Homeless with Dog, Man Refuses Shelter

“I’ve had her since she was a pup and I figure she probably has another six years or so to live,” says David. “I’ll live on the street for as long as I need, if that’s what it takes to keep Hope safe.”

Update (6-07-12)  Please see a message from Dan Page at the end of this article. Thank you for supporting this worthy cause.

“David” lost his job after a devastating back injury.  With no money to pay rent, he was forced to live on the street, surviving on donations. Living outside in the bone-chilling Colorado winter, David has seriously considered spending nights at the local shelter for the homeless.  The only thing that stops him from taking that step is his love for his six-year old German Shepherd.  The shelter cannot accommodate pets.

“Being homeless with a dog isn’t easy,” explains David.  All I have to do to get a roof over my head is give up Hope (“Hope” is the name of his dog).  But she depends on me.  I’ve had her since she was a pup and I figure she probably has another six years or so to live.  I’ll live on the street for as long as I need, if that’s what it takes to keep Hope safe.”

The Boulder County Humane Society provides David with food for Hope, in an effort to keep her in his care.  They even took care of her for a few days this winter, when David became stricken with pneumonia.

“I’m very willing to work,” states David.   “I just need to be able to take Hope with me to the job site, since I have nowhere to leave her.  Most people aren’t willing to let me do that.”

Dan Page first met David and his dog on a cold winter evening in February. The owner of Skill Highway, the business consultant is an ardent dog lover, and says he was so moved by one man’s dedication to his dog that the story needed to be shared.

Giving up Hope

On February 11th, it was 14 degrees above zero, and I decided to go for a bike ride in the snow.

It’s hard to explain why I like riding in the snow and cold.  Perhaps because the raw exposure to the elements makes me feel alive.  But it doesn’t matter, because that’s not what this story is about.

Three miles into my ride I stopped to adjust my face mask, attempting to cover a section of open skin (If you’re riding 15 mph on a bike, the wind chill is about zero degrees at that temperature). About a hundred yards or so up the trail, I noticed a fellow with his bike pulled over.  He was hauling a ragged trailer behind his bike, covered with a green tarp, tied down tight.  It looked as if he may be trying to repair a flat tire.

There was a dog, a shepherd mix, prancing around, playing with sticks and blocks of ice from the side of the trail.

I guessed this fellow was homeless, living out of his bike trailer. So I dug out my wallet, snagged five singles, and rode up to him, inquiring if he had a flat tire.

He answered cheerily that he did not, and he had just stopped to dig some food out for his dog. There was a can of tuna under his kickstand, holding his bike up, so it didn’t keel over from the weight of the trailer.  He had pulled out a few pans and a mug, which were laying on the trail beside the bike.

I asked him rather sheepishly if he could use a few bucks. He hesitated a moment, and said “Yes, I’ll buy some food for Hope”.  I handed him the cash and he thanked me.

Then he started to tell me his story, explaining the circumstances that led to living on the street, in the dead of winter. He had been working “fire mitigation” in Nederland, a small mountain town to the west.  In June of this year, he had injured his back pretty badly, ending up in the hospital.  He was unable to go back to work at his job, and could not find another that didn’t involve using his back.

So he lost his ability to pay rent, and ended up homeless.

In June, he had another spasm attack in his back, ending up in the hospital again.  Anyone who has a bad back knows that sometimes you can’t predict what is going to throw your back out.  It could be lifting that 80 lb. bag of concrete, or bending over to tie your shoes.

He scratched his dog lovingly, and explained that if he were to take his dog to the Humane Society and give her up, he’d be able to find a place to live immediately.  But in his situation, he can’t find anyone who will accept pets.  And he is “Not Going to Give up Hope”.

Then I got it. Hope was the name of his Dog.

He went on to explain that Hope was six years old, and he’d had her since she was a pup.  He described how the Humane Society here in Boulder gives him food for Hope, and he supplements it by buying her tuna (that explained the can of tuna under his kickstand).

