Most of you know that I go to the dog park daily. In doing that, I have met many people, including a special man with a heart of gold who told me the story I am about to share. When I asked for details, he sat down and wrote the entire story. I feel he tells it perfectly, so the story below remains in his words. I hope you find it as meaningful as I do!
The Gentleman's Story:
It was a note inside of a wallet that read “In the event of my death, please contact Mr. and Mrs. Carey — they will care for my JD." The note had all [our] phone numbers, both here and [our home] in Maine.
It started in October — when a gentleman and his small dog would walk by our new house in Dunedin. Asa, [my dog] lying on the lawn, would run and greet his new buddy, JD. This daily event led to putting both dogs in the fenced yard and letting them play.
A few weeks into this, I briefly went into the hospital, but was laid up for close to a month. The projects on the new house were getting behind. This gentleman would stay for hours and replace me, working with our carpenter on numerous projects; [he] said he had nothing better to do.
Before heading north for Thanksgiving, the gentleman mentioned his toaster oven stopped working. We had a spare, and gave it to him. When my wife was giving him a ride home, she noticed a tent in the door yard.
She asked about it and the gentleman said the dog was not allowed in the house. When she told me this, I called and asked him if he was staying in the tent, and he said "sometimes." THIS was his home.
We offered for him to house-sit for us for the month and a half we would be up north for the holidays; he refused. We called from Maine to check on him and the dog after we saw a very cold and wet weather report. His tent leaked, but he and the dog were OK.
This gentleman had a marriage, home, small business, ate at many of the higher-end restaurants and played golf at many of the finest courses. Homeless since only August, he has handled the adversity better than most. Any sign of giving up would be more in frustration of the health problems that seem to come back to back.
When we returned from the holidays, the gentleman had lost a lot of weight, and his health was not good. A few weeks ago, after a rain, he came to the house and I took his temperature and it was 102.2.
We headed to the hospital, and we became the proud dog sitters for JD.
A day prior to going to the hospital, the gentleman was at Shop-a-Lot to buy the dog’s favorite hot dogs. He came out to find his bike stolen. This bike was used daily for his trips to the library to use the computer to look for work. His belongings went from a tent, bike and dog, to just a tent and a dog.
He returned from the hospital on Tuesday to a very happy dog. I had already packed up the wet tent at his old place and brought all belongings to my house. JD immediately went to his bag and pulled out one of his favorite toys. I also noticed that this gentleman had been purchasing very high-end dog food. They are both set up in a camper now with cable TV, heat, etc. They both have run of the house, and we enjoy our morning wake-ups with JD hopping on our bed.
The note is still in the wallet and the health problems still exists. We hope it is not soon, but we stand ready to assume responsibility for this gentleman's last possession.