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Rant/Opinions Needed: Local Homeless guy with ANOTHER puppy...

June 22nd, 2008, 03:19 PM
Hey everybody! This is my very first post and I hate to make it be on a topic such as this but I saw something today that really upset me and has made me quite frustrated...

Where I live I have to get off of the interstate at the same place all the time. 90% of the time there is a homeless guy on the corner walks up and down the line of cars asking for money. He has been doing this for as long as I've been here. I'm not sure how well he takes care of himself as he is missing a number of teeth, has very weathered skin, walks with a crutch, has a severe limp and generally looks like he struggles a lot just getting around. This will all become relevant in a moment...

Now I want to start by saying that I think companionship with a(n) animal(s) is a beautiful and intangible thing. There really are few things that bring me as much joy as playing with my two dogs and having them lay on me and show that they care.

With that in mind I think that a homeless person who is properly able to care for a pet can really gain from that type of relationship. In fact I believe that many homeless people care for their pets better than most well to do people; they simply share more of a bond with their pets since they are always around them, are often times the only partner they have and their love is unconditional. I'm fine with that, I agree with that, and I like to see that.

What has troubled me recently about this guy however is that I think he is using the dogs he has with him as a ploy to elicit more money from people who pass by him; like a selfish tool. Today I drove by to see him with what looked to be an 8 week old (VERY young, VERY small) black lab puppy. He was tugging on it but it wouldn't come (he was not being mean or anything I will say that) and he picked it up and put it in a sachel with the puppy right at his chest and consciously right in plain view of motorist on the offramp. Mind you is is something like 95 today in NC and I'm sure hotter on the concrete/asphault surface where he is...

Now normally like I said I wouldn't mind this and I would offer help (and still may for the sake of the pup) but this is NOT his first dog; in fact it is his 3rd within a year! Yes his 3rd dog. He had a grown one about a year ago and that one disappeared to be replaced by a black and white mix puppy. It grew up to about a year, full grown and has now disappeared and has been replaced with something "cuter" and in my mind more apt to get him money. This frustrates and outrages me to no end! Like I said before I can understand if it was the same dog, but it is not (in fact there is another homeless guy who shares the corner with him who has a dog that is maybe 3-4 who is ALWAYS excited to see him, he always shares his food with it, etc.).

I know that there are always two sides to a coin and I will say that I have not talked to the homeless man to hear his story, but at this moment I don't care. I'm not sure if the guy lets the dogs go, if they're hit by traffic (VERY busy intersection from 7am to 11pm) gives them to a shelter, if they've been taken, etc, etc. but it all seems a little "odd." I honeslty think that A) he is simply using them to get money and that B) he isn't capable to taking care of the dogs he has had.

Anybody else want to weigh in? Again I'm all for him having a pet (like his homeless friend) but when the pet becomes a tool, suffers under the conditions present and is not able to have the life it potentially could I really see error and fault in his judgement and characeter...

(if anybody wants me to snap a pic I drive by him everyday and would be more than willing to get a pic of the situation and the pup...)

June 22nd, 2008, 06:57 PM
I totally agree with homeless people being able to have a pet if they can prperly take care of it everyday, and i feel that homeless people almost always have a stronger bond with their animal than most other dog owners do.

If you want to help out the pup, i would suggest to drop off food and a dish for water, and it sounds like the pup needing a blanket isnt an issue for it. I have done that for people i see often that are homeless with an animal, i dont like to give them money, because honestly you never know what they are going to do with it.

Another option is to call the SPCA or another humane animal society. Ask them to go ut and have a look at the situation, and ask them to contact you when they have done that so a) you know they actually went out and assessed the situation. b) So you can find out what is really going on and if the pup is being taken care of and c) to keep us in the loop with this :D, if you do choose to cantact a shelter make sure to let them know this is his third puppy in the past year and ask them to find out what he is doing with them.

And sure a picture is always welcome here.

