Goldie’s owner called me today from the Bridge, homeless shelter, the 27$ Million facility in downtown Dallas that houses the city’s massive homeless population.
“I missed two days of work today, Miss Tammy. The Dallas Police tore up the dog crate I had hidden in the abandoned hotel. I can’t keep Goldie in there anymore. I need you to come get her.”
First, let me tell you I am NOT a dog lover. I have one already, much to my chagrin, and when I babysat Goldie for my friend who lives not at the Bridge, (shelter) but UNDER a bridge with his pup Goldie tied to his ankle, I must admit I like this dog. This dog is better behaved than mine.
She’s a golden puppy, doesn’t bark, doesn’t do anything, except eat play and love. Goldie does not like houses, possibly because she doesn’t know what they are. So we let her sleep outside on the back porch with our black lab. She was there for a week and then I brought her back to her owner, who would run her during the day, take her for a swim in a pond downtown near an office building, feed her whatever he could find on the street, and get her all tired out so she would sleep in the crate in the abandoned hotel downtown, all day…while he went to his new job.
See, homeless people are just like you and me. They have similar interests, likes and dislikes. This homeless person just happens to be a dog lover who rescued this broken, beaten down puppy from the street. If he had a home, I suspect he’d work for the SPCA or PETA. He’s the opposite of me. He’ll risk everything, to save an animal.
The owner is a wonderful, sweet, educated man named John who has the softest heart for animals. He has fallen on hard times, and even during his darkest hour, struggling to make money and work and get back on his feet; he’s got a soft spot for dogs.
A day after I returned Goldie to her owner, I got a text message (several, actually) from other homeless guys on the street who are my friends.
“I saw Goldie today. She looks great. Thought you’d want to know.”
Another one of my friends on the street sent me a similar text message and ended it with; “Although…I know you don’t like dogs… pshaw.”
I knew from the texts that her owner took good care of her.
But today he called. He knew it was time to let her go.
“Miss Tammy, I need you to take her for awhile. I have to go to work; I can’t keep missing it anymore because of this dog.”
No way, I thought. My husband will kill me!
“Can’t you just give her to someone to hold during the day?” I asked.
“I can’t trust anyone down here on the street,” he said. “They’ll exchange her for drugs, or send her to a dog fighting ring.”
I know enough about the street to know this is true.
“I’ll see you Sunday,” I said. “Just hang on for a few more days.”
All I know is that my black Lab Nicky has been moping around for days. His life seems to have been transformed since he met Goldie, as if he was all alone an only dog in this world, and then his life was transformed into color, from black and white. I feel bad for him. I stopped and stared out the window actually, watching him look lonely and forlorn, and I remembered a similar day when the condition of my heart felt the same. I was missing someone I loved, and I felt like there was no hope for joy ever again. Watching Nicky mope around the yard brought it all back to me. It even made me feel a bit more connected to the animal world, made me wonder. Are they like us?
On Sunday, I have a surprise for Nicky…
the homeless dog who doesn’t like houses, is coming home.