Neighbourhood shares love with a golden dog

“I can see the power of pets — how they add to our family, our community, our lives.

Susan and Ryan Steleaff with messages from neighbours on Leo's poster.

Susan and Ryan Steleaff with messages from neighbours on Leo's poster.



^

“Leo was very well-known on our street,” says Susan Streleaff of her family’s much loved golden retriever.

“Anyone who walked along Cawston, Leo would greet them. Often I would hear people call him over and they’d stop and pet Leo.

“It was interesting to see the expressions on their face change. He touched their lives on their daily walks. For 10 years he did that.”

Leo had love in his heart but it was fluid around it that brought his end at age 12.

The Streleaff family had Leo euthanized in mid-November.

At the family’s request, their veterinarian at Fairfield Animal Hospital in Kelowna sent him to Okanagan Pet Cremation in Oyama.

LeoWhen Leo came back to them in a box, inside with his ashes was letter and a print of his paw.

“It was comforting to have Leo back home with us. He was a member of our family.”

Leo was the Streleaffs first pet.

“Pet grief really hits you hard. I heard stories that pet grief hits you hard they do become family members.”

To let all of Leo’s friends know of his passing, Susan put a poster up at the edge of the yard.

“We’ve been receiving cards a four-year-old called him ‘Happy Dog.’”

As the days went by more notes appeared, along with ribbons, bells, even kisses pressed to the sign.

“People have been really kind.”

Leo loved to swim and hike on Knox Mountain.

“When we went out for a walk people would ask ‘Is that the dog on Cawston?’ It just kind of hit Cawston really hard.”

The family brought Leo into their lives when son Ryan was 9.

“Ryan was begging me to get a dog. I said, ‘We’re just going to look.’ But when 13 fluffy retrievers come at you, you know you’re going to go home with one.”

They did, picking a little girl out of the pack, but “it just didn’t fit right,” Susan said.

“We went back and I feel that Leo picked us. There was a feeling when he came up to us immediately. He had a number nine on him and the owner said ‘Oh, number nine: He’s got personality.’”

It’s too early for the Streleaffs to contemplate getting another dog.

“I can see the power of pets,” Susan says. “How they add to our family, our community, our lives.

“Leo didn’t judge you could be tall, short, young, old.

“He was loving to the end.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

(Kamloops This Week file photo)
Probe into TNRD spending taken over by federal police unit

Financial Integrity Sensitive Investigations Unit is now reviewing the case

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Stolen truck found broken down on Highway 97C, Williams Lake suspect arrested near Ashcroft

A security guard first noticed the truck, and thought it looked suspicious

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
57 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

Thirty people in the region are in hospital, 16 of whom are in intensive care

An alleged suspect in two Cache Creek crimes was caught on surveillance camera in April 2021,and police are hoping someone can identify him. (Photo credit: RCMP)
Alleged suspect in Cache Creek crimes caught on video

Police are hoping someone can identify man who is a suspect in two Cache Creek incidents

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Most Read