He figures he probably has another six years or so with her before she dies, and he’s willing to spend it living on the streets, with his bike and his trailer, if it means keeping Hope safe.

I was speechless, never having witnessed such devotion between a man and his dog.  This man was well spoken and articulate.  Life had thrown him a few curveballs, but he kept standing back up. And he loves his dog.

He wasn’t asking for charity.  I just happened to stop and offer it.  My reward was a lesson on love of animals, and the kindness of human spirit.

We went on chatting for another twenty minutes or so, on the side of the trail in the snow and cold, like old buddies hanging out together.  He told me of other spasm attacks he had recently with his back, ending up on the ground for several hours at a time, unable to move, with Hope licking his face. I asked where he spent his nights and he answered that he keeps moving, so he won’t get a ticket. (Boulder just recently enacted a new law after the “Occupy” event on the courthouse lawn, outlawing sleeping in the parks).

At a certain point in every conversation there comes a time when it is over.  Both of us sensed that moment, and he stated that he knew I had other things to do besides standing on the trail talking with him.  He asked me what my first name was, and stretched out his hand.

I answered “Dan”.  He shook my hand and introduced himself with his full name. Then he added “Today is my 50th birthday.  I really appreciate the five bucks you gave me, and Hope will enjoy it too.  But mostly, I appreciate you just taking the time to talk with me.  I don’t have many friends.  I spend all my time with Hope.”

Choking back my emotions, I thanked him for talking with me as well, mumbling something about how much it meant to me.  And continued on my ride. As I rode on through the cold and snow, I couldn’t get this chance encounter out of my mind.  In thirty minutes, this gentleman had given me a raw lesson on life and love.  On the side of a trail in the snow.

My destination for this wintery ride was the grocery store, picking up some dinner for my family.  I found myself in the canned food aisle, buying tuna, hoping to find Hope on the ride home.

I took the same route home, searching for this man and his dog.  I rode around the area for awhile, poking my head under bridges and other places where I would camp on a snowy night if I had a dog and wanted to avoid getting ticketed.

But he was nowhere to be found.

I look for him on my daily rides, with a stack of tuna cans in my backpack, searching for Hope. Maybe we’ll meet again.  I guess it doesn’t really matter though. This man and his dog had a profound impact on me, reinforcing my faith in human nature and my desire to do some bit of good in the world, however I can.

-Update Continued-

Hi Neil,

Hope all is well. Just wanted to give you an update on David and Hope, since so many people had asked for one.

First of all…I am so impressed with the outpouring of support. I’ll admit that this has taken on a life of it’s own, and it has been a lot of extra work! I finally caught up with David and Hope yesterday evening.

People have been asking for photos, so I brought my camera. Attached is a photo of Hope and David together. I talked for quite a while with David and he is totally overwhelmed and humbled by the incredible generosity of your subscribers. Please thank them all of them, from David.

He wants to be very smart about how to use the funds that your members have sent his direction. He thinks (and I agree) that the smartest thing for him to do is to do his best to find work, knowing that once he finds a job that can support him, we can use some of the funds to find a dog-sitter for Hope during the day. If he spent it all on an apartment right now (even if he could find one), there would be nothing left, and if he couldn’t make his 2nd month’s rent, he’d be back out on the street.

Since it is summer now (and easier to sleep outside), he thinks he might be able to save up some money over the summer, and add it to the funds that have been donated. That way, he would hopefully have enough for 1st and last month’s rent, plus a deposit, and income to pay the rent going forward.

His plan is to try and find a place by this fall, before the weather starts to turn cold, but take advantage of the warm weather right now, and continue stay right where he is. One of your members has offered to take Hope into a local vet for a checkup, which I think he will take her up on.

I hope these updates have been helpful.

