In November, I met Jessica and her dog, Mackenzie, a red-nose pitbull, sitting on the sidewalk outside the Petco at Union Square.
Jessica was homeless. And still was a few months later, when I saw her sitting on the sidewalk on Sixth Avenue in Chelsea, again with Mackenzie. Just like the first time, they were both extremely friendly. But unlike the first time, Mackenzie didn’t stand with her tail between her legs.
This time, Mackenzie seemed happier. Peppier. Puppier. Jessica, however, seemed slightly stressed. Her companion (a young guy about her age, whom I hadn’t seen the first time) was getting up to do something (I didn’t ask). Jessica told me they weren’t allowed to hang around outside Petco anymore, and had to find a new “home”. So Sixth Avenue it was. For the time being.
When Jessica met Mackenzie, a short time before the above photos were taken, Mackenzie was also homeless. Abandoned. Cold, shivering, and cowering. She was tied to a bench in Washington Square Park with a ragged rope. She was emaciated. And obviously had just had a litter of puppies. “That’s what they do,” Jessica said. “They just have the dog so she can have puppies, and then they sell the puppies and abandon the mom.” Milk, Jessica said, was just pouring out of Mackenzie’s pained body.
I’ve met quite a few homeless people and their pets. And the stories are always similar. The person finds a stray, or the stray finds the person, and they somehow manage to survive together. As all of the people I’ve talked to have told me, they consider their pets their best friends and their comfort. They share everything they have with them. Food, blankets, water. Loyal companionship and trust.
So, hearing their stories, it tears at my heart to read what my friend Tess wrote a couple of days ago. The world needs more people like Tess and fewer who have absolutely no consideration or regard for living creatures who need only to be loved.
I would say more, but there’s really no reason. I’ll stop here before I tell you to go out and do something nice for someone today. No one should have to be told that.
P.S. Happy Pesach. (That’s Passover.)