In spite of being homeless himself, a California man named Steve has made it his mission to take care of stray dogs. He has adopted 50 canines in the past 14 years, tended to their daily needs and sometimes even finding new homes for them. Steve has never abandoned any of the dogs in his care, not even when he had to move to another state.
This year, Steve decided that he’d had enough of California. He believed that a change of scene might help him get back on his feet, so he started to think of moving to Indiana to meet an old friend who had offered him help. He had a distance of 2,000 miles to cover, with nothing but a bike, but he couldn’t think of leaving his beloved dogs behind. So he put the 11 dogs currently in his care in a shopping cart and attached it to the back of his bike. He only had $6 in his pocket at the time.
On his way, Steve encountered Alicia Edrington, who works at the West Memphis Animal Shelter (WMAS). Intrigued, she stopped to ask him a few questions, and got to know the entire story. “He’s been homeless since 2001, so he could relate to them,” she said. “He felt he couldn’t turn his back on them.” Deeply touched by Steve’s love for dogs, Alicia set up a GoFundMe page for him, to raise enough money for the unlikely family to spend at least one night at a hotel.
Then, she spread the word about his story and lots of WMAS volunteers arrived at the hotel to help out. They fed the dogs, gave them massages, and posted lots of photographs on Facebook and Twitter. They raised more money for another night at the hotel, brought 100 pounds of dog food, and kept searching for ways to get Steve to Indiana. Finally, they met a woman named Kelley Seaton, from Tennessee, who offered to drive them for free.
Steve and the dogs finally made it to their destination, with about $4,000 left over from the GoFundMe campaign. A generous donor gave them a trailer to live in, so for the first time in nearly 15 years, they have a roof over their heads. Today, the campaign has raised over $30,000, and Steve’s thinking of buying a truck and taking up carpentry. Of course, he will continue to help strays.
“He treats dogs better than he treats himself,” Alicia said. “I find it extraordinary. I’m a big animal lover myself. When I began interacting with him, I was overwhelmed.”
If you’d like to donate some money to Steve and his dogs, visit their GoFundMe page.