Thursday, June 17, 2021

Phoenix Rising


Homeless dogs need to stand out from the pack to find new families.  Sometimes, it can be as simple as a name, and when I met a dog, who wasn’t praying for a new home but to escape his hellish life,  I christened him Phoenix and waited for him to rise.  

    I chose that name because the 10-year-old Maltese had lived his entire life in a deplorable puppy mill.  He would have prayed for a better life, but he didn’t know such a thing was possible.  He was as hopeless and empty of faith as a cow who never lived more than three steps from the slaughterhouse.  He was only let out of his cage to breed, not the enjoyable life some teenage boys would lead you to believe.  

    Phoenix had heard of this other place, called the Bridge, that, when his hellish, solitary, lonely life finally concluded, he would be transported to a life there was only love.  Phoenix took a chance that such a place existed and began to give away heartbeats to those who were foolish enough to hope.  One day, when they were almost gone, he lay down prepared to see what was on the other side.  

    Before the last heartbeat expired, the humans came in a swarm, grabbing pups and taking them away.  When they came to Phoenix, he was barely breathing.  He was brought to the North Shore Animal League America, a non-profit rescue facility on the organization’s Long Island campus.  

    I was sent down to guide the willing Phoenix to the Bridge.  He was very tired but still had the strength to tell me about his tragic life.  I was supposed to take him by the paw and guide him to the River of Life, but my conscience tugged.  I asked if he wanted a second chance with a family.  At first, he scoffed, but when I told him it was possible, he regretted giving away heartbeats.  I told him I would immediately begin looking for more.

I found 100,000 for him just as his last one was expiring, and the machine he was hooked up to ceased to beep.  The staff had written him off, but when the monitor began signaling loudly, they all remarked on him rising from the ashes and agreed with me that his name could only be Phoenix.   He was brought to the Long Island Veterinary Specialists to help with his recovery.  That was the perfect place for him.  I could find a lot of available hearts there,  

The heartbeats, and some medication prescribed by doctors for congestive heart failure, extended his life.  Phoenix was ready to be adopted.  

    He was brought back to the rescue that saved him, and they were amazed that the dog who could not stand up when rescued was now a sweet, funny, boisterous pup looking forward to his second chance at life. His story caught the eye of Beth Stern, NSALA's spokesperson and well known foster parent. She shared the story of Phoenix’ressurection with her Instagram followers. He now had a hook to help him find his home.  

    I searched for the right family for Phoenix and found a couple who had recently lost their Maltese to congestive heart failure and had a lot of experience in caring for a senior dog with health issues.  The couple, Bobbi and Kent, drove from their Pennsylvania home to meet Phoenix in New York.  They fell in love with him instantly, and within days, after ten years and the loss of every heartbeat, Phoenix, now named Joey, finally had a family.   He has forgotten his past and is enjoying life as a pampered family dog loving his family, and his life, like a Phoenix rising. 

    Today’s lesson:  Never give away heartbeats; a miracle could be right around the corner  


Sunday, June 13, 2021

For Chewy Cutecute: The Toughest Dog in the World


Chewy Cutecute, so named because as a puppy she resembled Chewbacca, may have had a pretty name, but when it came to fighting off the dark angels who bring souls to the Bridge, no one was fiercer. 

Chewy belonged to a trio of Shih Tzus, who were living their best lives. Instantly recognizable to all their friends by their smiling faces, braided hair,  and triple-decker carriage,  they caught the hearts of everyone they met and never relinquished them. 

In 2018 I saw a list of dogs who were scheduled to become angels that year.  The list wasn’t absolute, and those on the list could evade it and stay with their parents if they had a strong will but would have to rage a hellish battle. It was not for the faint of heart. 

When I recognized Chewy’s name, I knew the dark angels would be in for the fight of their lives.  They decided to inflict her with an enlarged heart and then have the medication cause problems, leaving her with very little energy or appetite.  The situation looked dire, but a combination of Chewy’s strong will and dog prayers, which are the most powerful, healed her. While still inflicted with a heart disorder, she went back to living life to the fullest.

