Rick Darge was frantic over the disappearance of his dog Maya – so when a homeless “angel” ensured the pup’s safe return, Darge became determined to thank him properly.
Mel, who is a 9-month-old rat terrier mix, ran away from Darge’s office in East Hollywood, California earlier this month, and it didn’t take long for her to make some friends amongst some homeless men named James and Andy.
The two men have been living out James’s car for the last few months; and in addition to enduring the woes of homelessness, James has been heartbroken over the recent death of his own canine companion.
So when Andy found Maya wandering the city streets, he decided to try and cheer his friend by presenting the dog as a gift.
“This man loves dogs and as soon as he got Maya, he fell in love,” says Darge. “[But] after a few hours, James pulled Maya’s harness off and noticed her dog tag with her name and my number on it.
“He said that once he saw that she belonged to someone, he was devastated and knew what I was going through.”
Since James didn’t have a cell phone, he had to wait until the next day to call Darge and tell him that the pup was in good hands. They coordinated a meetup, and true to his word, James brought Maya back to Darge in perfect health.
“One thing that stuck out for me the most is when my Mom and I were screaming for joy while holding Maya, James’s buddy Andy kept saying to him, ‘Look at what you did, James. Look at their faces, man. You did this.’
“While Andy is saying this, I see a proud James, tears in his eyes, soaking up this moment of love. I saw a man who was at a crossroads in life. This was a redemption day for him to do the right thing. To be the hero. I felt it. He felt it. We all felt it. It was so powerful of a moment.”
Darge consistently tried to give James $200 for his trouble. Even though he needed the money, he kept turning it down until Darge firmly said that he wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“James started to cry,” says Darge. “He needed the money but didn’t want to make it about that. He was so grateful.”
But $200 wasn’t enough for Darge – so he created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the compassionate rough sleeper. Since he created the campaign ten days ago, it has raised over $5,000.
“I can’t fully explain what I’m feeling right now through words,” Darge wrote in the description. “All I must say is that my faith in people just got a whole lot better. I often find that those who have nothing in this world often have the most to give. Lessons were learned today for everyone. And the biggest lesson for me was that you can’t put a price on a good heart.”
Share This Sweet Story Of Compassion With Your Friends – Photo by Rick Darge