Leo, one of the Michael Vick dogs, passes away

Leo and Marthina; Leo passed away last week from a seizure disorder. (photo Our Pack Facebook)

When it comes to being the poster pup for resilience, there may be no other dog worthy of the title than Leo, one of the fifty dogs confiscated in 2007 when authorities raided Vick’s Bad Newz kennels. Leo may have begun his life in a dark place, but he was redeemed under the loving guidance of Marthina McClay, founder of Our Pack Pit Bull Rescue.

After his rough start, Leo went on to be a bright light in the lives of the sick when he became a therapy dog, earning the nickname “Dr. Leo” from hospital staff for the healing joy he brought to cancer patients (and hospital staff!).

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Leo gained admiration from patients but also from the media, from CNN to to Fox News to a cover story in the Washington Post.

So it’s with a heavy heart that dog lovers learned that last week Leo went to live on God’s farm in the sky (as we call it at our house). Leo suffered from a severe seizure disorder.

On the Our Pack Facebook page, McClay writes:

“Just after arriving to us, Leo quickly turned inhumanity into humanity. He gave love that wasn’t even given to him … Please join me in remembering the good that Leo has done and pass it on. We’ve suffered a great loss but we’ve also received a wonderful gift in the time we were lucky enough to share with him. Leo accomplished so much in so little time. Thank you Leo, I love you so much and you will never be forgotten….Ever.”

Let Leo be an example of the truth that we are not our history, that from the darkest places come hope and love, that no matter how beaten down you are, God has a plan for you to bring joy and light to the world. RIP Leo, and thanks for the loving example.

You can learn more about the Michael Vick dogs in Jim Gorant’s book, “The Lost Dogs“. Learn more about Our Pack Pit Bull Recuse on their website.

  • Katie Rowe

    RIP, sweet boy. May God greet you with open arms and continue to show you the love you so deserve!

  • Michelle

    Even evil people could not turn you into the monsters these hateful people are. And to think some believe animals have no souls. How funny is that??? You had an amazing soul and you had a purpose. Unlike the monsters that have evil purposes. We know for a fact, they have no souls. You will be missed little one.

  • Domino

    Aw, Leo…what a sweet boy. You’re an angel bird now, sweet bones. Sounds like the same thing that took my Storm. I’m so sorry for his family’s loss, devastating.

  • http://yahoo rebecca miller

    Leo, I didn’t know about you until today when I saw that you had passed away. What a loss we all will suffer without your gentle soul to bring cheer and happiness to so many sick and unhappy people. Unfortunately, there are still alot of Michael Vicks out there, but one by one, we will get them. May your trip over the beautiful Rainbow bridge be glorious. I hear there are actually fairies that help you over! What a beautiful place you will bask in for all of eternity. Rest in Peace Leo. ♥

  • A Hooper

    I’m so glad you were rescued, Leo! I wish you and all other animals were never in a situation where you had to be rescued. I hope people turn anyone in who is involved in dogfighting, or any animal fighting, and the penalties become stiffer and stiffer until people involved in abuse of any animal wish they were never born. Rest in peace, gentle soul.

  • Gail Zeolla

    This is so heartbreaking, I’m so sorry you didn’t have a longer life Leo,,,And so very sorry for the life you had to go through before you were rescued. You never should have suffered like you did,,,I’m wondering,,,is that what caused him to have seizures?? Thank you for rescuing Leo and all of the others from the horrible, torture they had to endure with MV………..Run free at the bridge sweet boy,,,what a gift you have left behind for all of those you touched so deeply.

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  • Tiffany

    R.I.P sweet sweet boy! You were one of God’s angels and I know you showed so many people that despite the way u were raised and despite your breed you could be the joy and hope in people’s lives especially sick people that need the joy and hope the most! I know you are happy and healthy playing in fields of green at the Rainbow Bridge waiting to cross over into heaven with all the people who loved you and showed you what true love and loyalty feels like. I didn’t know you but I love you! From a fellow pit bull mom. I pray I can get my precious girl to follow in your paw prints!

  • http://www.ourpack.org Mary C

    What an absolutely beautiful tribute to Leo. I passed this along to Marthina who was equally touched. Thank you for helping to keep his memory alive. He touched so many lives and countless dogs who were saved because of what we learned from him.
    Mary from Our Pack

    • Joanne Brokaw

      Thanks, Mary! I’m so glad I saw the news on Jim Gorant’s FB status and was able to share it with my readers. Pass along my condolences to Marthina – I know how difficult this must be for her.

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  • Mary lukowski

    I saw LEO for the firs time over a year ago when I joined OurPack…I fell in love with Pitbulls..indeed..LEO…love at first sight..and then to hear he was a rescue from the VIck’s dogs. That I also was following too. I copied a picture of Leo sitting in the sun..that pic is posted. I loved it and framed it. To me there is no better doggie around to prove that hatred can be overcome. That evil can be distinguished forever and it was by a young pitbull pup..who was later named LEO…The world lost something precious…Love, patience, and kindness and that everyone should know came from a humble doggie with violent beginnings..proving again that love can overcome all things. Leo ..my sweet..you will be missed .. but your love and courage will always be remembered…Love to you sweet boy…Mary

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