Our rescue dog Leo was named Ivan by the shelter where he was captive. We’ve had him for three years and until recently called him Ivan. But by pure accident I said “Leo” one day and Ivan’s head shot up in recognition. Now he responds in a positive mode to “Leo” and has taken to doing a lion-like pose on the beach when he is off leash. Better yet, when I call “Leo”, he actually comes to me. Is his original name “Leo,” or is that name just a positive command that means “you’re free to be happy”? I choose the latter.
Another fact to confirm that he is a Leo is that he did not bark for nearly three years. Then last week he was outside by the front door when a repairman opened the front gate. I was inside the house where I heard a loud deep bark. At first I thought it was a neighbor’s dog barking. When I opened the door I saw Leo giving the repairman one more lion roar. If nothing else, Leo is reclaiming his life as a dog.