In a video shared to Instagram, Leroy the dog’s owner, Cristina Velez, can be seen struggling to contain her emotions.
“Today, I was wondering why my dog loves being stroked on his chest,” an on-screen caption reads. “I just came across these from the day we adopted him.”
The clip then cuts to footage of Velez meeting Leroy for the first time. In the video, she can be seen affectionately stroking his chest as the rescue canine looks on, evidently delighted at the attention he is getting.
Velez, who is originally from New Jersey but currently resides out in Melbourne, Australia, with her partner, told Newsweek she had been scratching her head trying to work out why Leroy was so partial to chest rubs.
“He was quite filthy when he arrived home with us and was scared of any type of grooming and didn’t particularly enjoy being patted on his back,” she said. “That got me wondering why he loved his chest being rubbed!”
Leroy, who turned one year old in January, was just just four months old when he came into Velez’s care having been adopted from a local shelter. Velez said she had very little information on Leroy’s background, other than the fact he was part of a litter of puppies rescued alongside his mom.
Given the bumpy start he experienced to life, Leroy would be forgiven for initially struggling with feelings of anxiety about his new surroundings.
Anxiety is common enough among dogs. In a Finnish study of 13,715 canines published in the journal Applied Animal Behavior Science, researchers asked dog owners to fill out a survey designed to identify anxiety related traits among dogs.
The study, which saw 264 different breeds of dogs analyzed, found 72.5 percent expressed what appeared to be anxiety-like behaviors while 29 percent of dogs exhibited “general fearfulness” of their surroundings.
Though Leroy may not have been a fan of grooming, he’s certainly settled into a happy routine these days, helped by the love and support of Velez. “I’ve wanted my own dog for as long as I can remember so I knew my first dog would be my entire world and I was right,” she said.
An entrepreneur who runs a dog clothing business called BOIS The Label, Cristina said they spent six months visiting rescue shelters trying to find the right dog for them.
“One day I was browsing a small shelter’s facebook page and saw Leroy’s little face and instantly fell in love with him,” she said. “He had four other siblings and each pup looked so different but I loved little Leroy with his orange spot on his ear and the other ear inside out.”
Subsequent DNA tests have concluded that Leroy is a “random mix of breeds” but while his family history may be eclectic, it’s combined to create one very happy dog who spends much of his time with Velez while she works.
“Leroy’s favorite thing to do is play hide and seek with me and my partner,” she said. “We’ll hide in opposite directions and he just runs between us finding us, he’s such a smart boy. He also loves snuggling on the couch and trying to befriend the cranky house-cat Frankie.”
Leroy isn’t just popular at home either, with his antics racking up millions of views on TikTok and Instagram. “People really love animals and they bring us so much love, happiness and laughter that you can easily relate to other people with pets,” she said.
“Animal loving people just get each other and how ridiculous we can be about our pets sometimes. It makes me so happy that my rescue baby had such an effect on millions of people and that they find him as cute and special as we do.”
Do you have funny and adorable videos or pictures of your pet you want to share? Send them to [email protected] with some details about your best friend and they could appear in our Pet of the Week lineup.
The post Pet Owner In Tears After Realizing Why Rescue Dog Likes Belly Scratches appeared first on Newsweek.