Posted: February 26, 2019 in Prose

10 July 2012

At the park today were Andre, Little Jake (asleep in his sleeping bag), Shakes, Wolf and his dog Shaggy.

“Dennis,” said Wolf, “I’ve got something to show you. I want your opinion on it. Here, can you read this without your glasses?”

*Bullet* “keep your pet away from fountains and shorelines (pets are not allowed to be within 3 metres of any shoreline on City of Toronto land)”

“What do you think of that. Be careful of what you say, because Shaggy is listening. Does this mean that I can’t take her in the Don River near my place? She’s been going in there, every hot day, for the past ten years.”

“That seems to be what it means.”

“Do you agree with that?”

“No, they don’t do anything to prevent wild animals, such as otters or beavers, from going in the river. Why would it be different for dogs?”

“That was my thinking as well. I talked to about ten women about it and they said, ‘You’d let your dog go in that dirty river?’ They weren’t dog owners.”

“I even think that, on these days where it is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, that Shaggy should be allowed to go into the fountain to cool off. What harm is there in that? Are they afraid that she’s going to steal some pennies?”

Andre said, “I’ve noticed that store owners, along Bank Street, are putting dishes of water out for dogs and other animals.”

Buck came by and Wolf asked him, “Would you go on a run for me? The problem is I only have ten dollars. Can you spot me the other $10.50?”


After eighteen months of daily conversations with people living on the streets, in shelters or sharing accommodation. I have made the following observations. A full-fledged member of the street family is one who has been with the group for over ten years. Jacques and Joy are the matriarch and patriarch. Everyone else is a newbie — on probation. To gain acceptance one must be vouched for and have proven themselves not to be an asshole.

The group expects honesty and sincerity. That may see strange when you consider that most of these people have prison records. Many have been involved in scams of one sort or another, but if you’re family they expect the truth. How else, they explained, can they help you.

They’ll share with you what little they have, even the jackets off their back. The same is expected in return. The people who come around only when they’re in need of money, cigarettes, booze, drugs or food are soon put on notice. On check day, all debts are paid in full.

Sample my books for free — To date $1945.00 has been donated to the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People ($.99 Download) ($.99 Download) ($.99 Download) ($.99 Download)

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