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UPS driver adopts lonely dog on her route after its owner dies unexpectedly

If you’re going to be a delivery driver, you have to make peace with dogs to some extent.

But many do much more and even actively interact with their customers’ pets.

UPS driver Katie Newhouser loves dogs and can pretty much identify a human by the pup their walking.

That’s how she came to know Leo and Tina.

The driver of 15 years got to know the pair because she stopped to say hello to the sweet pitbull.

“I saw Tina walking Leo and stopped to pet him,” Newhouser said. “That’s how I started talking to Tina.

That’s actually how I’ve started talking to most of my customers. If they’ve got a dog, I’m stopping.”

She’d often see them outside their condo complex in Rancho Cucamonga, California. And it turns out Leo was just as big a fan of Newhouser.

The pup would greet her every time she pulled into the lot.

“Whenever I’d turn up at the complex, he’d apparently go crazy, and he’d want to come down and see me,” Newhouser told The Dodo. “He just took a liking to me for some reason. He’d always come up and lick me.”

He also loved jumping into her truck.

And it was hard to get him to leave once he did.

But in October of 2016, things would change suddenly and dramatically.

She saw Tina son’s Cannon with Leo, but not Tina. And Cannon was moving furniture out of his mom’s home.

“I was on vacation, and when I came back to work, I went to the complex,” Newhouser said.

“When I was pulling in, I saw [Tina’s] son Cannon pulling out with furniture in the back, and I thought, ‘Oh that’s weird.’ I just waved to him and he waved to me.

And I didn’t think anything of it, because she was looking to move because the association of the condo was giving Leo a hard time because he was a pit bull, and they didn’t really want him there.”

But Tina wasn’t moving out – sadly, she had passed away unexpectedly while Newhouser was away.

It wasn’t until the driver tried calling her friend and never got a response that she started wondering what was wrong.

She checked Tina’s Facebook page only to see the terrible news – then she immediately got in touch with Cannon.

He told her he had joined the Marines and would be leaving for training soon.

Leo would likely go to a shelter – he’d certainly be up for adoption.

And we all know where this is going.

“I said [to Cannon], ‘I’ll take Leo until you can come back and get him from your training,’” she told The Dodo. “And he said, ‘That’s fine.’ And then I picked him up that following Saturday.”

Even though Newhouser already had three dogs, she couldn’t bear the thought of Leo going to a shelter.

“I knew he had nowhere to go, and I didn’t want him to end up in a shelter, and with somebody who was not going to be good for him.”

Newhouser was concerned that Leo might not recognize her when she came by without her uniform and truck – but it turns out that it wasn’t the allure for the dog.

He just really liked Newhouser.

He recognized his friend immediately.

“He ran up to me, and started barking at me, just like he does when I’m in my UPS truck,” Newhouser said. “Then he immediately hopped into my truck.

He loves going in the car, so I think he just thought he was going for a ride. But you could tell that he was confused.”

Poor Leo didn’t really know what was going on and while he got along well with his new siblings in Newhouser’s home, it was the third home he had been in and wasn’t quite sure what to do.

And he really missed his mom.

Late at night, Leo would cry out for Tina.

Leo is content in his new situation these days, but Newhouser said he does still occasionally cry at night.

But the good news is he’s around someone who loves him very much.

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