Written by Karen Hendrickson of Minnesota
On a hot, humid Minnesota day I was driving home from a park with river access, with my large dog Tess. On the corner of a busy intersection I saw a round man with a beard and some very fun and creative signs asking for help. We made eye contact and I felt the need to help a bit. He was very good at working the passers-by although few if any, donated to his cause. As we were passing by, my dog Tess reacted with excitement, and that is when I saw a younger man sitting with two dogs on the corner. They were a team of homeless folk making their way to California before the cold weather set in here.
I was only half a mile from my home. I have no money to speak of, but I had just stocked up on pet food for my animals. I went home, dropped off my dog and packed up a bag of full of food and treats for the dogs. I grabbed a couple bottles of water and headed back to the corner. They were sitting in front of a taco place, so I parked in their lot. There was a picnic table with a mom and a group of about six boys eating their heaps of food. They watched me make my way to the two homeless people.
I gave the goods to the man and questioned why they were out there. They both started telling me the story of how they had fallen on bad times without jobs in Illinois. They teamed up because one was older and wiser while the other was young and strong. Their personalities clicked, so they embarked on an escapade of sorts. They traveled mostly at night while it was cooler, so as not to hurt their dogs’ paws either. The dogs were very sociable and looked good. I handed out some of the treats. Their tails wagging, they gobbled them up and drank some water. They appeared very healthy and those guys loved those dogs. The older fella told me that my town was one of the least giving they had ever run into. I am not surprised, sadly. He asked me if he could give me a quick hug and a prayer of thanks. I was honored.
When I returned to my car passing the table of boys, I just smiled and said, “just helping out my fellow man, and their pets that aren’t quite as fortunate as us.” Maybe it lit a tiny spark of kindness in their souls, and some day they may help another. I hope so.
So many believe that these people go home to big houses and fancy cars — that they really aren’t homeless. The statistics don’t say that. More and more of the homeless are veterans of the wars hard fought. We DO owe them help. All I know is that my heart felt good for days after and I think of them often. They were friendly people with friendly dogs.
Brought to you by The Great Animal Rescue Chase.