Warm regards,

Dan Page

NOTE: Due to popular demand, a second Chipin widget has been added. Please give freely…

310 thoughts on “Homeless with Dog, Man Refuses Shelter

      1. I too have just became homeless with my 13year old daughter and are service dog is bring held by a person how she toldus they would b care for owner dog lady because we are now homeless my daug. hter Kendr a and I are very up set lady is s very sweet dog and helpedd us feel safe we love her so much and need her back !! We are not giving up till we have lady back please pray for her from canyon country ca God bliss every person animal

    1. Ha.. this guy has a friend.. the best one you can have.. a friend that will never stab you in the back

  1. a rare find this man. people far to often either put their animals down, leave them behind or give them away when things go tough. we need to stick by them like they stick by us.

  2. ya can’t do nothing anymore and this just proves it and this shouldn’t be happening and yes all shelters should allow you to bring in your dog

  3. What a very heart warming and moving story!! Most people will never understand that this man is richer than anyone living in a mansion on the beach!!!

  4. Oh how I wish I lived in the area..A job I could not offer, but a place to live with Hope I could & would instantly!
    I do hope someone reads this finds him & can help!

    1. Hi my name is tonie hamilton and my dog buddy are homeless and need a home or we will be living on the streets soon can anyone help us get a home we are not bad we are only homeless he a good dog and i can.t live without him in my life we been together for 5 years please help us ,i don’t have a number but u can call my sister to help us at 770-6o8-9607 please help a homeless man and dog thank you and God Bless you

  5. Shane someone doesn’t have a camper or small trailer – with some job training he could do office work and possibly bring his dog to work with him…..everyone deserves a chance….yes, even Hope deserves better

    1. I have a camper here in Texas that my brother lived in. He passed in January. He and his dog are both welcome to live here and help around the place!!

  6. An amazing story. I can’t think of any reason I’d leave my dogs either. I know how this man feels about Hope. Him living out in the elements is a true statement of how much he loves her! <3

  7. Now it’s so nice to see the “Loyalty” coming from the human to the dog. It’s usually the other way around. I would do this myself. Saying lots of prayers for this man and his companion. <3

  8. Truly beautiful story, if it came between me, a home, and my golden, it would be the exact same scenario. I love my dogs, past and present, and would give anything to be around them and keep them happy.

  9. thats me right now with 3 dogs and 6 cats living in a non running rv in a driveway until I am made to leave. This economy is making it impossible to find an affordable place to live

  10. I would do the same thing. I saw a homeless man in NYC over the weekend with a german shepherd. My heart sank.

  11. I, too, have been homeless during the winter because of my fur-babies before. Only difference was, I was pregnant && had my van to sleep in.

    I currently live with my parents && they repeatedly tell me if Id get rid of my dogs I could find a home in no time.. I know that, but thats like getting rid of my kids.

    I love the fact that Im not the only one with that kind of devotion to my pets.. because to me, mine are more than pets; theyre family.

  12. What an amazing story. Just goes to show you not everyone is evil in the world, there is a lot of good. I wish the best for this man and his dog. I hope someone in the area reads this and offers this man a good paying job. People with this kind of compasion and loyality deserve better in this world. God Bless him and HOPE.

  13. i sure hoope there is some organization or church or any person who might step to help this man the dog is a part of his life and people need to get over their pheobes and help people with animals

  14. <3 May god proctect him and his dog <3 we need more more more human like him <3<3<3 love from India and blessing

  15. I don’t blame him one bit. I was nearly homeless back in 2009 and I said the same thing. I was fully prepared to live on the streets if my only other option was to give up my dog.

  16. That is sooo sad:( And all because stuffy landlords won’t let people bring their dogs to appartment. That sucks!! I thought the US and Canada were free countries. What a loving pet owner this man is<3

  17. all for the love of hope, i so understand, i’ll pray for him, and all those like him, as i know there are many

  18. this is love. and it’s crazy to think some people are so quick to give up their dogs just to rent a certain apartment….. talk about sacrifice for loved ones, this guy is a gem.

  19. I will be out there this summer and I will look for him and if I find him I will let him know there are people that want to help.

