Failed Service Dog Won’t Stop Bringing Mom Random Things To 'Help' Her
"Leo enjoys working when it is on his terms."
When Leo was a puppy, he was in training to be a service dog through Paws for Purple Hearts — but unfortunately, he failed out of the program.
“The short answer is that the standards to pass are incredibly high,” Samantha Welborn, Leo’s mom, told The Dodo. “They call these dogs ‘career change dogs.'”
While Leo is very emotionally intelligent and very smart, he sometimes likes to use his smarts for his own personal gain, which is ultimately why his service dog training came to an end.
“It’s seemed obvious to me that Leo enjoys working when it is on his terms,” Welborn said. “He did have a few behavioral issues, such as grabbing things off of counters or out of cupboards, that he wasn’t supposed to have.”
Welborn adopted Leo just before he turned 2. Three years later, Leo still remembers some of his training — and likes to put it to random use.
“Leo loves to bring me things every day, especially when he wants to go for a walk,” Welborn said. “I always find him waiting right outside the shower with a few clothing items for me. He will also bring me things he isn’t supposed to have, almost as if he is asking for permission.”
Leo brings his mom random things to try and help her get ready to leave the house since that’s what he was trained to do — but he does it on his terms, not hers. He uses his skills to encourage his mom to do things like take him on walks, which wasn’t what his trainers had in mind, but for Leo, it works just fine.
While Leo may not have graduated and gone on to be a service dog, a lot of his training stuck with him, and his mom is pretty positive he would have excelled at the emotional support part of the job.
“If I am stressed, anxious or upset, he will always try to get my attention on him,” Welborn said. “I’ve been around a lot of incredibly intelligent dogs, but Leo is by far the most emotionally intelligent dog I’ve ever known.”
Leo isn’t a service dog, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to help his mom every single day, whether she needs it or not.