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Leo has saved me in October 25th, 2011 during the flood when some people died, he won the International Award of Loyalty of Dog and many newspapers and television had spoken about his history.
When Pietro, an Italian man from Vernazza, adopted a brown puppy from Serbia, he could not guess that small Balkan dog would soon save his life . He named him Leo.
He knew nothing about him except that Leo was waiting to be executed in one of Serbian pounds. The cute mongrel entered the Italian family thanks to Humanimal, an Italian non-profit association saving many animals from Serbia and Bosnia. They rescued Leo at the last moment. He arrived in Paradisi’s Guest House on September 15, 2011 and easily adapted to the warmness of foster family in the house of stone with a colorful garden and twelve cats to play with looking beyond a horizon from the undergrowth.
On October 25, Pietro and Leo were in the car driving back home when a furious storm hit them on the local road seriously upsetting the dog. He had to move him to the rear seat. As the storm got stronger the car progressed to a crawl but after 200 meters from the junction Leo suddenly changed mood and jumped on the master’s legs who has nailed the shot.
Pietro has only time to move the dog to the right seat and as dog continues whining he sees the hill collapsing before him and sinking down into a bottomless void that swallowed everything.
”The landslide had touched the nose of our car and if Leo had not given me the alarm it would fall in; he felt the danger and I yelled : ”Stop, stop, let’s save ourselves, we do not go to meet death.” Not knowing what did happen he called the police but they responded to him : “It’s pandemonium, we can not send anyone, make yourself safe as you can.” He turned the car around and they escaped the death, unlike the 9 locals who died in the floods that hit the Italian Riviera.
Pietro describes the scenes associating it with the Apocalypse….
”Full of landslides and desperate, pieces of asphalt and guard rail were everywhere and you could hear a few voices; someone who was beginning to use pick and shovel, someone called and no one answered, a helicopter flying over a sailboat sank.”
The Pietro’s house has remained intact, but the gigantic landslide in San Bernardino County has made the housing unsafe to use. Analyzing Leo’s sixth sense Pietro relies on scientific explanation:
Dogs have 255 million olfactory receptors; we humans only 5 million. This big difference explains so strange facts . I do not believe in metaphysics, but I believe that dogs who have suffered a lot, like Leo, have developed some sense to perceive danger.
Leo became an overnight Italian star. The Mayor of San Rocco town awarded him by “Concorso Internazionale Fidelity of the dog” during the fiesta of San Rocco, the patron saint of dogs, a local tradition celebrated since 1962. The Mayor have also made a special party in gratitude to Leo. Italian RAI 2 broadcast a special program in Leo’s honor. The most popular Italian newspapers wrote about brave Serbian dog who escaped death in homeland to become a national hero in Italy.
Serbian media re-published the story, but their message obviously has not touched the people responsible for the basic dignity and human rights of animals. Serbia didn’t learn a lesson from Leo’s case continuing to ignore the abuse of stray dogs and cats that happens all-daily at streets and state pounds.