More than a week ago, Berni Gutierrez called her friend, Piper Wood, after seeing a homeless man outside a shopping center in Duarte, California.
Meet Hector and his Chihuahua named Amy!
According to Gutierrez, Hector had approached her for help – but he wasn’t asking for spare change. The homeless man told her he needed help to secure a proper dog license for his beautiful Chihuahua.
“He said he can’t get his dog licensed because he doesn’t have a home, and animal control and the police keep bothering him and threatening to take his dog away because he doesn’t have a license,” Wood, founder of Hand in Paw, a dog rescue organization based in California, said during an interview with The Dodo.
“My friend said, ‘The dog is really well taken care of,’” Wood added. “‘She’s wearing a dress and she has jewelry on and he paints her nails. And he started crying when he was talking about her.’ And I said, ‘You know what? Let’s help this guy. I’ll be there in 10 minutes.’”
Wood decided to meet Hector at the same location Gutierrez had previously found her, and she was moved by what she saw. She understood right away why her friend got so upset.
“When he talks, it almost sounds like he had a stroke or something — it’s very hard to understand him,” Wood said. “But he’s usually talking about his dog, and his dog makes him so happy that he cries most of the time because he’s so happy. He’s a really kind, kind person.”
Wood assured Hector that she’ll do everything that she can to get a dog license for Amy. She also promised to get her spayed, microchipped, vaccinated, and get her dental issues fixed.
The kind-hearted woman also noticed that the homeless man was living out of a shopping cart, which is technically illegal in the U.S., so she decided to get Hector a special doggy stroller, where he could keep his beloved dog and also store his belongings.
“I run a dog rescue, so I save dogs, but sometimes there’s a human attached to that dog and you have to help both,” Wood said. “Sometimes you see homeless people with dogs and it’s like, ‘That dog would be better off somewhere else.’ But he loves that dog so much, and we want to keep them together as best as possible.”
“She gets treated better than most dogs in a home because he’s with her 24 hours a day,” Wood added. “The dog loves him and he loves his dog — they are each other’s life.”
Wood really wanted to help Hector and Amy, so she wrote a post on Instagram asking for donations to get a good quality dog food and vet care for Amy. She also posted that the tiny Chihuahua needs a new dog stroller.
Wood was overwhelmed by the response from everyone.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Wood said. “I got so emotional. The instant I posted it, I started getting so many responses. Not just money, but people wanting to do whatever they could to help. I was completely blown away and I was crying for a few hours.”
“It’s a pretty amazing thing to be able to change someone’s life, but I had the help of so many people,” she added.
Last Week, Wood presented Hector and Amy with a new dog stroller, dog food, blankets and several gift cards.
Amy enjoying her new special dog stroller
“It’s just the beginning, but he was just so happy to have a cart to put her in,” Wood said. “He put her in the front with a bunch of blankets, and he was able to put his belongings in the back.” Hector also placed Amy’s dog stuffed toy in the cart next to her.
“I’ll probably be meeting with him again tomorrow to give him some more things,” Wood added, “We’re also going to get her license, and she’s set next week to get spayed and get her dental done.”
According to Wood, she will also help Hector get a nice job, so the two of them will no longer live on the street. Hector seems really happy about everything.
“He was crying,” Wood said. “He called me his sister. He said, ‘Thank you, sister. You’re the only family I have.’ So I started crying too. It was really sweet. We all kind of look at people and judge them, but you really have to get to know someone and know their story before you can make that judgment — and he’s a really, really nice person.”
All he ever wanted was a special dog stroller for his Chihuahua, but he got all the love in the world!
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H/T: The Dodo