Meet Leo

Leo / Don't let the innocent face fool you.

Leo / Don’t let the innocent face fool you.

One regular, ol’ boring afternoon, a group of neighborhood boys “kong-konged” on my door. They wanted to know if they could climb up on the pile of bricks next to my backyard fence. They’d be peering into my yard (and bathroom) but wanted to rescue two puppies stuck in the small space. Would I want one when they freed the pups, they asked.

This piqued my interest for a number of reasons – wanting a puppy not being one of them. One) Since when do Gambian kids care about privacy? Two) Since when were adolescent boys rescuing puppies instead of torturing them?

Anyway, my sisters gathered round, tossing out ideas for names while the boys tried to wrestle the dogs out from between the bricks and my fence. The girls settled on “Leo,” the heartthrob in our favorite TV show, a Mexican telenovela. I took one look at my siblings and another look in those puppy dog eyes and agreed. We’d keep him.

Since then, I’ve yet to have another regular, ol’ boring afternoon.

Leo’s first night in my yard, he cried and cried to his brother who wouldn’t leave the other side of the fence. Eventually, Leo escaped, not unlike his namesake’s jailbreak in our soap opera. Of course, just like in the show, Leo reappeared. This time, he was heartbroken and without his brother who he presumably saw get eaten by a hyena.

Leo hiding in his new bed.

Leo hiding in his new bed.

After a few days of understandable depression, Leo bounced back single and ready to mingle (also like in the show). Since he was following his fictional namesake so well, I had high hopes for what was sure to become one rehabilitated, handsome dog.

But, in just two months, Leo (the little mutt, not the telenovela heartthrob) has since:

  • ripped two and a half sponges to shreds
  • devoured several teabags
  • started teething
  • gnawed on my hand-washing tea pot
  • torn holes in my favorite maxi skirt (from America, I might add)
  • refused to walk on his leash
  • eaten poop
  • practically strangled himself on his leash
  • chewed through his rope leash

Now that we’ve given up on the leash…he’s also:

  • swallowed littered plastic bags
  • nearly been killed by a herd of kids on bicycles
  • chased the neighbor’s chickens


  • was chased by a bigger dog, which frightened him so badly he pooped himself

I’m thinking it’s about time to rename this innocent looking pup after another character – “Diablo.”