Bear Bear: Living among the homeless
Once called H.D. — for Homeless Dog — and now known as Bear-Bear, a chow mix has been living for years with the homeless who come, go and camp along the railroad tracks on the southern edge of downtown Greensboro.
Greensboro News-Record columnist Jeri Rowe says it has been at least four years since he first noticed Bear-Bear — a reclusive sort, a bit skittish when it comes to outsiders — and some say she has been around for as many as eight.
“I’ve tried to get close,” Rowe wrote in a column about the dog yesterday. “Can’t. She runs away and disappears like the wind. But minutes later, she’ll reappear out of nowhere — staring, making sure I don’t get anywhere close … Bear-Bear is like an afternoon shadow. She bobs and weaves in between the spindly oaks beside the homeless camp and disappears only to come back minutes later, atop her knoll of dirt to lie in the sun.”
Bear-Bear serves as guardian and mascot of the homeless encampment and, in exchange, gets enough handouts to survive — like dog biscuits, spaghetti, Hamburger Helper and whatever else her human counterparts might be able to scrounge up, Rowe noted:
“She fascinates me. She’s beautiful with a thick coat of fur that shines black, brown, cinnamon and cream in the winter sun…But what gets me is … that the very people who desperately need help are the very people who help her.”
Rowe writes that he ran into the dog most recently while attending a seminar on homelessness at the Interactive Resource Center, which provides services to the needy, sometimes more than 250 of them a day.
Rowe talked with one of Bear-Bear’s caretakers — a 48-year-old man who has gout in both legs, walks with a cane,and has a bad heart. The first time they met, Rowe wrote, the man, named Keith, wore a t-shirt that said “Don’t Analyze Me. It’s a Deep Dark Hole, and You Don’t Want To Go There.”
Keith lives in a tent near the hole Bear-Bear sleeps in, and shares his food with her:
“I’m out here, and I get help, so why not help her?” Keith told him. “Ain’t an abundant supply of wild animals to eat, and we know she has to eat. We feed her. Everybody loves her…
“She is pretty smart. She has survived like we have, and you know, it goes to show you, it don’t make no difference how hard it gets. You can still survive through thick and thin.”
(Photo: H. Scott Hoffman / Greensboro News-Record)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 5th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bear, bear-bear, camp, chow, column, columnist, dog, dogs, greensboro, guardian, hd, homeless, homeless dog, jeri row, mascot, news-record, north carolina, pets