There aren’t many things worse than losing a beloved pet. But it’s especially difficult when you’re only 6 years old and that pet has been with you since birth.
Actually, Mellow the dog, lived with the Downs family since before their son Leo was born. His parents owned the pup for a total of 13 years. He was their loyal companion through thick and thin. When Leo’s mom Katie Downs became pregnant, Mellow stuck by her side. Then, when the baby was born, he had a new best friend.
For the first six years of Leo’s life, he and Mellow barely left one another’s side.
“Anywhere Leo was, [Mellow] was sure to be right next to him,” said Katie Downs. “We graduated Leo to a bunk bed earlier last year and guess who got the bottom bunk? You guessed it, Mellow did.”
Even though he was totally devoted to their son, Mellow loved every member of the Downs family, even going out and about through town with Chris Downs, Leo’s dad.
“He truly loved us [and] everyone he met and he exemplified the definition of a top-notch dog,” said Katie “My husband took him everywhere! It’s a rarity that you know my husband and not know Mellow.”
Sadly, dogs don’t last as long as we do, and Mellow passed away from natural causes in early 2019.
Chris and Katie Downs were sad to say goodbye to the faithful friend they had known for 13 years. As for Leo, he was devastated.
His parents thought that it might be best not to get another dog for a few months to give themselves time to grieve. But Leo had other ideas.
“He kept saying, ‘Mom, I want another dog!’” Katie Downs explained. “And then, like every other child, he went to dad begging for the same thing.”
His parents still weren’t convinced.
But then, as luck would have it, Katie Downs was idly looking through Facebook one day and started looking at the Stray Rescue of St. Louis page. There, to her shock, she saw a picture of a dog that was the spitting image of their late, beloved Mellow.
But it wasn’t Mellow, of course. It was a nine-week-old puppy named Nutty Buddy. The Downs family couldn’t believe it. They saw that the puppy was available for adoption. Immediately, their plans went out the window. Chris Downs begged his wife to submit an application for adoption. She did, and it was approved.
That was when the parents decided to make a plan.
They took Leo to the animal shelter and told him that they were dropping off some donations. Little did the boy know that he was about to meet his new best friend.
A shelter employee caught the first meeting on camera. In the video, little Leo stands waiting patiently for his parents. He has no idea what’s about to come his way. Then, suddenly, they appear with a beautiful little puppy in their arms.
Almost immediately, Leo bursts into tears.
He seems totally overwhelmed at the sight of the sweet little dog. When he’s invited to pet the puppy, he hesitantly does, still sobbing.
“Is that my dog?” he manages to choke out at last. When he hears his answer, he dives headfirst into his father’s coat, unable to stop crying.
He keeps hugging his father, absolutely overwhelmed at the knowledge that the dog he’s been hoping for has at last arrived.
The Stray Rescue of St. Louis posted the video to its page after the Downs family left with its new member. Since then, Katie Downs shared a picture of Nutty Buddy as they all rode back home together.
“The best experience ever!!” she wrote. “You guys made our day but more importantly, you made our son Leo’s day in helping surprise him with Nutty Buddy!”
As for Nutty Buddy and Leo, they have years to ake memories together.
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