June 22nd, 2008, 07:23 PM
this is a difficult subject because we can talk/ debate about it as much as we want, but in the end we don't know HIS story. Everyone: try to put yourself in HIS shoes if you can even begin to fathom.... maybe you just lost your job, maybe your family died suddenly and you were left with nothing, maybe a long road of addiction put you on the streets.... most people don't CHOOSE to be homeless, it's just a matter of circumstances.
Us all being animal lovers, I am pretty sure if you were homeless, alone, cold, and scared, and you saw a homeless dog, you would take it "in" so to speak. Having very little money or resources, it would be difficult for you to keep that dog and take proper care of it, but you would try your hardest. Not having a safe shelter for it, chances are it would either wander away or get killed or picked up by someone else. So along comes a cute helpless puppy. You can't help but help it too!
I really think it isn't up to us to judge this man, given the circumstances. And please, don't humiliate him by taking a picture of him as you are driving by.

June 22nd, 2008, 07:26 PM
From what you have said about this being his third puppy, it sounds like this guy is just using puppies as his prop for sure. I think for some homeless people who do have pets, having those pets is something that is keeping them going. But if they can't take care of their pet then someone needs to get involved.

June 22nd, 2008, 07:26 PM
Another option is to call the SPCA or another humane animal society. Ask them to go ut and have a look at the situation,

That would be my advice too ! 3 dogs in one year ... doesn't sound good to me.

June 22nd, 2008, 07:28 PM
mollywog - you pretty much read my mind...and I also feel really strongly that taking a picture would be inappropriate.

June 22nd, 2008, 07:29 PM
I really think it isn't up to us to judge this man, given the circumstances. And please, don't humiliate him by taking a picture of him as you are driving by.

The OP is not judging this man, she is concerned for the safety of the dog. Being this man's third dog , it is a concern about what happen to the 2 previous dogs and if the same thing will happen to the third one. :shrug:

June 22nd, 2008, 07:34 PM
by taking his picture, us all looking at it, and discussing him when we don't know his situation is what I would consider to be called passing judgement.

June 22nd, 2008, 08:40 PM
Perhaps he steals the dogs and eaarns money from the rewards :shrug:

I know, I know...but one never knows now days...

June 22nd, 2008, 09:50 PM
I would get SPCA to look into it, how much care can he offer this pup (good food, vet care)? and yeah what happened to the other dogs?

June 22nd, 2008, 10:49 PM
Are you sure he's homeless?

I've seen a couple of guys (I assumed were homeless) with dogs. THey don't ask for money, but what doglover isn't going to hand over a few bucks to help feed Rover.

There was a guy outside the bookstore the other week and he had a nice, well-kept dog with him.

One of the store employees told him to get off the property. Apparently, he shares a house with about 5 other guys, they all dress down to look like their down to their last dollar and take their dogs out on the street with them. They don't have jobs, they just panhandle.

Ticks me off, as some people really are homeless and could use the help.

June 22nd, 2008, 11:55 PM
Maybe the other two dogs were stolen from him. It happens. Or maybe they ran away. Or maybe they were taken from him by some well-meaning but misguided dog lover. Or maybe they got sick and died. You'll never know unless you ask.

I think homeless people have an absolute right to have dogs. I'm sure some homeless people abuse their dogs, but most of the homeless people I see who have dogs take better care of their animals than themselves. And the fact that they may not be able to afford fancy veterinary care for them means nothing as far as I'm concerned. The vast majority of the world's children don't enjoy the standard of care that some dogs do in North America.

June 23rd, 2008, 03:54 PM
I agree that it great to have the companionship, but I do know some people who are 'homeless' and take advantage of the welfare system.. I lived in Victoria BC for a year or so, and there were a bunch of street kids - out only on sunny days, and almost all of them had a dog - because Welfare gives you an extra $60 if you have a pet.. Some of these dogs were well taken care of, but some looked like they hadn't been eating.. :sad:

But I also agree, we have no idea what this man's story is. :shrug:
Seeing him with three different pups is suspcious, but there could be valid reason for it.. :shrug:

June 23rd, 2008, 06:28 PM
I refuse to judge the man until I know his story. One should not go by looks alone. Investigate if you feel that is necessary but don't assume the worst. It has been my experience that most homeless people with pets care better for their pets than themselves. As a young intern in Boston, I once treated a homeless man who brought his kitten with him (snuck him in) to the ER and since I was afraid the authorities would take the kitten, I brought him home with me- and also to the vet (I was just above a starving med student but I did have a credit card and the kitten needed some work.). The poor man- who had aheart problem- was so concerned about his kitty that he almost had 2nd heart attack!! So among us, the med students, nurses, interns and Residents and the ER head all got together to get money for the kitten's vet work. I sent many more yrs there as a Resident and would see him in that genera area and he always was pleasant and while never could fight his addiction (also a disease), he cared fir that cat so well!!!

