PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Peoria community is rallying around Liberty High School's beloved canine mascot, who found himself in need of life-saving surgery.
[WATCH VIDEO: Leo's Journey]
"Leo" is a service dog who spends his days on the campus of Liberty High School, where he's known as Liberty's "School Facility Dog." (He even has his own ID card!) Staffers say Leo has touched the lives of countless students, parents and teachers over the last two years.
But this week, Leo (as dogs tend to do!) ate something he shouldn't have, and got a blockage in his intestine. He went to the vet for tests, then a short time later, he had to undergo emergency surgery. The surgery was quite expensive, and now, the school is trying to raise money to help cover the cost.
Liberty student Logan Manning has started raising funds for Leo. He has created a GoFundMe account, with the goal of raising $5,000. The Go Fund Me states: "Leo has given so much to our Liberty community in the short time he has been full-time staff. Thank you for anything you can do to help."
And everyone who knows Leo agrees that he is one special boy. Leo helps "to make school a little more manageable and less stressful," says teacher Christine Amor. "He really has changed our campus climate and culture for the positive and is an example of the impact of having a well trained working dog on campus."
The pictures of Leo tell the story of his school adventures. He does much of what the students do: Goes on field trips, supports teams at sporting events and even dresses up for school spirit days! Bonus: this year he is the star of his own Leo 2020 wall calendar.
The great news is that even though Leo had a "ruff" time, health-wise, his surgery was a success. He's now recovering and is expected to remain in the hospital for a few more days. Leo "posted" a "Post Op" update on his Facebook page. It reads: "I am out of surgery and heavily sedated - I will be monitored very closely throughout the night by the amazing staff here at Vetmed. I ate something I shouldn’t have that made me very sick – so glad to have it out of my stomach/intestine. Dr. wants to watch me closely to make sure my healing goes well, to keep me infection free, and get me back up on my feet as soon as possible, it will take a little while. Thank you for your love and prayers."
And Wednesday afternoon, a second post-surgery "pupdate" delivered even better news. (Along with a few photos of Leo in his new "cone.") "Mom (aka Ms. Amor) asked me if I wanted to go for a walk so I decided to get up and out we went to potty. It was slow and go; I am wobbly and I’m sore but I did it and it helped to wake me up a little bit."
Leo's social media has been flooded with get-well wishes from students and staffers. Make no bones about it, this dog is well-loved. "He is so patient with the kids and teaches them life skills!" commented one parent. He has "an innate ability to understand how to react with the students," wrote another.
Arizona's Family sends paws-itive thoughts and lots of belly rubs to Leo as we wish him a full recovery.
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