Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I SEE YOU...Wolf

In 2013 I came upon a Timber Wolf German Shepard on the outskirts of a park in the Valley. A homeless man had built a cardboard fortress with shopping carts, drop cloths and quilted moving blankets as a barrier from the outside world he found himself living in. Rustling in the dried leaves was a massive Shepard, who was clocking my every move from 50 yards away, a silver water bowl at his side. I walked past him gingerly with my diminutive Poodle, Sunday, who pranced as if he were a Budweiser Clydesdale.

I attempted to inconspicuously zone in on the dog without appearing aggressive avoiding my eyes locking with his. I was concerned if he was attached to a leash. My presence made him cagey enough to bring him to his feet and approach. I yelled out, "Is your dog on a leash?" In unison a cement block began to fishtail as he effortlessly dragged it across the grass as if it were made of Styrofoam. A bearded man leapt up and crawled out of his makeshift den jaunting over to quell my fears, "That's Wolf. He's harmless he's just curious," while looking back with a command to stay.

Not sure why this man was homeless, or for how long, but I sympathized for his plight, and felt compassion for his dog who didn't know he was homeless...he was just living the life given to him by his master. I'm certain it's stressful for any dog to be standing at attention, and to be on guard perpetually, while living exposed on the worlds stage.  

It saddened me to think this dog may have never known the warmth and comfort of a home, the glory of a romp through the fields, a steak bone in front of a fire, a soft bed of cotton, children fawning over him, a cool swim in the ocean with the waves clipping behind him, a howl to the moon, or be bathed and groomed and be the magnificent creature he is. Ever powerful and proud.

Over the years I dropped off treats for Wolf and food for Jonathan....and then one day found them camped on the grassy knoll by my apartment building. "The cops kicked us out of the park." Jonathan informed. Wolf lay on the damp winter soil, a sliver of sun etched out a section of his tired face. "Thousands of people see him everyday and think he's vicious...he's far from that," Jonathan remarked lowering his hand to swipe it across Wolf's head.

Their reckless unfortunate lives are observed by the public in dismay, as they transition from home to work occupied by commitments and cell phones. But the duo is hardly seen. They are mere remnants of the invisible homeless that echo's the American landscape.

Some of the neighbors donated food, water and small dog beds for the five and a half year old boy. While others were irate calling the police to have this vagabond and his dog removed from their neighborhood. They grilled him as to why he didn't find help from the government. Jonathan reasoned, "They won't accept me with a dog."

California, the most liberal, laid back state in the country, where pet advocates are as impassioned as The Bloods and The Crypts...can't seem to pass laws that include dogs in shelters, nor in 90% of apartment buildings. The dogs, in most instances, will be by their side more faithfully than the government aid. So who would you choose: your best friend or faux.

My heart sank for them both. Within two days they were gone.... Not sure where they moved to, but how could we as a people find disgust for a man and his best friend who lived in a manner that many of us couldn't fathom.

Jonathan always thanked you with a, "God Bless you." How do we know they weren't angels testing us, the human race, of its compassion and empathy. During this holiday season please be mindful that just maybe that homeless man and his dog was sent here for us. To teach us that love and understanding has no color, shape, race, gender, or economic status. It is generated from the heart. An open, accepting, seeing heart. ---R. B. STUART

                                                                 Wolf #8

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