Leo the Catahoula Hound
by Steve Lightburn
(Seminole, FL, USA)
Leo the Catahoula Leopard Hound
My wife and I have had cats for many years, but she has always indicated that she would also like a dog (and other animals). I am, by nature, a dog person who has learned to live with and love cats. Since everything was calm and peaceful in our home, I rejected the idea of bringing in a dog.
Then I read about Leo, a 7 month old Catahoula Leopard Hound. Leo is a rescue, having been born with a pigmentation deficiency that resulted in near blindness and complete deafness. When rescued, the irresponsible breeder had the intent of putting a bullet in his head. Suncoast Animal League in Tampa Bay took him in, their first venture at keeping and trying to place a deaf and almost blind dog, and Leo went to a wonderful foster home.
Leo is energetic and doesn't communicate the way humans usually "talk" to their dogs so he kept coming back from adoption attempts. Potential "parents" would make comments like "he's out of control" and "he's not for me" and "I can't deal with this dog". And then he ended up at my house.
His story touched my heart...a dog that needed me as much as I needed him...and I'm sure there are a myriad of lessons we will learn from each other. We're still trying to "train" my wife (the cats aren't being sociable which makes her sad and she's not an assertive leader and therefore anxious) but with time and effort all will work out.
Needless to say, Leo and I have created a tight bond with each other. There's still a way to go...he's still very much a puppy...but we're making progress every day.
We're in training mode most of the time but his lack of hearing and sight make him super vigilant and distracted. That just makes it more difficult to keep his attention. As he becomes more confident and gets a few months older, I believe he will be less anxious. He's got the sit, stand, down and no commands down pat. Stay, on the other hand, has yet to become a part of his vocabulary.
Gotta go. We have an appointment at the dog park!