In 2011 we had the pleasure of fostering our first senior dog who was a 15 year old pittie mix from a Los Angeles shelter. We had fostered many dogs before but the one who stole our hearts was Lionel. He was in terrible shape and wasn’t given much time to live but his spirit and will amazed and inspired us all. Lionel, known originally as Sad Lionel Boy, came to It’s the Pits from a shelter in Los Angeles at the age of 15. It appeared he had little time to live, he was extremely thin, barely able to walk, infested with fleas and worms, and his ear canals sealed shut from chronic and untreated ear infections. Lionel truly was sad as he gazed into our eyes. I could hear Sad Lion Boy saying, “Why? Why didn’t they take care of me? What did I do wrong? Ok, so I barked a little.”
We decided to take him into our home as a foster dog. He was afraid and untrusting at first, over time Lionel learned we were here to love him and take care of him. I realized Sir Lionel would stick around for a while when he began to eat, and eat, and eat … like a lion! In fact, when he smelled someone else eating, he started barking for their food too. When he was finally able to walk down the street, he began to pull searching for smells and spots to mark his territory. Curious, our cat Hercules decided to join us on our daily walks. Lionel and Hercules hit it off and became the best of friends walking up and down the street together each day. Every once in a while, my two daughters would hop on their scooters and join us for our walks; then Lionel would get so excited that he would take off in a sprint after them. Of course, he’d be done after 100 feet or so, but he showed that he still had the will to live and thrive.