I saw him sitting in front of the convenience store when I pulled up to fill my car. He was a young man – far too to young to be homeless and begging on the street. I wondered what his story was.
What struck me about him was the big, Labrador-type dog he had with him. The dog was wearing a sweater that was far too small, but it looked at its master with the eyes that only we dog lovers know. I watched as the young man took out the dog bowls and carefully put half of his sandwich in one, torn up into small bits… then poured half of his water bottle into the other bowl for the dog. The dog ate ravenously and looked for more, and the young man gave him more bites of the sandwich. When they were both finished, the young man meticulously cleaned up the area around them and was preparing to leave.
I reached in my wallet. I don’t normally react that way, but something told me it was what I should do.
I approached the young man. “Sir, are you traveling?” I asked… ignoring the sign by him that read “Homeless – broke”.
“Yes ma’am, I am.”
“Here. Take care of your dog.” I handed him the money. To me it was the amount I would spend going out to lunch with a friend. His eyes grew wide when he looked at it.
“Yes ma’am. I will. He’s my best friend.”
“I can see that. Looks like he’s a good one.”
I went back to my car and pulled away. The young man and the dog were headed down the road, on their way to wherever they were heading.
I don’t know his story or how he came to be in the situation he’s in, but it moved me that he was determined to take care of his best friend in the world…even though that best friend had four legs. Must be some goodness there somewhere. I wish him all the best.
And I went home, to my warm, safe home… and I hugged my dog.