They say that mans best friend is a dog. For this terminally ill homeless man, his dog was his only friend.
On a bitterly cold winter night in Fresno, California Jenine-Lacette DShazer noticed the man on the street clutching his dog closely. Heartbroken by the scene in front of her, DShazer decided to see if there was anything she could do to help. But, she wasn’t expecting the homeless man to ask her to help him do this…
The man, Clifford James Herbert, had once been a farmworker and owned a mechanics shop. Tragically, the 60-year-old had become homeless in 2006 after becoming disabled following a complicated heart surgery. To add insult to his injury, Herbert was terminally ill with cancer.
With only a few weeks to live, Herbert had one concern: what would happen to his dog, Baby? Haunted by the idea of Baby walking the streets alone, Herbert asked DShazer to help him with one thing…
Herbert had rescued Baby from an evil man who had been beating her with a flashlight and was horrified to think that she might find herself back in an abusive home after his death. So, he asked DShazer to find a forever home for 10-month-old Baby.
“He didn’t ask me for money or anything; he was just appreciative, first of all, that I noticed him, that I talked to him, that I didn’t treat him as less-than,” she says, “and he was exceptionally grateful”.
DShazer immediately created a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for Herbert and Baby, so that they could spend his last days off the streets. The page garnered $24,000 in donations, according to The Fresno Bee.
With the money, Herbert was able to live in a motel, with Baby by his side. “She’s my whole world,” Herbert said of Baby. “She’s my best friend. She protects me”.
Herbert had lived a hard life. The complications during his heart surgery meant that he had a tracheotomy, leaving his voice barely audible. Unable to communicate with words, Herbert would write notes to express what he wanted to say. But, many assumed these notes were simply him asking for money, and ignored them.
Tearfully, Herbert explains how God helped him get through the hard times, adding: “I’ve got my faith. I believe in God. I talk to God.”
Luckily, Herbert’s wish came true. Thanks to DShazer the story of Herbert and Baby quickly spread and a loving home found her with two-year-old Hazel Walker and her family, who live on a farm with many other animals, including horses, a donkey and a lamb.
Explaining why she decided to adopt Baby, Hazel’s mother, Stephanie, tells Fresno Bee: “I can’t imagine someone I know or love going through that, especially with a dog, because dogs are your kids. It just made me want to help, however I could.”
The Walker family plan to take Baby back to visit Herbert, but in the mean time, they are making the young pup comfortable in her new home.
If you are not already crying, then this up-close video of Herbert and Baby’s time together will certainly bring tears to your eyes:
In the mean time, DShazer is paying for Herbert’s motel rooms and providing him with food gift cards with the money raised via the GoFundMe page, which is no longer available. If Herbert dies before all of the funds have run out, she vows to ensure the remaining donations go to charities which support homeless people and abandoned animals.
DShazer has been overwhelmed by the extreme international support that Herbert and Baby have received and urges that people help the homeless where they can, adding that “there’s a Baby or a Cliff or both right around your house” who will need help.