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Sweet mother-son dogs grab Semonole woman's heart

Published February 10, 2007

[Times photo: Daniel Wallace]
Buddy, 9, left, and his mother, Bear, 11, have been adopted.

She scrawled their names on the only available surface she could find: the Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil box in the kitchen.

Buddy and Bear, a television reporter announced, were homeless chow chow mixes from Lithia whose elderly owner died just before Thanksgiving.

They were older dogs, ages 11 and 9, mother and son - hard to find a home for, but very sweet, the reporter said.

Aggie Adams, 46, of Seminole called Hillsborough County Animal Services that night, Christmas Eve, but the office was closed, and there was no way to leave a message unless it was an emergency.

The weeks went by. Buddy and Bear became the office favorites at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. They wandered behind the counter, and a worker took them home at night.

Whenever Adams or her sweetheart, John Leitenberger, 43, remembered to call, it seemed something would get in the way. But almost every night they would see the names box and wonder.

Buddy and Bear. "I wonder how Buddy and Bear are doing," one of them would ask.

On Wednesday, as Leitenberger drove to work, he heard their names again. Buddy and Bear are still looking for homes, the radio announcer said. He called Adams. They called the Human Society.

That afternoon after work, Adams made the drive from Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, where she is a critical care technician, to Tampa to pick up the dogs.

"They got up, wagged their tails, and that was it," Adams said. "These are just the greatest dang dogs."

Marti Ryan, a spokeswoman for Animal Services, said the story shows what can happen when animal welfare agencies work together for what's best for even hard-to-place dogs.

[Last modified February 10, 2007, 01:27:22]

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