So be careful what you think you see. You could be correct byt if I did that kind of assessment with my patients, I;d lose my license really quickly.

June 23rd, 2008, 06:52 PM
my friend and I saw this today... a cute lab mix being dragged about buy a guy begging for money... how do they expect to care for an animal when they cant look for themselves...

although i read somewhere its meant to keep them sane!? :shrug:

June 24th, 2008, 08:10 AM
Thanks for the replies everybody it is great to have everyone's input and see things from other perspectives.

I want to start by saying that I didn't mean to come off as judgemental and snide as I did; I was simply frustrated and my emotions showed through. I also had NO intention of posting the person himself. I agree with all that that sort of thing is degrading and has no base to be on a forum. I was willing to take a picture of the conditions of the animal, not the person himself. I also want to say that I was not passing judgement on the person simply because of his appearance. I have however made inferences based on certain things I've seen, none of which I feel are out of line or gross exaggerations.

As I said in my original post there are always two sides to every coin and this is no exception. I do not know the gentlemen and I do not know his story. Would I like to and will I potentially get somebody involved who can, yes simply for the well being of the young dogs he has had and maybe potentially have in the future.

One thing I'd like for everybody to consider as well is that this is not somebody that I've seen once, twice of 3 times but probably 4-5 within a single week. Over a year that adds up. I'm not a big people watcher but when I'm sitting at that light I tend to notice things.; call it curisotiy if you'd like. So within this year I've seen quite a lot. With that in mind I'm not totally doubting his ability to keep a pet, I think he should under the right circumstances, however I am questioning his motive for having the pets.

Some have said that maybe the dogs were stolen from him, maybe they ran away, maybe he had to surrender then, etc. which are ALL possibilities however something about this particular scenario does not lend itself to any of those theories. Here is why I say this:

1) As most have said (and studies have shown) having a dog, puppy or even young child will yield more money. We know this and I'm sure that he and other homeless people know this.
2) Whenever his pervious dogs have been smaller and "manageable" (remember he struggles himself to get around) he always had the dog leashed and beside him while he walked up and down the line of cars. Any other time or when they are too big he ties them to the railing on the bridge.
3) With any of his new puppy he conveniently has a pouch that will put the pup right on his chest in plain view of those who see him. I could be wrong but if you're concerned about the pet then why not put it under the umbrella he's setup next to food and water he has put out (especially when it is 95*+).
4) Again 3 dogs within one year all being "rotated" when they loose their "appeal" ot most people. It isn't science that puppies are cuter than most grown dogs.
5) I'm beginnning to think more and more that he may be a "career homeless" person. I hate to say or think that but something seems off about all of it.

I will say in the man's defense that he seems like he does try to provide a decent level of care. Towels/blankets down, water, food and an umbrella for shade.

I know some will disagree with me for being critical and not "understanding" but please reread a lot of what I wrote. I think that you will see that I DO agree with many things that have been said and am not trying to down play a homeless person's ability to care for or have a dog, I am simply concerned with THIS person and the dogs that he has had so I am NOT speaking in generalities, rather about a specific situation. I honestly do hope that this man is not using the dogs to elicit more money, I really do, however I'm not going to sit back and not help these animals should the worst be the case. I know it may only help one or two animals but to me that is enough.

June 24th, 2008, 08:19 AM
2) he always had the dog leashed and beside him while he walked up and down the line of cars. Any other time or when they are too big he ties them to the railing on the bridge.

And maybe the 2 previous dogs got hit by cars. If so , he shouldn't own a dog.

I understand and completely agree with everything you said PutterMcGavin , you are only looking for the safety of this remaining dog. Someone should :thumbs up

I do agree also that some homeless people are great with their dogs , but not all of them are. :shrug:

June 24th, 2008, 10:08 AM
I know that I am drawn to street people with dogs and sometimes give them money. Of course they are aware that animals draw people in (I've also seen a couple of 'street' cats here in Montreal - which is sadder, cats really aren't suited to such a life). But I think the bottom line is the unconditional love they get from their animals, whereas humans may have let them down badly. Some of the young guys encourage their dogs to be aggressive but they have to be careful because if someone is bitten, the police often get involved and the animal can be seized.