The dark angels retreated, but they mounted another attack within a few years, causing vision problems, blood in the urine, and breathing issues. Finally, the cute little dog, who the dark angels failed to take seriously, defeated them, and she stayed with her family.

    No dog can vanquish the evil ones alone, and Chewy had a mighty partner in her mom.  There was no time or money; she would not sacrifice to keep Chewy by her side. Instead, she tried every available treatment, from standard medicine to acupuncture to new age ideas.  Few moms could have done more, and her all-encompassing love gave Chewy a reason to live.

    The demons who separate loved knew when it came to Chewy that time was on their side.  Every day Chewy lost a little more of herself until she needed a blood transfusion. Sadly, her body showed signs of rejecting it.  Chewy’s mom knew that her baby would not choose to go to the Bridge no matter how much she was suffering, so her mom helped her cross over.

    When  Chewy was brought back home, after her soul went to the Bridge, her siblings QQ, Cherry, Koh Koh, and Kakak knew they had to be incredibly loving and caring for their broken-hearted mom while trying to navigate the cold world without their leader.  I know they have a painful road ahead of them, one they may never stop traveling,  but they will do so together, and it will make the treacherous path easier to navigate.  

    All her friends and some fans who rooted for Chewy, and the way she fought to stay with her mom, gathered at the Bridge to give her a much-deserved hero’s welcome.  Two of her predecessors, Patch and Peng, were with me to welcome her to her final forever home.  As Chewy crossed the Bridge, all the pain and illness were gone, and by the time she reached her siblings, she was back to being as energetic as five-year-old. 

    After a monsoon of tears fell created by the sorrow felt by friends and family, Chewy pledged to spend as much time in her mom’s dreams as a ghost, or a pretty flying creature,  to help her through the most difficult time of her life.  

    I am not betting against the girl who turned Cutecute into a synonym for kick ass. 


Friday, June 11, 2021

For Foley' Sisters: Visitors At Last


Last night, a very excited River dreamed of me so we could talk.  “You won’t believe what happened!” she yelled, bursting into my cottage and tracking in dream mud.  When I asked what, she informed me that she and Pocket had finally had visitors after more than a year. 

    At first, we dogs thought the pandemic was awesome.  Our parents were home all the time, and the shelters were being cleared out.  But then parents started to get extremely sick, and some went to the Bridge.  We had to go into the vets and groomers alone.  This pandemic was not going to be as pleasurable as we thought.

    My parents, as is true with all dog lovers, don’t like people.  There are only a few they allow to cross their threshold.  The most frequent visitors are Mommy’s brother and his wife and her daughter and granddaughter.  While the pandemic was raging, the daughter and grandaughter visits were limited.  Mommy’s brother did not visit at all.  For two dogs like my sisters, who thrive on smells and attention, it was a long, dark year.

    When you are home with just your parents, the routine of life becomes absolute.  You know what day it is when the groceries are done, when the linen is changed, when the bathrooms are scrubbed, when the parents get take out, and when soup day is.  In our house, the soup is made on Friday.  

    On Friday, for the first time in 14 months, there was no soup made on Friday.  At first, my sisters wondered if they had slept through Friday, and it was Saturday, but that was foolish.  River would never sleep through dinner.  Then the dog dinner dishes were brought out, and supper for my sister was prepared.

    Pocket was smart enough to know something was happening.  It was either awful:  our parents going out, or exceptionally good:  someone coming over.  She couldn’t discuss this with River, who was, as always, obsessed with food.

    Then Daddy arrived with five pizza boxes, which is a lot, even for the pizzaholics I lived with.  That is when the girls realized the long guest embargo was over.  Of course, that made my two undisciplined sisters want to pee, and while they were out, the guests entered without the pleasure of two crazy dogs sniffing them like they are old cheese in the back of the refrigerator.

