Friday, January 28, 2011

This week, we say a fond farewell to our friend Donner, aka Uncle Leo.

We first met Donner when homicide detectives made a special plea to Animal Friends. They were investigating a murder in a home. But, they told us, eight pets also needed help…right away.

Further investigation would be needed to determine the details of shooting. But, as Animal Friends’ Humane Officers arrived on the scene, it was clear that life had not been easy for anyone in this troubled home. As the officers picked through mountains of garbage and soiled debris, they discovered that four dogs, a mother cat and her kitten, and two small mammals called degus had been living amidst the chaos—but just barely.

Donner, a 12-year-old smooth collie mix, was found in a far corner of the house. A sweet, shy dog, he trembled and huddled to the floor as though willing himself to disappear. His weary bones poked through pink, hairless skin. Like the other animals he lived with, Donner was starving, emaciated, and suffering from severe flea infestation.

He couldn’t have known that, thanks to Animal Friends, someone was coming to save him.

While the homicide investigation went on around them, Animal Friends’ Humane Officers loaded Donner and the seven other animals into their vans and rushed them to safety and care. They brought them to Animal Friends.

After a lengthy rehabilitation, Donner was featured on our annual telethon, where a wonderful woman and her husband saw him for the first time. They knew that Donner need a very special home, and they knew that they could give him one. They adopted him and named him Uncle Leo.

This week, his adopter sent us this wonderful email:

"Sadly, we had to put Uncle Leo to sleep this afternoon. He was finding it so difficult to move about, and I’m sure the pain from his arthritis was great. I want to thank you and Animal Friends for so many things including ...

Giving him a place to live after the tragedy that struck his family. Any other rescue would have been forced to put him to sleep because of his advanced age.

Giving him a place to return to after his first adoptees returned him for counter surfing.

Showcasing his story on the telethon so that I had a chance to meet him.

And most of all, thank you for giving us the pleasure of Uncle Leo being part of our family for almost three years. We are so grateful that we had him in our lives. He showed us that no matter what happens in your life, you can still live with grace and dignity.

Thank you, Animal Friends."


  1. this is beautiful :) its wonderful how its all interconnected - from the humane officers to the volunteers to the people who put on the telethon... EVERYTHING and EVERYONE involved at Animal Friends serves a great purpose.

  2. I had the pleasure of fostering Donner & Brandywine his sister. Both were amazing dogs. You'd never know they came from such a horrible situation. I'll always remember Donner's toothless smile.
    Diane Hahn