The following is a submitted ‘Letter to the Editor.’ While the letter writer remains anonymous, Kingstonist has verified their identity. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Kingstonist.
These days we see a lot of hurt and cruelty, so when there is kindness and a happy ending to stories, it’s important to share. I hope you feel the same way so that others may feel some of the kindness I’ve received in the past few months.
Just a few months ago, the situation was much different. My children are grown up and done college, so I share my life with my best friend. My best friend and I were living our lives normally and, out of the blue, just like that, we were given a few minutes to gather some things and we were tossed to the streets, through no fault of our own. My best friend and I found ourselves homeless and hungry. When told to gather some things, we only had a couple minutes – Well, since my best friend is a dog, he wasn’t going to be much help with this part.
So, I grabbed my best friend, his bin of food, and a change of clothes. Now, we had no car, no food or phone, and we were miles away from Kingston and anyone we knew. So, we were left with zero options; walking was the only thing we could do. It was raining, windy, and there was still snow in places. Hours went by, and I looked down; his face was screaming, “why are you making me walk so much, Mom?!”
He kept trying to turn and go home.
When he had a sneezing fit and couldn’t stop shaking, I had a bit of a meltdown. I started to cry and sat on his bin of food. As he always does when I cry, he gave me a little howl. I think he said, ‘No crying, Mom!’ He then came to me and licked my face. I tugged him close, and we clung to each other for both comfort and warmth. Just then, a woman stopped and insisted we get in her car, and she drove us the rest of the way. Thank you so much for your kindness. I can’t express how much we appreciate you.
So, now in Kingston, our choices were nil. Having been turned away at the first door we knocked on, I was beyond worried that I was going to have to teach my dog how to live on the street.
Thankfully, I was told of a place that may or may not accept animals, but could help me. So, off we went to the address I was given. Once we got there, I opened the door and what a sight we must’ve been: depressed, desperate, and SO tired. When I looked up, I said to the people behind the glass, “We have nowhere to go.” They opened the door and took us in from the cold, shifted some people around, and said we could stay. No longer did I feel desperate and depressed. Once again, I cried, only this time with relief. Of course, my pup jumped up and licked my tears. Well, that was it – he was a big hit with the staff.
From that day on, they worked day in and day out with me to find and secure housing and employment. They never looked annoyed or tired or angry, not once. Even if they had a hard situation to deal with, they’d just shake it off and say, “Yes, of course, a coffee. Double double, right?” Always with a smile. Or they’d sit and talk with someone for a while. It’s like they just knew when someone needed to talk or just to listen. I watched a staff member one time sit with a man who came in to eat for what had to be the whole hour. It was obvious that the man had had a rough few days, and the staff was trying to get him to stay at least one night to clean up, eat, and sleep. I saw him thank them, and he seemed genuinely grateful. I also then saw him walk out the front door and back to the streets. The staff member was clearly affected by this, but then shook it off and headed straight to me and informed me that she was in contact with someone for me to talk to about pursuing my passion.
And they do this kind of stuff for everyone. Anyone who asks for their help, they give 1,000 per cent. The staff at Home Base Housing and the adult emergency shelter In From the Cold (IFTC) deserve an award that is fit for a superhero.
I would like to say to every member of the IFTC team, on both sides of that building, that you all saved us that night. I know it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to you guys because it’s just what you do, but to someone who was minutes from having to choose whether to give up her dog and take her own life, or live on the street making him suffer, it means a lot. You people have a genuine kindness that you share with us every time you turn around. For this and for the love for my dog, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
The ending to this story is a sweet one, and it’s all because all of you with IFTC didn’t stop until we were okay. Truly amazing people.
I write this to you all now from my own place that I share alongside my best friend. I am working, and now my artwork will be displayed in an art show for everyone to enjoy. Wow.
I hope this reaches people and maybe helps someone who is in need as we were.
Thank you all so much.
No Longer Desperate and Depressed
Share your views! Submit a Letter to the Editor or an Op/Ed article to Kingstonist’s Editor-in-Chief Tori Stafford at [email protected].