  20. That’s true love I guess. I wish them all the best and somebody on their side to give them a chance. I’ve never been in this situation but I would act the same way!

  21. Lord willing someone will read this story and will be there for you through this. Animals deserve to be loved too!

  22. Same here 🙂 although I have 3 dogs and 2 of them fight together because there both girls but I had 1 but not from a puppy so shes hates other dogs (apart from my male) but my other girl dog i had from a pup is ok … Just shows… but This man clearly loves his dog more than him self sad not all people think the same :'( <3 <3 !!!!!!!

  23. I would gladly make room for both of them here in Michigan – is there any other way that I can help? I could never give my dog up!!

  24. This shouldn’t even have to happen its just disgraceful. I bet Hope is more well behaved than some kids and adults. I could never give up my pet whatever it may be its part of my family, its part of me. I wish him all the luck and that everything works out for both of them. <3

  25. I posted on the 9NEWS fb and also Boulder County fb. Hopefully he gets some exposure there. David and Hope could use some true compassion and some angels by their side. Its horrible to think of the winter they just went through. I Hope its the very last one they will ever have to spend outdoors.

    1. Smart move! Surely someone will read this and actually be able to help. Would you please keep us posted? You are an angel on earth! God Bless

  26. Beautiful story and the offers are just as generous. I wonder though… how old is this story? It hasn’t snowed here in Colorado for some time…at least not in the Boulder area. Has there been any updates? Anyone know his current whereabouts?

    1. DAn,mention that it was February.. Hope there is a helping hand in there to help him. 🙁 May the God provide and reward his good heaRT.

  27. Now THIS is what I’m talking about. It’s so damn easy to say “oh, I love my dog so much but now I have a baby” (substitute I’m moving, doesn’t fit my lifestyle, and any other lame excuse ). When you take an animal into your life, you are responsible for it the rest of ITS life. If you’re just tossing it aside like yesterday’s trash because it’s more convenient for you, then say so and admit it. And SHAME ON YOU.

  28. Talk about love and loyalty (on both sides). Like this wonderful man, I could never give my dog up. I pray that he finds a job and a safe place for him and Hope.

  29. Isn’t there any chance he could live at an animal rescue with his dog at least and he could do his share of living there by helping the animals?

    1. Meagan, there is Chip already in below of this story, you can send a donation 🙂 Hugs and God bless, from Finland :-*

  30. This is happening all over the country. San francisco shelters are bulging because those who lost their homes are forced to rent.

  31. I know how he feels, I would not give up my dogs either.. If he lived near me I would give him a place to stay until he got back on his feet.

  32. This brought tears to my eyes, so much love and loyalty between them, praying they both find somewhere safe and warm to live/stay x

  33. Shelters need to also take someones pet it may be all they have left in the world. I’d do the same my dogs are family to me.
    You would think though that a rescue group could help out, finding a temp home for hope in order for this man to find shelter, a job and a new place for both of them.

  34. I don’t blame David, I would do the same thing. I have had my baby since she was 4 weeks old and she will be 13 on November 27, 2012.

  35. Organizations moan that shelters are full cause people abanndon there dogs, then u have the person who wont give up there dog and has to give up a home instead! Why cant council’s and other housing places just acceept that pepole have and love there animals! they are quick to moan when people abanndom them!!! Shocking

  36. He may not have a home but at least he has a heart. I commend you for loving your dog that damn much. Wish people could love others and their dogs as much as this man loves his Hope. What an apt name for that girl! I wish them all the best.

    1. My name is barry scott..Me and my dog live in lexington,ky area..I have alittle poodle name Little biscuit..he is 10 years old and with a situation that came up last summer out of our hands we became homeless..That is why the story about hope and his owner touched me because we are homeless now sleeping in my truck which is up for been repossed don’t know what to do..My love for this baby of mine and don’t want to lose him at all it would kill me…we get real cold of night that,i give up everything in order to comfort himm….Sorry that,I don’t have any pictures of me and him.wejust need some help…. ha ve an

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