YES Programs



Life Lessons from Leo the Host Family Dog

Selfie With Leo

By Raghad Abu-Jarad (YES 2018 – 2019, Jordan, hosted by AIFS/AYA in Hartsville, SC)

Hi everyone! Since it was recently “National Dog Day” on August 26th, I want to tell you guys about my host family’s amazing dog named Leo! 

Before my exchange year, I used to be so scared of dogs. The first time I saw Leo in the house, he was so excited to meet me … but sadly it wasn’t a mutual feeling. When he came towards me, I began running around the house, and he started chasing me! I was terrified, but everyone else was just laughing - because to be honest it really was funny.

Later in September, Leo and I finally became friends! It was so weird for me to actually pet a dog, because I’ve never really done it before, the only pets I had were cats. Leo was so sweet to everyone in the family. He was messy and shed hair all over the house constantly, yet all he wanted was just to have fun and eat! The time I spent with Leo was pretty short because I used to study a lot during the first few months of school. Then, unfortunately, he passed away. However, during that short time I spent with Leo he taught me a life lesson.

Leo taught me that we are here for a good time not a long time, so don’t waste your life being mad or sad or guilty about something, move on, and make the best out of the time that left for you. Spend time volunteering, helping people in need - be a good person! Leo also taught me how important leaving a legacy is, and that it’s important to do so with humility! It must be done for others, so that after your time here, you will leave a positive influence on people just like Leo did! 

Leo passed away on October 31, 2018. Thank you Leo, I love you! May your adorable soul rest in peace.

Leo With Friends