On your way into work in the morning, it is not an odd sight to see a homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk. However, one staff member was forced to do a double-take when she found a young homeless man curled up asleep outside the front doors of DeKalb County Animal Services in Georgia.
They later learned that the man had not chosen that spot just as safe refuge for the night. It turns out that he was there for a much bigger reason.
"Our kennel tech woke him up, and the man said his dog had gone missing," Karen Hirsch, spokesperson for the shelter, told The Dodo.
The man had spent all the money he was able to collect in order to pay for bus fare that would get him to the animal shelter, with the faint hope that he could be reunited with his friend.
He was in luck, when he learned that his dog had been picked up as a stray about 2 weeks earlier, but the next part of the news made his heart sink.
The dog was being held at their new facility across town.
The homeless man was very upset at the news, because he had no way to get across town, other than walk, and that would take a really long time.
"He looked at her and he and he said my dog is my life. Please I need to have her and she said, of course, how can we help." said Andie Peart, rescue coordinator at the shelter.
Feeling bad for the man, the kennel tech decided to cover the cost of the train ride for him to get to the shelter where he could find his dog.
The stranger broke down into tears at the tech's kindness, and words could not express how excited he was to be reunited with his dog again.
The shelter workers had become familiar with the little dog, who was happy, healthy and a loving animal.
While the man may not have a lot to offer her in the way of material possessions, it was clear that she loved him and she was loved in return.
“You could see the joy in his face when they were reunited. It was wonderful. The joy for both of them was palpable. It lifted everyone’s spirit to see it. Love is love, no matter who it’s coming from. He probably puts the dog first in his life, because without her he doesn’t have anything,” said Hirsch.
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The shelter continued their kindness by waiving their normal fees, in order to reunite the pair. They also gave him a leash and money to get back to Atlanta. They also offered them any future assistance they need through their outreach program.
“Some people don’t understand giving a pet back to a homeless person, but some of those people take better care of their pets than some of us with homes. If you see a homeless person with a pet, and are hesitant to give them money, you can give them dog food, or even flea medicine. They are need bottles of water. Just basic supplies that humans and dogs can use. Their pet is sometimes the only thing they have in their lives,” commented Hirsch.