When workers at an animal shelter in Georgia arrived at work one morning earlier this month, they were confused when they saw a homeless man had fallen asleep right in front of their doors.
A staff member from DeKalb County Animal Services woke the young man up and discovered that he had lost his beloved dog, Tata, and had used all the money he collected to pay for a bus ride to get to the shelter in hopes that they had found her. Thankfully, Tata had been found about two weeks earlier but she was being held at the shelter’s other facility, which was too far to walk to.
“Jarvis Smith found this young homeless man sleeping in front of our old shelter today waiting to hopefully find his dog. Jarvis talked with him and felt like he should help. He gave the man money to take the train,” Tracy Hunton Thompson said. When the man arrived at the other shelter, the staff brought Tata out to him and it was clear the two had a very special bond.
“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,” said Karen Hirsch, spokesperson for the shelter. “He probably puts the dog first in his life, because without her he doesn’t have anything.”
The shelter had recently started an outreach program to help the homeless get care for their pets so they waived Tata’s fees and offered to help with anything in the future. “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,” Hirsch said. “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 also 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.”