Maybe you've seen them? A homeless man with his faithful canine companion stationed on the median trying to eke out a living from the kindness of others.  Whatever their reason for living on the streets, the man is entirely devoted to the dog and the feeling appears to be mutual.

The first time I came across this duo was during a Sunday morning run. As I was heading west behind Best Buy I saw a homeless man pushing an empty shopping cart out of the delivery bay. When I doubled back I saw him sharing peanut butter and jelly from a jar with a little, brown dog.  Out of concern I asked if there was any other food for the dog to which the man replied, “Nope, he eats what I eat.” Feeling sorry for the pup I asked him to wait while I went to Petco. He requested some samples as I ran off.

The day was heating up fast so I dashed into Starbucks first to get some water. The line was almost out the door so I courageously went up to the front to ask if I could go first to buy water for a homeless dog. As if by consensus the line parted like the Red Sea. With purchase in hand I thanked everyone who thanked me back and headed to Petco. The store manager was very understanding as I explained the plight of the dog. He went to the back to fill my request while I worried that the homeless man would not stick around.  When the manager returned with a bag of samples literally bulging at the seams I almost hugged him but settled instead for a heartfelt thank you.

By this time the weather was climbing into the 90s. I was struggling in the heat with my arms full of food and water only to find the pair nowhere in sight. By instinct I continued walking toward the trolley overpass and much to my relief they were there. The man seemed genuinely surprised to see me as I am sure he has been let down in the past. Accepting the bounty he thanked me as I bent down to pet the gentle dog thankful that there was enough food for about a week.

The next time I saw them was at the intersection of Jackson Drive & Center Street. I handed over a ten while reminding the man that I was the “samples” lady. Later that evening I decided that buying dog food instead of giving money would at least guarantee temporary nutrition for the pup. Next day with a huge bag of Science Diet and some treats by my side I drove to the intersection hoping that they would be there.  Eureka!  They were there and as an added bonus I caught the red light.  The man said, "No way" as I handed over the bags of food.  We exchanged first names then I asked the all-important question. Now I know to buy Mighty Dog, which just happens to be the little, brown dog’s favorite.

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Tags: La Mesa Today, La Mesa homeless, La Mesa news, La Mesa pets, dogs, pets

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Comment by Janie Garcia on October 26, 2012 at 8:08pm

Hello Kevin G George.  Your commentary is timely giving a great perspective to the other side of the coin.  Many people (including me) find it difficult to see homeless pets knowing that misery is part of their existence as you so respectfully noted.  Thank you for your sensitivity.  Also thank you to your wife for feeding the little Dobby.  It is a privilege to have your thoughts associated with my posting.   Best, Gemma

Comment by Kevin G George on October 26, 2012 at 10:40am

I love pets, but It always bothers me when I see homeless people with dogs and cats.

I understand there may be a need for companionship, but it is a very selfish act to to drag an innocent cat or dog into an already unfortunate situation.

Why would they take the awesome responsibility of owning a pet when they know that feeding it and caring for it will be a problem. The " he eats what I eat" mentality is not good for the dog. Or the medical needs of a pet, shots and so forth, let alone a health problem that may make the pet suffer only because his owner can't afford the vet.

City ordinance requires a dog to be licensed for a good reason, requiring shots and a method to track an animal if something happens. The licence form requires a permanent address so I am assuming none of these animals are licensed or inoculated.

Where are these dogs and cats relieving themselves? I see dog feces on the street all the time. Of course there are irresponsible dog owners who have homes but just let it lie,(disgusting) but the homeless person has even fewer options, and their contribution to this problem is more likely.

These poor pets lead their lives at the end of a leash on a street corner or under a bridge, again not a good thing for the pet.

All in all it is a bad situation for everyone. The pet is cheated and put at risk, and the general public must put up with the filth and possibility of being bitten by a dog with no hope for recourse. The only one that comes out unscathed is the selfish homeless person.

Call me suspicious but I think there is an ulterior motive.

It angers me, but I think there is a great possibility that the homeless may use these pets to garner sympathy from the public to increase their income. Especially when you you see the puppies and kittens. It's one thing for a homeless person to have an adult pet that has been with them for a while, but it is just too easy to pick up a puppy or kitten for this purpose.

My wife just had an episode similar to Gemma's. The cutest little miniature doberman ( I saw him later) that couldn't have been six months old in tow behind a homeless person begging at Vons. My wife bought an extra bag of dog food and gave it to him on the way out without a word. 

I think most of us have witnessed similar scenes. You just can't help the depressing thought of the dead end life these kittens and puppies are beginning. 

Sad, sad, sad.

Comment by Janie Garcia on October 23, 2012 at 9:08pm

Thank you, Ms. Park for the kind words.  Being a pet owner and an animal lover the welfare of the dog was first and foremost.  I hope that he is safe. 

Comment by Patti Park on October 23, 2012 at 3:59pm

Now these are the kind of pet articles I like to read.  Milk of human kindness.

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