13: Leonidis, MD

13: Leonidis, MD

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What?

Leonidis, MD

You cannot share your life with a dog, as I had done in Bournemouth, or a cat, and not know perfectly well that animals have personalities and minds and feelings.

~Jane Goodall

When my son, Justin, first suggested bringing home a Pit Bull, the thought terrified me. “Absolutely not!” was my initial response. Pit Bulls were evil and mean, weren’t they? Justin and many other dog lovers explained that the media hypes up the “vicious Pit Bull” image because it sells stories!

I gave in, but told my son that the first time the dog proved to be aggressive he would have to find a new home. He assured me this tiny puppy would show me how wrong I was about the breed.

When I was growing up, our family had Beagles, Labradors and even a German Shepherd—but my son’s puppy, who we named Leonidis, was hands down the friendliest of them all! And I was in for even more surprises.

It was early February and I fell sick . . . very sick, very fast! I had pneumonia and went to the emergency room just in time. The doctors said if I had waited one more day they would have had to admit me. I stayed in the emergency room for a few hours; I needed IV fluids because I was dehydrated.

The days that followed were filled with drinking lots of ginger ale, trying to rest, and remembering to take my medicine on time. I had to take my medication three times a day. I initially tried to take each dose the same time each day, but the times I took the first two doses fluctuated because I would sleep at different hours. I tried to take my last dose at 10 p.m. so I could sleep through the night after that.

After several days, I was able to move from the bed to the living room. On my second day in the living room, Leonidis ran to my side at 10 p.m. and started barking. He didn’t stop until I acknowledged him. He swatted at me to get my attention. I thought he wanted to play and told him, “Go see Justin!” A few moments later he started barking again. “What do you want, Leonidis?” He reached out and knocked over my bottle of medicine on the table.

How could he possibly know that I needed to take my medicine at that time? He was only an eight-month-old puppy. I called it a coincidence and dismissed it. The next day I purposely did not take my medicine at 10:00 to see if he would repeat the “trick” from the night before. Sure enough, at 10:04 he was by my side trying to get my attention by barking and swatting at me. I looked at him and asked, “What’s wrong?” He stared at my prescription bottle and started barking. Amazing! I had no idea that he was so smart, let alone so observant.

Almost two weeks after I started my prescription, I was getting better, but at a snail’s pace. Except for my breathing; I was having just as much trouble breathing as I did from the beginning. This was mostly my fault. The doctor gave me an inhaler to use every four hours, but I was also taking cough syrup and two different pills. That just seemed like an awful lot of medicine, and I was scared of the potential side effects. However, the doctor knew what he was talking about and I should have used the inhaler as much as he said instead of hardly at all.

It was around nine in the morning and I was fast asleep after a restless night. Throughout the night I’d had a lot of trouble breathing, and my fever came and went. Then I was awakened by Leonidis. His face was right in front of mine and he was barking. When I opened my eyes he started licking my face. I pushed him away and went to tell him to get off the bed when I realized I couldn’t speak! My lungs had closed completely. I looked down on the bed and there was my inhaler. And Leonidis was still on my bed barking and swatting at me, looking at me and then looking down at the inhaler.

I quickly grabbed it and took two puffs. My lungs started to open.

How did Leonidis know that I stopped breathing? And how in the world did he know to bring me my inhaler? What an amazing and intelligent dog! I could only imagine how that morning could have ended had he not been there.

For the remaining two weeks that I was sick in bed, Leonidis would spend hours lying next to me with his head resting on my stomach, watching over me until I was better.

~Charlotte Hopkins

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners