“If I didn’t help those puppies, who would?” said Todd. Todd is homeless. He came from Maine, and now is here, but how he got here and where he is going he doesn’t know. But, he survived the rain last year, and intends to survive it this year as well. “It all happened in a haze of bongo drums, summer festivals, and VW vans. Now I am here, and I’m not quite sure how to get back.”

One thing I know for sure about Todd though is that he has a very tender heart. I saw him yesterday, and immediately he stopped what he was doing so that I could draw him. I told him a week ago that the next time we met I would draw him. He wanted to get his dog in the picture as well, but I wasn’t able to this time.

Todd is very partial to this dog. He saved it. A fellow homeless person had a dog that was pregnant. Taking care of yourself while homeless is difficult enough, taking care of a dog with 6 puppies…impossible. Todd knew that if he didn’t care for one of those puppies, they would end up in a bag in the river. So, this big man took the tiny little puppy, kept him in his jacket to stay warm, loved him, and kept him alive. Perhaps they kept each other alive.

“A lot of people tell me to go to the mission to get help…but they don’t take dogs,” he said. “So…I camp out in the rain, but I keep her dry, warm, and fed.” By the way he said it, I know that sometimes the dog eats, and Todd doesn’t. “Say, when people give you food to give to us, does anyone ever give you dog food?”

People are good. I’m happy that there are people like Todd out there who do the right thing for an animal, do the most loving thing, when they are able. I was in such awe at this man’s devotion to his dog, that I feel the picture of him is one of the best portraits I’ve ever done.