November is a scary time to be a turkey in America. But Leon isn’t like most turkeys. In fact, Leon seems to think he’s a dog.
First, some backstory: Leon was recently found wandering the streets in Ventura County. After a stint at the local animal shelter, he was rescued by Stockton-based Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary.
Since arriving at the sanctuary, Leon has showed off some peculiar personality traits for a turkey. He loves to be carried around, petted and kissed. Most of all, he enjoys getting his belly rubbed – not unlike man’s best friend.
“He just took to people immediately,” sanctuary manager Christine Morrissey said.
Morrissey isn’t sure whether he escaped from a farm that was raising him for slaughter, or whether he was being kept as a backyard pet. Either way, Leon’s timing couldn’t have been any better.
“He certainly is the age of a turkey that would be slaughtered for Thanksgiving dinner,” Morrissey said.
Now, Leon gets to live out his days at the sanctuary – snuggling on the couch, eating dried cranberries and getting belly rubs.
Morrissey even thinks he’ll have potential as a therapy turkey.
“We would love to have Leon on a harness, like a dog or a cat. Well, not really like a cat, but like a dog,” Morrissey said.
While Morrissey says turkeys are more complex emotionally than most people give them credit for, she says Leon is one of a kind.
“For an animal [like this] to immediately trust us and want companionship, that is, definitely I would say, an unusual trait,” Morrissey said.