I know during these difficult times that everyone feels that they have it worse than anyone else. If you are thinking that way, let me introduce you to the dog formerly called Stanley, now known as Boogie.
The little, white Morkie first came into the life of Joette Tavernise when she saw a picture of him posted on a pole. Someone had found him and was searching for his parents. Joette fell in love with him at first sight. His parents claimed him, but then they found themselves in a situation where they could not keep him. Joette learned that Stanley needed a new home and was happy to provide it for the newly renamed Boogie. But housing would soon become a problem for her.
Joette was trying to get by in her small apartment on just $1,000 a month from social security. A new landlord bought her building and began to force the current residents out. Joette found a new apartment, but at the last minute, she was denied housing after her former landlord began an unnecessary eviction proceeding against her.
Joette and Boogie were now homeless. With nowhere else to go, she drove her CR-V to Target, parked between two cars belonging to overnight workers, and slept with Boogie curled up in the passenger seat next to her.
The night passed uneventfully, so Joette stayed there the next night and the one after that. Days became weeks, and weeks became months. Joette looked for apartments, but those in her price range were elusive. She had two previous marriages, but neither ex was in a position to help her, and she was estranged from her daughter. All she had was Boogie, and all Boogie had was her.
Boogie proved to be one of those emphatic dogs who knew when Joette needed a smile, or comforting. He got Joette through many tough times.
Joette, after receiving several warnings, had to move to a new, less patrolled shopping center. She could not work because of leg problems and memory issues caused by a previous stroke. Her checks were directly deposited into her account, so she had money to feed both of them.
During the day, Joette and Boogie walked the city, and at night they slept in her car until an out of control driver slammed into it while it was parked in the shopping center totaling it. Joette watched helplessly as the vehicle was towed away.
Joette and Boogie moved to the park. Boogie did not know how much more his mom could take, and he prayed to the angels. We could not fix the situation on our own. We had to find a human angel, which we did in the presence of Marceil Handkammer, who pulled over when she saw the older woman and her dog sleeping on the ground.
Marceil took a particular interest in Joette and Boogie. She convinced Joette to go into a shelter, while Marceil took Boogie home until his mom and he found a place together. Finding an apartment proved to be more challenging than Marceil first thought. But, she did not turn her back on Joette. Marceil brought her food, medication, and to visit Boogie. Marceil was worried when Joette moved out of the shelter last month and went back to sleeping outside, because of her COVID-19 concerns.
A temporary solution was reached when a broken wrist was suffered by the mother of one of Joette’s friends and had to move out of her assisted living apartment while she was in rehab. Joette and Boogie were able to move in, at least for a month. Meanwhile, more than $7,000 has been raised via a Go Fund Me page Marceil began for Joette.
While permanent housing may be within reach, Joette doesn’t know how long Boogie, now a senior dog, will be with her. He was diagnosed with a heart condition, which proved to be serious. We know Boogie will stay with his mom until she gets her new home, and then his work will be done.
So remember there is always someone worse than you.
But, at least for now, that person has a loving dog to take care of her.