Homeless Man Cares for Stray Dogs, Creates Family
It is unfortunate to not have a place to call home, for dogs or for humans. One homeless man named Steve decided to give stray dogs a traveling home so they could feel like they belong somewhere.
According to The Dodo, Steve became a homeless man in 2001. Despite having very little money to take care of himself, he decided to take care of others, mainly those with four legs. He picked up stray dogs wherever he traveled, caring for them as best he could and giving them as much love as the dogs allowed. Thanks to Steve's tender love and care, the lives of these dogs have changed for the better.
Creating a family
Between 2001 and 2015, Steve admitted to the news source that he has cared for more than 50 stray dogs. To carry the dogs and himself, Steve assembled a cart attached to a bike that he rides around, sometimes going several miles before stopping. While many people might think that pulling the weight of several dogs might be enough for Steve to leave them at a shelter, he did not want to be without his faithful canine companions. One time he even traveled from California to Indiana with all of his dogs in tow, traveling over 2,000 miles.
He was on the move when mother and daughter, Mickey and Alicia Erdington, took notice and wanted to help. She was with her mom, Mickey, who knew they had to do something. So, Mickey called a local hotel and collected money to book it for one night to let the dogs and Steve have a good night's rest.
Steve's story was popular enough that a woman from an organization called the Street Outreach Animal Response Initiative decided to visit the group at the hotel. She tweeted about the experience and shared a lot of pictures on the organization's Facebook page, hoping to generate a response and get people interested in helping donate to the dogs.
Lending a hand
Word spread fast. A woman named Kerry from the West Memphis Animal Shelter in Tennessee decided to help the dogs by donating 100 pounds of dog food. Other good Samaritans decided to give the dogs toys, harnesses and leashes. Some even pulled money together to give Steve and the dogs a second night at the hotel.
By day three, Steve was ready to pack his bags and hit the road again with his dogs. However, another friendly woman named Kelley Seaton decided to lend a helping hand. From her place in Tennessee, she offered to come pick Steve and all the dogs up and bring them to Indiana. While there was not that much room for Steve and all the dogs, they made it work by cozying up together during the long ride. The ride was documented through Steve's Facebook page for the journey, simply known as "Steve's Strays united across the U.S.A." The page documented the single stop they took in Kentucky to let the dogs run around and get some fresh air.
By the time Steve and Kelly reached Indiana, the Erdington's had already established a GoFundMe account for the generous homeless man. Steve's story had reached so many people that the account already had raised $6,836 to put toward resources for Steve and the dogs. Another kind person decided to donate the traveling family a trailer so they could have a real place to call home. The Erdington's and others are hoping that people will contribute money to the fund to help buy a patch of land for the family.
While Steve's story has a happy ending, many other dogs and people are not as lucky. According to DoSomething.com, for every one homeless person there are five homeless animals in the U.S. About 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year because there is not enough room to house them in a shelter. Hopefully Steve's story will encourage more people to consider helping to support local rescues and shelters to reduce the homeless pet population.