Posts tagged homeless

A Homeless Man and his Dog

Good Dog

About two weeks ago I was headed into town to the post office and came up behind this odd-looking sight on SR 200 right in town near Winn Dixie.  It was a fellow on an old bicycle with a wooden cart attached to the back.  He was pedaling slowly along in the heat .  It must have been at least 93 degrees.  I read the sign he’d tacked on the back of his cart, it said:

 I’m broke, hungry and tired -Lost everything in a house fire in Ohio- Headed to South Florida – God Bless You

In the middle of the cart – propped upright and fully open –  was a large, fading beach umbrella.   It gave the cart a whimsical appeal.  However, I saw an old black Labrador Retriever under it.  He was just laying there, big head up, graying muzzle, looking with disinterest at everything around him.  He also looked hungry and tired. 

 It was the dog that got me.

 I could pass a dozen homeless people, I’m afraid to say, and not feel too badly for them.  They are human.  They can ask for food and water.  They can speak for themselves in most cases.  I’ve handed plenty of coins to begging people on the side of the road, believe me.  I mean, you wouldn’t stand there unless you had to, would you?

 But the dog.  Oh God, that dog.  In just that few moments, I saw the fellow turn around and look back at the Lab, making sure he was okay.  I saw in that man’s eyes a love for that dog, you know?  You could tell he CARED about that animal.  Everything else might be going to hell in a hand basket, but at least he had his buddy with him.

 They passed on by as I went into the post office and when I came back out, I didn’t see them.  I headed back to work.  I could not take my mind off of them.  I got halfway back to work, and did a u-turn while at the same time shaking my wallet for money.  I had eighteen dollars on me.  I could part with it.  All I could see was that dog’s eyes and wonder how long it had been since their last decent meal. 

 It took me several turns and over 10 minutes to find them.  I couldn’t believe how easily they had disappeared!  I went up and down the road  –  thru the intersections – drove thru McDonald’s, Burger King and Hardee’s, thinking perhaps they had cut thru hoping someone would feed them.  As I pulled out of the parking lot at CVS I saw them stopped right there on the corner waiting on the traffic light.  Apparently, they had gone through the parking lot of the gas station.

 The fellow had his back to the traffic and he was lightly petting the dog on the head.  I whipped my car up beside him, right in the lane of traffic, and rolled down the window and loudly said, “Sir!” and he turned around and saw that I was trying to hand him some money.  He put his bike down and ran to the car, took the money, then smiled and thanked me.  Shockingly, I saw that he was not old, he was probably in his 30’s.   Some of his teeth were missing and he was sunburned under his hat, but he was not old.  He ran back to his bike and dog and I pulled away from the curb and almost got run over by a damn log truck, I kid you not. 

 Wouldn’t that have been poetic as hell. 

 I felt good about my small donation.  I hope they make it to their destination safely.  God be with that man and his dog…

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