    River and Pocket were four houses down the street when they witnessed the guests’ arrival.  They pulled Daddy back to the house like he was a Trump brother dragging an endangered species for a photo-op.  The guests were already seated, but that did not prevent lots of sniffing and licking.  It worked out better for the pups since they are small dogs, and this is the closest to the guests’ butt they would get.  

    They ran around barking and sniffing.  They jumped up with their paws on the guests’ legs.  They barked in joy.  They did the spin around, and then, after five minutes, they lay down and were hoping these two people went away so they could get a lap.  

    Dogs love the beginning and end of visits; the middle is long and tedious.

    Now the pandemic is close to being over, and lots of people with strange smells will be allowed back into the house.

    This is one of the rare times I envy my sisters.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Lost Pet Cemetary by Foley Monster



I blame Stephen King.  Once, there were pet cemeteries throughout the land.  People would visit them each weekend to mourn their pets and remember the good times they shared.  Then, Stephen King wrote a scary book, and pet cemeteries became haunted places no one wants to visit.

    The pet cemeteries still exist, but they are overgrown and hidden as if that would keep us from rising and attacking as dog zombies.

The Chobham Pet Cemetery is in Chobham, Surrey, yet none of the residents knew it exists.   

    It was found by a man named Frances, who built a home in a newly cleared out area, and, when he walked in the woods behind his house, came to a clearing and stumbled on the cemetery.  

    There were a half-dozen headstones, in two neat lines, evenly spaced, with the bottom of the monuments covered with twigs, sticks, and leaves.  Frances dropped to his knees, cleared the brush, saw, carved into headstones, the names of pets, and the dates they walked on the mortal side. 

    The cemetery stirred several emotions in those who saw it.  The people who had created the memorials loved their dogs and wanted their memories to live through eternity, just as their ancestors had.  It was touching to see evidence of their devotion and sad to witness how the site failed to create a permanent memorial, as people, and time, forgot the cemetery.

    Francis thought that the first headstone was for Moffat Treasure:  A Great Friend until, upon further study, he realized it represented two dogs, one named Great Friend.  The two dogs passed on the same day.  The simple epitaph was:  “They brought me real joy and happiness.”

    I sought out Moffat and found him in Happily Ever After.  Moffat told me that he stopped a runaway horse with a cart attached on a busy London street in 1930, which would have caused several casualties.  The Tailwaggers Club awarded Moffat the Brave Collar award, which he still proudly wears his gold collar.  Great Friend also received the reward.  They both had TW on their headstones standing for Tailwaggers Club.

`    I got to meet Mr. A. Jinks, the dogs’ dad who had erected the headstones, and, while he did not want to discuss the sad day both his pups went to the Bridge, he assured me both his dogs were true heroes and his years with them was the best of his life. 

    When I flew down to the cemetery, I saw a memorial stone dedicated to the eight Airedales of the pet cemetery’s owners: Peter, Sasha, Rover, Joy, Tony, Jock, Luckie, and Prince. The mom and dad, Millicent May Baxter, and her husband, Colonel R. H. R. Baxter – had their ashes buried at the site.    Someone broke their stone but, even on the ground, I could still read it.  I found them all at Happily Ever After too.  They were very excited the memorials were being cared for again; we would remember their pups. 

    Joy whispered to me that her dad was enlisted to the Indian Army Reserve of Officers and continued his military career through World War I.  He moved from India to England after the war.  He became an executive with a car company.  Growing up on the subcontinent, he was taught a love of animals that never left him.

    Soon after being discovered, a committee was formed to restore the cemetery.  Today it is back to its former glory and gets visitors who want to experience a little bit of history and feel the love between the owners and their pets.

    So take that, Stephen King.   

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Monday, June 7, 2021

Monday Question


"When you have those funny dreams where you kick and bark in your sleep, what are you dreaming of?"

