I remember the first day I met Leo. Kelly talked like a young man in love, only without sex, and about a dog. Kelly had taken to rescuing animals, and he met a special guy one day quite by accident, if you hear him tell the story. He almost didn't see him in his cage at the pound, but then Leo came out of the shadows and nudged his forehead against Kelly's. That's all it took.
I remember the first day I met Leo because of how Coby reacted. Coby had taken to lounging in his cat bed in the living room, pretty much only getting up to use the bathroom or eat, so that's where he was sitting when Kelly brought Leo over for the first time.
Coby, a shock-white medium-long hair kitty, basically had never interacted with other animals, especially after my parents de-clawed him. He did not often go outside because of this (and when he did, he no longer climbed trees and got stuck). And even though he was still a good mouser, he did not know other animals.
It was a winter day when Leo came bounding into our living room. To be honest, the way Coby hunched up and fluffed his fur, I and my brother imagined that he might start explosively shitting diarrhea on the wall behind him.
Leo, having grown up his short life in a pound, did not have a hatred of cats, like some dogs do. He went over to say hi, by sniffing Coby's asshole, which was not met with the graciousness you would expect from such royalty as the King of This House, Coby the White. Downton Abbey this was not.
From that, Leo actually grew to be part of the family. We all adore him. Mom refers to herself as Leo's "Mam'maw," the name we called my only grandparent. She dotes on him, especially since Dad's passing. And she seems so much happier. Not that she wished Dad would pass on... she always comments that she misses him... but he definitely was a handful.
Anyway. So Leo disappeared yesterday.
Me, I had a miniature panic attack about this. My last trip home ended with me making a begrudging truce with Leo, because THE FUKKER BARKED FOR TWO HOURS STRAIGHT AT A ROOSTER FROM THE TRAILER PARK, and everything I just typed is true. And it kept me awake when I really needed sleep. So I left home being a little angry at Leo for interrupting my sleep, and then he disappeared.
Marley, I think is the name, of the bad-influence dog that has been hanging around with Leo. He's the one who probably tempted him off of Kelly's property, because Marley has no boundaries. His owners let their dogs on what I am assuming is their farm just have free reign of the place, and all of them can take off whenever they want. Indeed, Kelly's house is at least a couple of miles away, so how he even found it is a mystery. But he is bad juju: he might as well be teaching Leo to smoke.
We did find Leo, finally. Thinking that Leo might be lost was weighing on me heavily. Honestly, sometimes that's why I want to visit home, to see Leo. He was laying in a field with Marley when Kelly finally found him, and I am relieved. I remember a time when dogs and cats were like popcorn growing up...just that common. One gets run over? We'll replace it eventually.
Leo can't be replaced. Some things in your life can't be replaced, at least not for everybody. Some people have no problem letting go. I do. I am glad Leo will be there next time I visit.