Leo the cat

One look into Leo's big green eyes and you're sure to fall in love. In fact, he's just so thoroughly beguiling and sweet you'll be shocked to hear his tough origin story.

At the tender age of one, Leo had already experienced a lot of pain. He was removed from an abusive home by animal care officers and immediately taken to an animal hospital where they discovered Leo had significant swelling in his jaw. He was unable to close his mouth because both of his upper canine teeth were fractured. The left side of his jaw was extremely red and most likely fractured and his lower gum line was bleeding. To top it all off, Leo was also suffering from dehydration.

However, despite being severely injured, Leo was still very friendly, sweet and calm. Luckily, he was able to eat some soft food, although he still had to keep his mouth open due to the injuries. The wonderful people at Friends of Anne Arundel County Animal Care and Control (FAACAC) stepped in to take care of this sweet guy. Knowing Leo's surgeries would be expensive, FAACAC contacted the Ian Somerhalder Foundation to see if we could help and we were delighted to lend a hand.

ISF Grantee Leo the CatResilient Leo underwent the extensive dental surgeries to fix his fractured jaw and teeth, but the vet had to extract the teeth which couldn't be saved. Being the plucky spirit Leo is, he recovered quickly. His strong will and tenacity pulled him through with flying colors and he was soon on the road to recovery. The surgeon even commented, “Leo has a heart as big as a lion!”

During his post-surgery checkup, the vet confirmed Leo was doing well. His mouth healed so much he was finally able to eat much more than he previously could. In fact, his weight increased from 7.1 pounds to 10 in just five weeks. Healthy and happy, Leo was ready to be adopted – and guess what? He was adopted from the shelter the very day after his checkup! He's now in his furever home, happily giving one of his favorite things, affectionate head-butts, all day.

The wonderful caretakers at FAACAC told us about the powerful feeling they get from their crucial work with helping animals. They say it's important to work together to help animals in need, noting not only does it benefit the animals themselves, but it also gives so much to the human helpers too. “I am always impressed by how thrilled the veterinarians we work with are when they help improve the life of a homeless animal,” she went on to say. She also noted how excited the vets become when the animal gets adopted or leaves the shelter with a rescue group. It really is a team effort.

We are so pleased Leo is roaringly happy and warm with his new family.

By Brandy D. Anderson

Edited by Bob Stone

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