R.O.A.R. Squad: Leo and his dog, Viva

I am very excited to introduce you to our latest international R.O.A.R. Squad member: Leo!

Leo lives in in the beautiful city of Copenhagen- I was only there for a couple of days several years ago, but from what I’ve seen it is a gorgeous city. He also has two wonderful dogs, Kenzo and his rescue Viva. From the pictures I can see they have a very happy pack!

Thank you for being part of the R.O.A.R. Squad!

Rockin’ Rescue Owner: Leo Scheltinga

Gorgeous Pups: Viva and Kenzo. Viva we adopted, Kenzo we had earlier from puppyhood. Both are Hovawarts. The Hovawart breed is very rare in the US. Apparently there are only about 500 of them (learn more about the breed HERE and HERE).

Welkom: I am a Dutch national, living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Founder of a software company. Wanted to have dogs all my life, but it took me 40 years before I also thought I was ready and able to take care of them (Check out Leo’s blog, Kenzo the Hovawart). 

Soft Spot: I noticed on the website of the shelter they had a Hovawart. This was Viva. As a dog lover with a weak spot for Hovawarts I followed what happened with her. She got quickly adopted, but things went wrong and she returned to the shelter again after some months. We went down to the shelter to hear more about her and meet her.

Feared the Worst: Viva clearly had issues. She was overweight, flea-infested and had a poor skin condition. She was in obvious discomfort, reddish skin, biting, itching and almost inflamed paws. She was stiff in her movements, not very agile. Almost like a very old dog although she was only 5½ years old. Viva had mental issues too, she was afraid of dogs and was very reactive towards dogs. With her age, breed (Hovawarts need experienced owners), health and mental conditions, I feared the worst for her, and so did the shelter. In Denmark there is a no-kill policy. But dogs that turn out as not adoptable, are euthanized. In the shelter they don’t treat the animals for any of their illnesses when no emergency medical treatment is needed, so things would not get better at the least. Clearly Viva needed our help.

Remarkable Progress: We let her meet Kenzo, our other Hovawart, supervised by a dog trainer. When that worked out well, we decided to adopt her. We have Viva now for almost half a year and she made some remarkable progress. We also started training BAT (Behavioral Adjustment Training) to help her getting less reactive with other dogs.

Partner in Crime: Together with her new partner in crime, Kenzo, she has developed two favorites for pasttime. Ear-nibbling and wrestling. She couldn’t wrestle much before because of her back problems but now it is her favorite game. She wrestles with Kenzo like there is an Olympic title at stake and she is catching up for the years she couldn’t wrestle. To relax, Viva loves a good ear-nibble. She usually starts by giving Kenzo one, but only to get him started and get it back tenfold!
Where: Copenhagen, Denmark

Want to meet another R.O.A.R. Squad member from overseas? Check out the lovely Kirsty and her dog, Strauss.

Join the R.O.A.R. Squad

Do you want to join the R.O.A.R. Squad? Our goal is to make having a rescue animal THE coolest thing around. Ya game? Perfect! We’d love to have you! 

Send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!

Recruiting Members

We are well on our way to reaching our goal of finding at least one rescue owner from every state in the US and at least one rescue owner from every province and territory in Canada by April 2011. BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP!

We’re looking for rescue dogs, cats, rabbits, parrots… donkeys… snakes… we’re not biased around here. We just want rescues who have found fabulous homes! Check out all the R.O.A.R. Squad members HERE.

Recruiting for:


  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland
  • North West Territories
  • Nunavut
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon


  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Everywhere Else:

  • From somewhere else? Lemme know!

If your state/province/territory isn’t on this list, THAT’S OKAY! We still need you to join! Just keep your eyes and ears out for rescue owners from these places for me, k? Thanks!

I look forward to hearing from you!

11 Responses to “R.O.A.R. Squad: Leo and his dog, Viva”

  1. Kari says:

    Such a happy rescue story 🙂


  2. @Kari- I agree! It was clearly meant to be 🙂

  3. So that’s what you look like! Hello Leo 🙂

  4. Edie says:

    What a wonderful story! You can glean bits of it from Leo’s excellent blog but it’s great to have it here in its full glory. The pictures are terrific too. Shauna, you rock too for getting such a great roster of rescuers.

  5. Leo is the best and Kenzo and Viva are awesome Hovawarts! What a great addition to your national lineup!

  6. Mel says:

    Yay! I am so glad to see Leo, Viva and Kenzo here! Viva is a very lucky dog and simply gorgeous. I have to say I really love the picture of Kenzo and Viva where his head is resting on her rump. Simply beautiful!

  7. @Edie- I am super pumped to have so many super fabulous people join the R.O.A.R. Squad! Leo & his crew are fab 🙂

  8. @Deborah & Mel- Viva and Kenzo are definitely gorgeous pups 🙂

  9. And this was so educational also! I have never heard of the breed before, and it’s interesting to hear about the policies in other countries. Great profile!

  10. @Two- I hadn’t heard of the Hovawart either! Super excited to have these guys join 🙂