A photo of Cleo, taken by her youth handler
It was a long journey for Cleo, but she arrived at Project POOCH with a big smile and a wagging tail. This four-year-old German Shepherd mix wasn't able to find a forever home in Texas, so the hope was that Oregon would provide her with the opportunity to live the life she always deserved.
We had no idea what Cleo had gone through, as her bright personality outshone any indication of past trauma. Her youth handler described her as a calm, sweet girl who loved everyone, human and canine alike. She enjoyed playing fetch, running in the play yard, spending time with the youth at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility, and socializing with all the other rescue dogs at Project POOCH. During a time of so much uncertainty in Oregon and the rest of the world, she provided a much-needed comfort for the youth at Project POOCH.
She breezed through her obedience training and was ready to spend the rest of her life with an incredible adopter, who was already the forever dad of another former POOCH dog. Of course, Cleo and the other dog hit it off right away. One day, however, Cleo started to slow down and begin limping. Her enthusiastic demeanor became slightly less enthusiastic, although she remained sweet and calm as always. A trip to the vet and several x-rays later, we learned that Cleo had likely been hit by a car in her past. This led to a broken pelvis which healed incorrectly. Although Cleo continued to put on a brave face, if she didn't receive corrective surgery, she would continue to feel more and more pain over time.
The youth were worried about Cleo. She was their calm during the storm that 2020 brought in. Thanks to our incredible community, we were able to raise more than enough funds for Cleo's corrective surgery, and she went to Woodburn Veterinary Clinic for the procedure. As soon as she got back to Project POOCH, she greeted the youth with a huge smile, hardly seeming to notice the plastic cone and scar on her body. Cleo is now recovering at Project POOCH, while the youth pamper her. Cleo always provided comfort for them, and now they are returning the favor with so many treats, belly scratches, warm blankets, and cuddles.
When Cleo fully recovers, she will take off for her new life with her forever family and will not ever have to worry about being in pain again. Our community went above and beyond to show up for Cleo when she needed them. With the extra funding raised, Cleo will even receive a few dog physical therapy sessions in her new home.
Despite all she had been through, Cleo saw the good in the world. She woke up every morning so excited to begin the day with the youths and dogs she loved, and she continues to do so. Her bright energy is making her recovery even more speedy than we initially anticipated. Thank you to our incredible community for showing up when Cleo needed you, and thank you so much to Cleo for teaching us all about the power of resilience. We will miss you as you begin your new life with your wonderful family.