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Of Pokemon, a Boy, a Dog, and the Goodness of People: A Post Pandemic Blog by Foley Monster

Once again, my faith in humanity has been restored, and this time it is thanks to a young boy who loves Pokemon and his puppy.

    The boy’s name is Bryson Kliemann, and he lives in Virginia.  His best friend is his dog named Bruce.  One day, his mother, Kimberly Woodruff, noticed that Bruce was lethargic.  She took him to the vet and was given horrible news.  Bruce had Parvo.  The family did not have money to pay for his surgery, so Bryson took matters into his own tiny hands and decided to sell the only other thing he loved, his Pokemon cards.

Bruce is a special needs child who has trouble creating relationships.  He has a brother and sister, but they are older and play with one another.  His mother got him Bruce for companionship, and they bonded immediately.   It seemed like a cruel trick that the Dementors were coming to take Bruce to the Bridge months after they first met. 

    He made a “Pokemon cards for sale” sign, dragged a table out of the garage, put it near the sidewalk, and sat down, ready to do business.  

    There were a few problems with Bryson’s business model.  He had no understanding of how much his collectible cards were worth, and since the value of the cards varied greatly, the young boy was susceptible to getting swindled out of his valuable possessions.

I  received Bruce’s prayers.  He wanted to stay with Bryson but could barely stand.  He was living in a cage at the vet’s and missed his friend terribly.  He asked me to help keep him from the Bridge.  I was good at saving lost dogs, but I could not cure his illness.   I had to somehow help Bryson raise the money.

Because he is special needs, Bryson also has special abilities, including seeing what others cannot, like angels.  I told him to trust me.  He was to stop selling his cards, he had already made $65.00, and I would take care of the rest.

When his mom took a picture of him at the table with his cards before him, I told her, in a daydream, to put the image on Facebook, and share it with friends and groups.  I didn’t have to take any other action.   Kind people saw it, and it touched their hearts, which is directly connected to their pocketbooks.  They began a Go-Fund-Me page and raised twice as much as required.

Bruce had his surgery and was back home with his family, which gave the story the happy ending I sought, but there was another fortunate byproduct I had not anticipated.   

Executives at Nintendo saw the post, and they sent Bryson rare and valuable Pokemon cards to add to his collection.  Bryson’s act of selflessness not only saved his dog but lead to being given a valuable reward.

    Hopefully, more people will follow Bryson’s example and be willing to give up something they find valuable to save something they love.

    The world would be a better place if they did.


Saturday, June 5, 2021

The Misunderstood Bear


When I saw the video of a bear climbing a wall, reaching over, then trying to snatch a Yorkie from a porch, only to be thwarted by a teenage girl, who ripped the tiny dog from the bear’s clutches and pushed the intruder off the patio.  I figured I would get a pray request from the nervous dog or the courageous girl, but instead, the bear is the one who reached out to me for guidance and miracles. 

I was not thrilled to visit a bear, even as an angel.  They are wholly unpredictable and are prone to violence.  But, for some stupid reason, I took an oath.  It was my duty to try to assuage what was bothering the bear.  

I found him sitting in the woods.  He looked distraught, and I felt terrible for him.  I asked him how I could help.

“I am very sorry for scaring the little dog and the girl.  I am just lonely and have long dreamt of having a dog of my own.  I guess it is never going to happen.”

    Yeesh!  I liked bears better when they are violent.  I told him I was sure that forest animals would love to be a pet to a bear.  “No, I have tried,” he responded.  The foxes are too rough, and the squirrels to soft.  Dogs are just right.”

“But dogs aren’t used to living in a forest,” I told him.  “We are more pampered house dogs.  How about a coyote?”
    “I tried one.   I woke up, and one was gnawing on my leg.  They are horrible pets.”  I could understand that.  But the problem remained:  What dog would want to live with a bear in the woods?  Then I realized the answer a dog who didn’t have anything to lose.

