Posted by: ritagone | April 6, 2016

A Man and His Dog

The other day I was driving along the main thoroughfare of my community, Thousand Oaks, minding my own business, for a change. I stopped for a red light, casually turned my head and noticed a disheveled man, clothes askew, hair long and lopsided and obviously long unwashed, pushing a shopping cart loaded with belongings and trash bags filled to the brim. His appearance made me think two things simultaneously: he’s homeless; he’s mentally ill. In the place where a woman would normally put her purse while in the supermarket (or seat a toddler) was a stash of stuff, and sitting atop that stuff was a small, beagle-sized dog. (The picture I’ve inclhomeless-man-age-45-pushing-cart-of-aluminum-cans-with-dog-minneapolis-A8EAEBuded in this blog is not of the actual man and his dog but one I grabbed off of Google images just to give you an idea of what I saw.)

Since I was stopped at the light and this man and his cart and his dog were also stopped waiting for the light to change so they could cross the street, I was able to watch as he gestured and talked to the dog, who was listening intently to him. The man scratched his ears (the dog’s, not his own) and hugged him over and over again in a very loving manner. Then the dog rolled over onto his back while his owner scratched his belly.

I was mesmerized. It was the most blatant exhibit of unconditional, sweet love I had seen in a long time. That dog didn’t care one whit what that man looked or smelled like or if he owned a mansion in Lake Sherwood; he just loved him being with him and the attention he was getting. They were basking in the joy of one another until the light changed and they could walk across the street together.

There are those who would look at this duo, man and dog, and condemn them for their vagrancy and their lack of employment, their need for a shower and a change of clothes, perhaps their odor. In fact, to be honest, that was my knee-jerk reaction to him. Others might see him as someone who needs a handout, a chance to do good and earn that feeling of satisfaction that comes with an opportunity to reach out to someone and bless them. That’s a much better way to see this guy and his dog.

What I saw that day when they were hugging each other and loving on one another was a man and a dog deeply in love. I saw two of God’s creatures who didn’t care who was watching, who didn’t care about appearances or what the rest of the world thought. They were just going to love on one another no matter what, while they had the chance, even at a red light.

And I wished we could all be like that duo.

I thought we could all learn from that man and his little dog sitting atop the trash in a shopping cart.




  1. Makes me want to get a dog, maybe. Good blog as usual, see you tonight.

    Sue Paulson (Brantingham)

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