He would have been so proud to see the difference he made 🐙💙
What Theo’s foster mom, Jenny Leech, didn’t expect, though, was that he would keep crossing off bucket list items even after he passed. Most notably, item number 63: “Have My Favorite Toy Officially Named Theo’s Octopus.”
Leech had no idea that Theo would become so obsessed with the plush, blue octopus when he first picked it out. She had taken him to a pet supply store to get his nametag engraved when Theo got distracted.
“He was sniffing the toy bin and picked out the octopus,” Jenny Leech told The Dodo. “It must have been love at first sight.”
Theo couldn’t seem to get enough of his favorite toy and when his story hit the news, “people were sending octopuses when they could find them,” Leech said. “[The octopus] was kind of becoming recognizable with Theo and his story.”
Leech wanted to keep spreading the octopus love to other animals in need, but the toy was only slated to be seasonal. Once they were sold out, the store would not be making any more.
“So a friend of mine reached out to Pet Supplies Plus and said, ‘Hey, Theo really loves this toy. He has some already, but it would be really cool if he could gift them to other dogs with cancer,’” Leech said.
According to Leech, Pet Supplies Plus then called every store in the United States, cleared out the rest of their octopus inventory, and sent it to Theo.
“The big box of I think 39 octopuses arrived about a week before Theo passed,” Leech said, “so he got to open a package of all these octopuses.”
One week later, on December 18, 2020, Theo passed away with his loving foster family by his side. But his story was far from over.
In honor of Theo’s memory, Leech donated all of the octopuses to the Live Like Roo Foundation, which provides financial support and care packages for families whose pets have been diagnosed with cancer.
“Live Like Roo was critical in Theo’s life,” Leech said. “They provided his oncology visits, the diagnostics, his monthly medications and everything. They assisted Theo’s rescue partner with the cost of his cancer care.”
Live Like Roo then put the octopuses into 39 care packages and sent them off to other pets battling cancer. “Some cats received Theo’s octopus,” Leech said. “Even [they] like it.”
Pet Supplies Plus was so moved by Theo’s octopus that they decided to make the toy a permanent item in the store, but with one special change.
“They called and said that they were putting [the octopus] back into production,” Leech said. “They sent us a picture of the first shipment of blue octopuses with a tag that said, ‘Theo’s Octopus.’”
In addition to making Theo’s Octopus a permanent item, Pet Supplies Plus stores are donating a portion of Theo’s Octopus sales back to the Live Like Roo Foundation.
“Theo’s home store where we bought the original octopus is filling a huge fish tank with donated octopuses to give to Live Like Roo,” Leech said. “In one weekend, they had 212 octopuses donated that were all going to care packages.”
It’s been two years since Theo passed away, but there is no way to measure how many lives Theo has touched in that time.
“It’s amazing to see what one dog, who was changing the world when the world needed something good, could do,” Leech said. “He really meant a lot.”