I checked my I-Paw and found a kill shelter within a half-mile.  I told the bear I would be back.  I flew to it and found a very distraught dog due to being scheduled to be put down the following day.  I told him I could give him more time in the mortal world.  All he had to do was wait until he saw the bear and then run for it.  The dog, named Sam, was confused, but I told him all would be clear.

I went back to the bear and told him to follow me.  Since humans can not see me, it looked like a wild bear had come down from the woods and stormed the streets.

I knew the police would be coming with their deadly bullets, so we could not dally.  We went straight to the shelter.  The bear stood on his back legs and roared.  Sam was out of the cage, walking the green mile to his final journey when he saw the bear he, broke away.

Together they ran like reindeers down the streets, behind buildings, where they disappeared into the woods.  When they stopped running, the bear introduced himself as Sam and asked Dave if he would be his pet.  Sam had never had an owner who loved him before, so he happily agreed.  

I think Sam and Dave will be happy together.  Before sending a dog to the Bridge, I wish more people to seek out the bear classifieds to see if one wants a dog.  It would save shelter dogs and those at homes because lonely bears will no longer be looking to snatch dogs from yards.

Once again, I think I’ve done it.


Thursday, June 3, 2021

Foley Reports on Pocket's CBD Experiences


Thirteen years ago, when I was first introduced to my sister Pocket, after three dogs in four years joined our family then inexplicably went to the Bridge at a young age (something that made people wonder if it was my doing because I wanted my parents to myself and was certainly something I was capable of) I was sure trembly little Pocket with the leaky bladder, and lousy digestion would quickly join them. 

Remarkably Pocket has had a longer mortal life span than I did, although she has spent a quarter of that time trembling. 

As with all of us, Pocket’s physical and psychological issues have been exacerbated as she enters her super senior years.  Recently, while at the groomer, Pocket shrieked whenever the electric trimmer came near her.  Our long-time groomer suggested some anxiety medication for Pocket and lots of wine for herself.  While my parents were discussing what to do, I paid Pocket a dream visit and asked her why she was so nervous.  

“I can’t see or hear, as well as I used to,” she answered.  “I don’t know what the groomer is doing with the trimmer.  She is the one who flew to Florida to bring River to Massachusetts, and they could be in league together in a plot to kill me.”  It certainly was plausible.  

I had a better idea than medication.  During a dream visit, I suggested CBD oil.  The next day I found the perfect apothecary a few towns over operated by two woke Willie Wonkas who recommended a specially made oil for Pocket, along with treats.  I suggested River get some, too, as she can quickly go from interested tourist to MAGA supporter in the Capitol rotunda.   That day a helicopter drop of CBD would have changed an insurrection to a bunch of people saying:  “Whatever man, don’t matter who the president is, let’s go to Aunt Annie’s for a pretzel.” 

I left Pocket alone for a week.  When I floated down to see her, she was curled up in her chair on a red blanket.  I had to say her name twice to get her attention.  She looked up, smiled, and said, “Hey, Foley,” then put her head down.

I asked her if the CBD oil was working.  “Dude, I don’t think so.  I really can’t tell because I have been sleeping 22 hours a day. Outside of that, my motto is,  you got to keep on living.  L I V I N.”  

I asked her how River was doing.  “Nothing affects her. She can fall asleep in a poppy field that caught on fire, and she wouldn’t change.”  At least Pocket’s CBD oil made her wiser.  I have noticed that River’s need to attack Pocket when startled from a sound sleep is lessening either because the oil is working on her or Pocket’s calmer demeanor is not threatening.

Pocket stood and stretched.  “The old bones are feeling better,” she said.  “Do you have a drop of oil?”  I told her I didn’t.  “It would be a lot cooler if you did,” Pocket said.  “My buzz is getting harshed.  Gotta hit mom up for a drop at supper.  I might have to look out the window and bark at nothing hysterically.  The man always falls for that.”

