Several days ago, I was hanging out with the rich folks at the pool at Moore’s Mill Club in Auburn.
Lying in the lounge chair next to me was Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones.
We had an intriguing conversation that covered everything from World War II veterans to some of the ins and outs of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
There was one story, however, that stood out above all the rest and deserves to be shared.
Our story starts out on the mean streets of Memphis, Tennessee, in January of this year. Sure Memphis is the home of BBQ, the blues, and Elvis, but, as with any city its size, there are some seedy parts of The River City, too.
Two of Memphis’ finest, officers Chad Conley and Dwayne Johnson, spotted a stray a stray dog walking along the sidewalk.
It was evident to the officers that the dog hadn’t eaten in a while, so Officer Conley shared some of his sandwich with the rambling canine.
It didn’t take long for the officers to realize that this wasn’t just any dog. He was special.
They named him Graham Leroy which was derived from the name of the intersection of the two roads where he was found.
Not wanting to drop him off at the Memphis Animal Shelter, Conley reached out to a former colleague, dog lover, and current Lee County Deputy Sheriff Jennifer Bosler, who, unfortunately, was unable to take him in.
“At that time, I had a foster from the Lee County Humane Society who had two puppies, so along with my three dogs, I wasn’t in a position to take in another one,” Bosler regretfully said.
With heavy hearts, the officers had no choice but to leave Graham Leroy with the Memphis Animal Shelter.
Meanwhile, 350 miles away, Bosler was worried sick that this special dog would be euthanized.
While at the shelter, Graham Leroy received a lot of tender loving care and very quickly regained his healthy form. He was neutered and, at the request of Johnson, had a microchip implanted in his leg with the officer’s contact information.
Why would Officer Johnson do such a thing for a dog he would likely never see again?
For the answer, keep reading.
It turned out that Johnson found a home for him with one of his wife’s co-workers who stepped up to the plate and adopted this special pooch, who was now simply called Leroy.
The Johnsons would often inquire about Leroy and were under the impression that he was doing just fine. It appeared that everyone would live happily ever after, after all.
At the end of April, Johnson was contacted by a fellow officer who had picked up an injured stray on the other side of town. The microchip in the dog’s leg revealed Johnson’s contact information.
Leroy was found in excess of 20 miles from his adopter’s home, so there’s no telling how long he’d been out on his own, again.
Johnson linked up with the fellow officer to take custody of Leroy.
It’s nothing short of a miracle that the same stray dog would be rescued by the same people twice in a city the size of Memphis.
Like Officer Conley said, Leroy was special.
It appeared that Leroy had been hit by a car and had an injured leg. Officer Johnson took him to the veterinarian where he was informed that his leg would need to be amputated. The cost for the surgery alone would be $800, which didn’t include medicine, boarding, or follow up visits.
Once again, they reached out to one of Lee County’s resident dog lovers, Deputy Sheriff Jennifer Bosler.
“So I told Chad that I’d contact my vet, Dr. Jere Colley of Opelika Animal Hospital. I spoke with Dr. Colley and shared with him how special this dog was. Not only had he been lucky to run across Chad and Dwayne once…but twice. That’s quite amazing considering the size of Memphis. I really felt that God placed that dog in their path both times. With that being said, he said he would help us out,” said Bosler.
She met Johnson in Birmingham on May 18 and immediately had that “feeling” about this dog. The return trip was uneventful, as was the introduction to the other dogs at the Bosler house of dogs.
A couple of days later, Leroy was taken to Opelika Animal Hospital where it was discovered that he had a severed lateral nerve in his left front leg.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Jennifer Elrod on May 21. He stayed in the hospital for approximately 10 days.
Dr. Colley said Leroy did amazingly well following the amputation, which led him to believe he’d been without the use of that leg for quite some time.
It’s important to note that the procedure was performed at a discount by Opelika Animal Hospital and was funded entirely by a collection taken up by the Memphis Police Department.
Oftentimes at work, Bosler would mention the trials and tribulations of Leroy to Sheriff Jay Jones who became interested in his story.
“The first time I saw him, I figured he was a unique animal. He was in pre-op condition and that left front leg was just dangling limp. If it bothered him, you wouldn’t know, because he was bouncing around like the happiest dog alive. I learned of his background and the thought of offering to claim him did cross my mind. I’ve always admired a resilient attitude when facing tough odds, be it man or beast,” said the sheriff.
He shared Leroy’s story with Judy, his wife, so an introduction was in order. Bosler and Leroy visited the sheriff’s home in Auburn soon thereafter. Bosler was able to leave; Leroy, however, has taken up permanent residence at the Jones home.
He’s also taken up a different name. Memphis is what he answers to these days. It almost sounds as if he’s in the Witness Protection Program.
“The first time Judy saw Memphis, she looked at me and said, “I like this dog.” I knew that was it. Shoot, he had me after he ran three miles with me the first morning he came to the house. Later in the day, he came over and laid that big square head in my lap and looked up at me with his big brown eyes like dogs do. I know anyone that has ever had a dog knows exactly what I’m talking about. Well, that did it for sure,” Sheriff Jones went on to say.
“I can’t lie, I miss the ole boy. He truly is a special dog, but I do get visitation rights,” Bosler said with a smile.
Sheriff Jones summed it up nicely by saying, “After all he’s been through, I have to believe the Almighty put him here for a purpose. If it was to inspire, then that plan is working to perfection.”