By Deidre Grieves
Ronald Aaron and his dog Shadow have been living on the streets near Hallandale Beach, Florida, for the past two years. After his divorce and the loss of his job in hotel management, the 62-year-old man couldn’t make ends meet and was forced into homelessness.
Aaron tried to find lodging in local shelters, but none would allow him to bring Shadow. The 12-year-old dog is Aaron’s lifelong companion; the two have been together since Shadow was a puppy. Since Aaron refused to give his senior dog up to the shelter system, the pair had no other option but to survive on the streets.
After years of struggling, Aaron and Shadow’s luck may finally be turning thanks to the kindness of a local animal rescue organization.
A volunteer who works with A Way for a Stray saw Aaron and Shadow outside of a 7-Eleven convenience store, where Aaron was sharing his last piece of bread with Shadow. The volunteer immediately decided to help. He called A Way for a Stray to tell them about Aaron and the organization quickly stepped into action.
Lyndsey Gurowitz-Furman, vice president of A Way for a Stray, says that the group found a pet-friendly hotel and paid for Aaron and Shadow to stay the night. They also set Aaron up with groceries and new clothes and they gave Shadow a comfy new dog bed, food, and treats.
The group also started a YouCaring page to raise funds for more hotel room nights, gift cards, and supplies. After posting the story to Facebook, Gurowitz-Furman said they had several offers from the community to help get Aaron on his feet. The initial goal of the fundraiser was set at $500, but it has since topped $3,000 and is still attracting donations from people who are touched by Aaron and Shadow's story.
Gurowitz-Furman says that it’s evident that Aaron and Shadow have a special relationship. “The bond they have is just incredible,” she says. “It’s obvious that he’s been putting his dog first this whole time."
A Way for a Stray donated food supplies and flea and tick medication to Shadow, and they are also planning to pay for a veterinary checkup to make sure Shadow is up to date on all vaccinations.
Gurowitz-Furman says they are exploring several options to help Aaron and Shadow find permanent shelter and employment options.
For now, at least, Aaron and Shadow are in a comfortable hotel room — off the streets and out of the heat. And for the first time in a long time, the two old souls can rest easy knowing that they have support from an incredible group of animal rescuers and concerned citizens.
If you’d like to find out how help Ronald Aaron and Shadow in some way, contact A Way for a Stray at [email protected].
Image: Ron & Shadow / YouCaring.com