I don’t know if the oil will lessen Pocket’s fear at the groomer, but with her new attitude, maybe you should just let her hair grow out, become a beatnik, and you can all move to a commune.  

And keep on L I V I N.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Sunday, May 30, 2021




Every village at the Bridge has a school. It is attended by pre-born puppies who need to learn what scientists call “instinct.” A group of the most learned dog professors teaches the pre-borns, led by Dean Apollo. Angels can train for as long as they want, and recently three of Apollo’s most tenured professors resigned. He needed someone he trusted and was an educator on the mortal side. There was only one dog. But, it would break their mother’s heart.

      She is a beautiful, rescuing soul who has taken in and found homes for countless pups. Napa and Bishop run a school for dogs who know nothing about inside house life or being a pet, and within weeks, they are calm, sweet, house-trained, and most of all adoptable.
      With nowhere else to turn and the threat of dogs being born without instincts soon to be realized, Apollo flew down and told Napa that he was being drafted to the Bridge to teach at the school. Napa told his beloved brother that he never turned down a mission, but he could not leave his mom’s school or her, plus he felt fine, even at an advanced age. Apollo sagely told his brother to get ready. Twenty-four later, Napa suddenly went to the Bridge.
      I have seen angels cross the River of Life, showing numerous emotions, but Napa was the first to cross pissed off. He marched right up the steps, looked in Apollo’s eyes, and growled at him: “Send me back!”.
      As a Judge, I tried stepping in and explaining to Napa that I was very sorry, but he could not go back. When I saw a glimpse of a fang and the cold look in his eyes, I decided to back off and let it be arranged between the brothers.
      Apollo asked Napa to visit the school, and if he didn’t think it was worth giving up his mortal life and going to the Bridge to teach, Apollo would build Napa a perfect house and not bother him. Napa knew he could not go back, so this was the best offer he could get.
     Napa entered the class and told the preborns to pay attention. He asked them what to do when they saw a squirrel and a young cocker spaniel said they run to their mom and hide. Then he wondered what to do if their mom forgets to give them a treat after doing their business outside, and one answered that you just lay down and be good.
      Napa shook his head and left the classroom. He asked his brother if he had put stupid puppies in his class on purpose and was told they were average. “The future of our species is at risk,” Apollo told him. “Dogs born without instinct will perish. Napa hated to admit that his brother was right, but Napa was needed. He said Apollo he would begin in the morning.
      Apollo said he would go into his mom’s dreams and beg her forgiveness for taking her beloved boy, but Napa was needed more at the Bridge, and that Bishop, and his kin, would take care of her and run the school. Napa told him their mom already knew why he was at the Bridge. Only the future of the species could take him away.
      Thanks to Mama Kimberli’s big heart and wise teaching of her pups, dogs will soon be born more intelligent than ever.


Friday, May 28, 2021

A Yorkie Reunion at the Bridge.


I belong to the most exclusive group at Rainbow Bridge:  The Yorkie angel club. When we add a new member, it is bittersweet.  The more Yorkies, the merrier, but it also means a parent has lost a beloved dog.

    The biggest pack we have in our club is the M&M kids.  They are a threesome composed of Mail-Bear, Meeka, and Missy-Diva.  This week we were joined by their brother Monty.  

    Monty was the last mortal member of the M&M pack.  He was his mom’s constant, helping her through the tragedies of losing three other Yorkies, as well as the passing of her husband.  Monty borrowed and begged for heartbeats and refused to show any sign of illness, but it is impossible to hide things from a mom, who knews her little one’s quality of life was suffering.  Monty’s mom let him join his siblings and dad.  

    Dogs hate leaving their parents but are delighted to be reunited with one they lost.  When he crossed the Bridge I had a difficult time getting Monty to concentrate on the angel oath because when he saw his siblings standing at their Dad’s feet, he scampered up the steps ran to them, barking, spinning around, jumping, and giving his dad 1,000 kisses.  

