Carey
Leo 20-119C
Leo with Lou
Leo 20-119C
Leo and his new family

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

If you weren't able to view Leo's video on Facebook (mentioned in the previous update), here is the link to enjoy it! Thanks again to Leo's friend, Sam!

Monday, November 30, 2020

Though on a much smaller scale at our house than usual, Leo participated in his first Thanksgiving, and thought it was one of the best things he had ever experienced! His favorite part by far was snuffling that interesting looking creature in a baking pan. He received his fair share of treats, along with many kisses, and we told him as many times as we could how thankful we were that he was sharing such a special holiday with us.

Leo 20-119C
Leo on the left of the cutting board

Leo seems to change almost daily, and he is slowly but surely becoming a more confident and less fearful young dog. I thought this would be a good time to update you all on his progress, as well as touch on some things that weren't discussed in his original bio:

  • When Leo first came to us, we used a crate at night and also when we left the house (which at this point has been no more than a few hours at a time). Though it was not his favorite, he did settle in fairly quickly with a few treats and chew toys. Over the past week, we have discontinued use of the crate, and he has been doing just great. I do think he would do fine with a crate again at his new home as a transitional tool. 
  • He has totally conquered the steps in our house, which include a 15 stair flight up to the bedrooms from our main floor, and a 15 stair flight down into our lower level, which is how he gets outside into the backyard. Both flights are carpeted, and the speed at which he takes them is often a bit frightening. We have not tackled the flight of stairs from our deck into the backyard, as with winter coming up, I preferred not to have either of us navigating icy and snowy stairs.   
  • Leo did have a few accidents when he transitioned to our house, but now has gone weeks without one. He has no particular signs to tell us that he needs to go out, so we just have been going out about the same times every day (wake-up time, after meals, after naps, etc.). 
  • When outside in our backyard, Leo continues with the use of a 30 foot long lead. It keeps him safe, and doesn't seem to cause him any mobility issues. I still think a fence would be best for him and his adoptive family, but I do know that he can make this work if need be. 
  • Though Leo is great with the long lead, he absolutely will not tolerate a normal length leash. His body language changes, and he literally turns to stone. Remember that Leo more than likely came from a meat truck or slaughterhouse.... our guess is that leashes were used in a terribly negative way, and he suffers some ongoing trauma from that. As a result of this, we sadly are currently not able to bring him on any walks. We will keep trying, and I truly hope that someday he will get past this fear, whether it be with us, or with his forever family. In the meantime, what this means is that in order to get exercise, Leo will need playtime with his humans and other dog(s) inside the house as well as outside in his yard. He is playful, and loves to chase and fetch sticks, balls, or whatever else you might want to throw for him. If you are thinking about applying for Leo, please be sure to address these issues. He is young, he has energy, and his weight must remain at a healthy level. 
  • We really have no idea how he might be with cats, and will test him at some point when we are able to do so. He has met several other dogs of varying sizes, and had no issues with any of them whatsoever. At this point, he will defer to whichever dog is the "boss."   
  • In regard to training, I think at this point formal training at a facility would be too frightening and as such, counterproductive for Leo. I would ask instead that his forever family patiently continue to work with him on necessary skills and commands at home, until such time as he might get benefit from training outside the home. 

Since arriving in Chicago, Leo's journey has been followed by a very special friend, and that friend came to visit with us this past weekend to get an update on how Leo was doing. He played, talked, and interacted with Leo for an hour, and the result was an amazing video that will be posted by RAGOM on our public Facebook page.  Thank you, Sam - you are truly Leo's best friend! 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

It is with great pride that I introduce Leo 20-119C to RAGOM-Land! This will be a longer bio than usual, but there is a lot of ground to cover, so please stick with me as I introduce you to this amazing little boy!

Leo is an extremely sweet and affectionate boy, who is approximately 1 1/2 years old, though the vet thinks he might be somewhat older. He is neutered, fully vetted, and is on the smaller side, weighing in at a perfect 58 pounds.

It will be important that he remain at this ideal weight during his lifetime, as Leo wants everyone to know a very special thing about him - he is a tripawd, and is missing his rear right leg. 

