Most of us don’t appreciate just how many animal hazards delivery people face on a daily basis.
Then again, they also get the joy of greeting their favorite furry creatures pretty often as well.
In 2016, UPS driver Katie Newhouser met made a new friend at a condo complex in Rancho Cucamonga, California – a pitbull named Leo. He would come out to greet her every time she drove in.
“Whenever I’d turn up at the complex, he’d apparently go crazy, and he’d want to come down and see me,” Newhouser told The Dodo. “He just took a liking to me for some reason. He’d always come up and lick me.”
Leo also loved jumping in her truck and was pretty hard to pry out when she had to leave.
The driver of 15 years got to know Leo and his mom Tina specifically because she stopped to say hello to the dog.
“I saw Tina walking Leo and stopped to pet him,” Newhouser said. “That’s how I started talking to Tina. That’s actually how I’ve started talking to most of my customers. If they’ve got a dog, I’m stopping.”
But in October of that year, everything would change.
“I was on vacation, and when I came back to work, I went to the complex,” Newhouser said. “When I was pulling in, I saw [Tina’s] son Cannon pulling out with furniture in the back, and I thought, ‘Oh that’s weird.’ I just waved to him and he waved to me. And I didn’t think anything of it, because she was looking to move because the association of the condo was giving Leo a hard time because he was a pit bull, and they didn’t really want him there.”
Unfortunately, Canon wasn’t moving furniture because Tina had found a new apartment – his mother had passed away unexpectedly.
Newhouser didn’t find out until she tried calling Tina to see what was going on and never heard from her.
She got the devastating news when she looked on Tina’s Facebook page.
Newhouser’s thoughts went to Leo and she decided to get in touch with Canon.
He told her he had joined the U.S. Marine Corps and was shipping off for training soon – and that meant Leo wouldn’t have a home.
Newhouser decided to give him one.
“I said [to Cannon], ‘I’ll take Leo until you can come back and get him from your training,’” she told The Dodo. “And he said, ‘That’s fine.’ And then I picked him up that following Saturday.”
Even though she already had three dogs, she couldn’t bear the thought of Leo going to a shelter.
“I knew he had nowhere to go, and I didn’t want him to end up in a shelter, and with somebody who was not going to be good for him.”
At first, Newhouser was concerned that Leo might not recognize her when she went to pick him up because she wasn’t driving her UPS truck. But it turns out the truck wasn’t what Leo was ever looking for.
He recognized his friend immediately.
“He ran up to me, and started barking at me, just like he does when I’m in my UPS truck,” Newhouser said. “Then he immediately hopped into my truck. He loves going in the car, so I think he just thought he was going for a ride. But you could tell that he was confused.”
While Leo had gone through a lot of changes, he managed to fit right into his new surroundings. And after sniffing his new housemates, they all ran off together to play.
But late at night, Leo would cry out for Tina.
Every dog misses a good owner, regardless of the kind of situation they end up in.
But while Leo does still occasionally cry at night, he’s happy where he is and is now an integral part of the family.
Newhouser’s post to UPS Dogs – where delivery drivers photograph encounters with furry friends on their daily routes – got thousands of likes and commenters are still praising her generosity three years later.
It’s a very happy ending to Leo’s story.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.
Join your friends or be the first to like our page