Kindred spirits |

Kindred spirits

Similar scare unites discarded pet

Joshua Roberts

What are the odds?

That a dog — neglected, discarded, maimed and left to fend for himself — would survive a high-speed brush with death, only to later cross paths with a woman who had her own bout with danger? That because of their similar stories, that woman would make a special effort to take the wayward pet on long, daily walks, and through those walks, a connection would be forged?

And, that the woman who’d pledged to find a good home for her new canine friend would weed out unfit suitors and take on the responsibility herself?

Leeper calls it fate.

“It’s just remarkable how he got here,” said Leeper, who, along with her parents, takes care of Doc, a 5-year-old highly affable pound puppy found in March 30 miles west of town.

“I’d been run over by a truck in 1998 and I just sort of felt I had something in common with him, so I started walking him on a daily basis. … I just couldn’t get him out of my mind,” Leeper said.

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The story of Doc, and his traveling companion, Casey — a black Labrador — was featured in the March 11 edition of the Craig Daily Press.

The dogs were found on U.S. Highway 40 after they survived an encounter with an oncoming semi-truck. Casey had the time and presence of mind to avoid the truck; Doc, on the other hand, could only duck the oncoming vehicle, which an animal control officer said “went right over the top of him.”

Miraculously, the dogs escaped without any major injuries. Motorists who witnessed the incident took the animals to the nearby McCandless Animal Hospital, where volunteers from the Humane Society of Moffat County nursed them back to health.

Leeper, a volunteer dog walker, and Doc crossed paths at the Summit County Animal Shelter. She said the dog’s age and defect — he lost his left eye in a separate accident — made him less appealing to people looking for pets. She eventually began walking Doc and their bond grew more and more, Leeper said.

“Despite what happened to him, what really impressed me was his attitude,” she said.

In fact, she became so attached to Doc that she began screening candidates interested in adopting him. People with surly dispositions or people without yards were eliminated, Leeper said.

“I kept telling him, ‘Doc, we’re going to find you a good home, a home with a yard,'” Leeper said.

Little did she know that good home with a yard would belong to her parents, who live on the open ranges of southwest Colorado. During a visit, Leeper said Doc jumped up on her father’s lap, thereby ending the search for a home.

“He put his paws on my dad’s lap and that kind of sealed the deal,” she said.

Leeper tends to the dogs when her parents are traveling. She said Doc’s doing quite well and living happily.

It’s been the same happy outcome for Casey, Doc’s roadside buddy.

Mary Blakeman, a member of the Humane Society of Moffat County, said Casey was adopted shortly after his brush with the semi. At last check, he was happy in his new home.

“Things worked out well for Casey and now things have worked out well for Doc,” Blakeman said.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or

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