When Canadian model Meagan Penman was traveling in Thailand this summer, she didn’t expect to go home with a dog. But when Penman was at the beach in Hua Hin, a paralyzed stray wandered up to her, dragging his back legs in the sand.
Penman refused to leave the dog, and according to the Huffington Post, she took the dog back to her hotel and began calling around to local rescues to try to save his life.
She named the dog Leo and took him to a vet in Thailand where he was treated for bladder stones and an infection. The vets discovered that Leo’s back was broken. He had been hit by a motorcycle and was left to fend for himself. After multiple failed attempts to find a Thailand-based rescue to take the dog in, Penman decided to take him back to Canada.
Penman started an online fundraiser and Facebook page to raise money for Leo’s transport to Canada. On October 17, the dog arrived in North America and Penman picked the dog up at the airport.
Penman knew she wouldn’t be able to care for the dog in the way he needed. She searched for a foster home and found Jamie Smith of Sarnia, Ontario, who has been caring for Leo since he arrived in Canada.
Leo’s care is expensive. He has regular appointments at Rapids Veterinary Clinic in Sarnia, and he may need surgery in the future. Leo has been gaining weight and has a new wheelchair to help him get around; he even chased his first squirrel in Smith’s neighborhood.
For now, Smith is committed to fostering Leo and helping him lead a happy and healthy life. On Leo’s fundraising page, Smith says that she may be looking at adopting Leo, but is unsure whether she has the finances to provide for him throughout his life.
But one thing is for sure — whether he lives with Smith or another family in Canada, Leo’s life will be infinitely better than the life he would have had if left on the beach in Thailand.
Image: Leo at the veterinarian, via the "Help Save Leo" Facebook page