Dog News

LA Homeless Man and His Dog Need Help Again

by Katherine

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On May 2013, we brought you the story of Charles Gilliam and his 11-year-old mixed retriever/terrier dog named Big. Gilliam and his dog were homeless and spend their days on the streets of Los Angeles surviving as best they knew how.

The pet owner became news sensation when he took to the streets, not to beg for money, but to ask people to help him save his pet. The concerned animal lover handed out business card to the veterinarian hospital where his best friend was being treated.

Charles Gilliam and his pet Big. Photo Credit: Jasmine Dustin
Charles Gilliam and his pet Big. Photo Credit: Jasmine Dustin

Gilliam believed his dog had an inoperable tumor. Luckily for them Jasmin Dustin from Cause4Paws, stepped in to help them, and it was discovered the pet suffered from stones in his urinary track and arthritis, both treatable illnesses.

After the community pulled together, enough funds were collected to cover all of Big’s medical cost. Cause4Paws provided a special food for the dog and the bonded pair even found a place to live.

Read our original story “Community Helps Homeless Man Save His Dog” to learn more.

Now a year later, Big needs our help again.

According to Dustin, Gilliam reached out to the organization asking for money to put down his four-legged friend. Big’s health has deteriorated and the pet has lost all function on his legs.

“He couldn’t carry him any longer,” said Dustin. “[Big] is on good health but he won’t pee because he can’t walk or get up. He won’t pee when he’s carried [and we’re] not sure what caused the legs to become paralyzed.”

Cause4Paws wants to get the dog to a specialist to see what is wrong with his legs. His bones will start to deteriorate if he isn’t able to exercise.

“[Gilliam] was going to put Big down but we gave him the idea of the wheelchair,” said Dustin. “He wasn’t aware that dogs could get wheelchairs, and if we raise the money we will get him into a specialist and see if something can be done.”

The cost to see a specialist is about $200, but the cost to treat the pet will be more than this. A used pet wheelchair was found on Craigslist for $400, but these devices are customized for individual pets, and getting a new wheelchair, specifically made for Big will be costly.

The animal organization has started a fund for the dog’s wheelchair. They hope that if the community came together about a year ago to help this bonded pair, they would come together again to help Big and allow him to enjoy the rest of his days.

If you are interested in donating towards Big’s wheelchair and medical costs, you can make an online donation at

Learn more about Cause4Paws, Los Angeles, on their website and Facebook page.