Leo 20-119C

We do not know how or when Leo lost his leg, and in fact know very little about his past, other than he was one of the last of the RAGOM dogs to arrive via the China rescue mission, and he came from an area where most dogs were rescued directly from the meat trucks or slaughterhouses.

My heart literally clenches every time I say those words and I am beyond grateful that his beautiful boy was given another chance at life. My deepest thanks go out to all who had a part in bringing Leo and all the other China dogs into our care.

After endless delays and a very long flight, Leo arrived in Chicago in mid October. He was a terrified, shaking little boy, and I would like to share some of the heartbreaking pictures taken by our transport team:

Leo 20-119C
Leo 20-119C
Leo 20-119C

Leo was then transported to Minnesota and spent his first two weeks with temp fosters. I can’t thank them enough for all they did to help this boy come out of his shell.

Among other things, Leo did not like leashes and Leo did not like stairs (which frankly had nothing to do with being a tripawd), so getting him outside to do his business was a definite challenge for them.

However, with patience and the help of their resident golden, Leo eventually took on and conquered the challenge of stairs, and finally learned the joy of running free in their fenced-in back yard.

As he gained confidence, Leo also visited with another RAGOM foster and her dogs, and I'd like to share with you a video taken in her yard, so that you can see how little he is hampered by the lack of his leg:

Leo running

Leo then came to our house as a permanent foster and as was to be expected, his fears resurfaced. He took several steps backwards before moving forward again. He had to conquer a different set of steps, and also had to learn to deal with a long lead, as we do not have a fenced yard.

Within the span of a week, however, he was totally roaring up and down a long flight of steps into our back yard and had adjusted to the use of a long lead to keep him safe. Though still fearful and timid at times, he has learned to trust his new set of humans. Crucial again to his transition were the resident dogs, one of which also hails from China.

Leo 20-119C
Leo (on the left) sharing a stick with a foster brother
Leo (on the right) awaiting a treat with his foster bros

At the present time, this is what we think Leo needs to thrive in his perfect forever home:

  • Regarding children, Leo craves the affection he never received before. When excited, he likes to gently “mouth” his person’s arm, hand, or whatever he can get a hold of. This is often accompanied by excited crying, as can be seen in the video below.

         We’ve been working on his mouthing with various tactics, the most successful of which has been making him sit, then giving him a toy or hard bone as a reward.

         He is a gentle soul who wants to please and his behaviors have rapidly diminished to the point where he now at times runs in search of a toy to self-soothe.

         However, it can be expected that this will resurface as he adjusts to a new home.

         At this point in time, I am looking for a home with children 8 years or older.

         I think a younger child not only would be overly exciting to him, but I think his behavior might be difficult for a younger child to understand and appropriately address.  

  • Regarding other pets, Leo will require another dog in his forever home and it will need to be a dog that is willing to interact and play with him.

         He will have fears and need “leadership” for some time to come, but he loves to play beyond almost anything else, and he would not be where he is today without  the companionship of the resident dogs.

  • Regarding a fenced yard, I am not requiring a fence as I do not have one of my own. I do believe a fence would make life much easier for Leo and his forever family.

         If his forever home does not have a fence, they will need to commit to keeping him safe on a long lead. They will also have to ensure that he gets enough exercise through play to keep him strong and at his ideal weight.

        He is utterly joyful when chasing balls, sticks, or the other dogs. Please do not assume that because he is three legged that he is slow.....he can run like the wind when he chooses to!

There always comes a time I fall deeply in love with my foster dogs and with Leo it happened when I brought him home from his vet visit. When transported to me a few weeks ago, he was completely frozen and had to be carried out of the car.

After our recent vet visit, he literally flew out of the car when he saw his foster brothers, then ran into and around and around the house, “crying” at the top of his lungs. He then self-soothed by picking up a toy, and my heart was lost.

Though it might take some time to find them, I know there is a perfect forever family out there for my Leo, one that will encourage, teach, and cherish him for the rest of his life.   He is truly a “rescue” dog, and we are honored to be a part of his journey.

Leo 20-119C