Written by Amanda Mikalson of Washington
I live in a small rural community in Eastern Washington where, although there is homelessness, it isn’t discussed. Although our community has some resources and some very dedicated good hearts, help can be hard to come by. One day in the middle of summer last year as a storm was approaching, I saw a man walking down the highway into Colfax (one of the larger towns in Whitman County) with a small dog draped across his shoulders. I decided that if the man was still in town when I got out of physical therapy, I would do all I could to help him and his dog.
After an hour of physical therapy, I went to the local grocery store and asked some people if anyone had seen this man and his dog. Someone said that they thought he was behind the store with his dog. I would also like to note that no one really seemed to care that this man was homeless and alone. So it was then that I proceeded to buy a 12 pound bag of puppy chow, a large bottle of water, dog treats and a turkey sandwich. I then called my Mom to tell her where I would be just in case something went wrong (and since I am a woman and was alone).
He Took My Hand and Started to Cry
I pulled into the lot and walked out and asked the man about his situtation. He told me that he had been traveling a long ways, had had a ride into town, but the man who had been driving him made him get out 5 miles outside of town and walk (this was despite the fact that the driver was heading in the same direction). This man told me that he had found God and was trying to turn his life around and get a job. He asked me if I knew of anyone who could give him a ride into Spokane. I told him I didn’t, unfortunately (it was right then that I wished desperately that my Dad was still alive because he would have given him a ride in a heartbeat).
I then proceeded to give the man the grocery bag full of what I had bought earlier for him and his dog. The man shook my hand and started to cry, telling me how grateful he was as he didn’t know how he was going to feed his dog that night and how they were out of food. I tried to hold back my tears and wished him the best of luck and prayed for him.
I then called my Mom back and she informed me that there was a Pastor that works for the Sheriff’s Department and they are very willing to help the homeless. I called both the Sheriff’s Department and Community Action Center and asked them if they could help this man. They said they would go out and see if they could find him and give him a room for a night in a local motel. By the time they went back to the grocery store, the man and his dog (Harley, I will never forget the dog’s name) were gone.
All I can do is hope and pray that the two of them have succeeded and are happy and okay. I would say that if you are ever in the same position, do whatever you can. Bring this person food and water for both themselves and their animal, but also make sure someone knows where you are at, just in case. God Bless those in need, and those who help.
What Kindness Will You Spread Today?
We have developed such a strong culture of excuses to protect ourselves from the painfulness of the suffering of others. So often we tell ourselves things like, “What difference will it make if I help” or “I can’t save the whole world.” But in our daily lives, there are always moments of opportunity to show kindness, to approach a situation with a positive, open mind. Today we celebrate Amanda Mikalson’s kindness to this homeless man and his dog and we hope that readers will be inspired by her actions. If you have a story of how you helped an animal in need, please reach out and share it on our website at The Great Animal Rescue Chase.