    I tried to corral Monty and get him to concentrate, but I understood his excitement because that is a Yorkie’s default setting, and his equally elated siblings did not help.  It was his dad who calmed Monty and instructed him to take the oath.

    When the M&M pack visits their mom, their dad accompanies them, and while she is dealing with her latest tragedy, her dad told the pack they needed to see her more often.  They knew that her mind would not remember the visits, but her soul would.

    Monty’s dad also goes to the Yorkie club meetings, which is welcomed by all of us because a Yorkie’s favorite activity is to snuggle with a human, and Monty’s dad offers his lap to every dog.  At first, I thought it was a sacrifice, but then I saw the smile on his face, and I knew he loves it as much as we do.

    He is not the only parent in our club, but he is the best at throwing the ball for us.  He never fake throws, which is good because it is one of the worst acts of trickery a human can do and would make him an instant minion.

    We are also trying to help Monty with his transition to the Bridge.  It is easier when you have a parent with you, but he still misses his mom, and their life together.  One of the best parts of the Yorkie club is when we share stories about our parents, and no one has more stories than Monty’s pack.

    I hope his mom knows that Monty is with his family, and is getting better every day.  He no longer has any of the pain or sickness that plagued him the last days of his mortal life.  

    But, there is not a minute that passes when the pack, and their dad, don’t think of their mom.  

    We hope she can feel the love pouring across the Bridge.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Foley's Faith in the Human Race is Restored


I am distraught about the dogs being returned as people go back to work after the pandemic.  When COVID began, and humans emptied the shelters, I thought the dogs found their forever home.  Unfortunately, humans lived down to my expectations.  The dogs would stay loyal to their parents even if they were gone most of the day, but the parents did not return the love.  To buoy my spirits, I searched for a story that would show dogs are always loyal and that humans are worthy of us.  I found one in Palm Coast, Florida. 

    The story begins in the saddest possible circumstances.  Dan, an Army veteran, lost his home and spent his day panhandling at exit 289 with his dog Belle, who sat in a wagon.  Dan held a sign saying he was a veteran and wearing an army cap. 

    I was very proud that Belle stayed with her dad despite losing their home.  Dogs never abandon their parents. I wish I could say the same of the latter.  

That is when they drew the attention of a man named August. A fellow veteran, he saw Dan and Belle panhandling on the side of the road. He had seen dozens of people begging on the street, but this man in the veteran hat with the dog touched his heart. He parked his car and offered the man and his dog food and water.    

The two veterans fell into an easy conversation, as ex-military members do. They can say more in between sentences than others do with a thousand words. Dan explained that rain was in the forecast, and he hoped to get a room for the night. 

Dan was forthcoming about his situation. His drinking has to lead to his wife leaving him, which spurred an ongoing bout of depression. Dan stopped being productive and sank to the lowest rung of society. Belle stayed with him, going from the warm house to sleeping on a grate when it snowed. Like all dogs, as long as she was with her dad, she was happy. 

When August got home, he went on a neighborhood social media app to share his experience. Dozens of people responded that they wanted to help. 

Another veteran, who was more social network savvy than August, read about Dan and began a Go Fund me page. When Dan learned that people were raising money to help him and Belle get home, he was overwhelmed. Who knew the kindness of one person could change another’s life?

Because Dan is homeless, he relies on meetings with August to keep him informed of the fundraising efforts. Dan will soon have enough money to secure housing. The kindness of his community has inspired him to find work in his chosen field of air conditioning repair. There should be no shortage of jobs this summer. The only requirement Dan has of a new home is that dogs be allowed. After all this, he is not turning his back on the only soul who accompanied him on his journey to rock bottom. 

I flew down to thank Belle for being part of a story that restored my faith in humanity while proving our loyalty. Belle had no idea why she was being thanked. Dan was her dad, no matter what they were doing or where they were. 

If only more humans felt the same.