One day, a woman named Alicia Edrington was on her way home to Arkansas when she spotted an elderly man on the road.
He was on the freeway riding a bike with a cartful of dogs attached to its back. The man was obviously exhausted, but he was determined to keep going toward their destination.
After seeing the heartbreaking scene, Alicia knew she couldn’t just keep on driving. So, she stopped and figured out how she can help him.
Alicia approached him, and they talked. She learned that the man—named Steve—had been homeless since 2001. Although he didn’t have the resources to provide for his own needs, he still had the heart to adopt and help every stray dog he comes across.
Steve estimates having helped over 50 dogs in the 14 years he’s been living on the street. He has even been successful in finding a home for a few of them.
He does all these things without asking for anything in return.
At the time, Steve decided to leave California and go to Indiana to meet his girlfriend, Volena, there. Many people would have surrendered the dogs to a shelter before moving across the country, but not Steve.
The man decided to take all 10 dogs with him even though he knows how difficult the journey will be. They are family to him, so leaving them behind wasn’t an option.
So, Steve and his furry companions took off for Indiana. When Alicia met him, the man had been biking for about 2,000 miles. He was planning to camp out somewhere to rest for the night before going again the next morning.
Although he didn’t ask for it, Alicia knew that he needed help. She called a few people to plan how they can give the poor guy and his dogs what they needed.
Alicia’s father, Mickey Edrington, set up a GoFundMe page, hoping to gather enough funds so Steve and his canine family can stay in a hotel room for at least a night.
Luckily, they raised enough money for that and so much more. Alicia, local rescuers, and several volunteers were able to buy good quality food and harnesses for the dogs. The animals also got the medical attention they needed after Steve’s story went viral on social media.
The next step is planning how they can get him and his dogs to Indiana.
That’s when they met Kelley Seaton. Although she’s from Tennesee, the kind woman volunteered to drive Steve and his dogs to Indiana for free!
The GoFundMe page for Steve surpassed the $10,000 goal and ended up collecting $35,596 from 1.1K people. One generous donor even gave him a trailer, so they don’t have to be homeless ever again. This is the first real “home” that Steve and his dogs have been in since 2001.
“If it wasn’t for every single one of you this man might still be pedaling down the road not knowing what hardship he might hit next,” Alicia wrote to everyone who supported Steve and his family.
Steve also got in contact with Angela, a woman who runs an organization that focuses on helping homeless people and their animals. Since then, she has been working with Steve and his dogs, helping them every way she could.
Mickey said a few people disagreed with their approach, saying that Steve would be better off surrendering all the dogs. But to him, rescues shouldn’t always have to involve tearing families apart.
“Rescues are already overwhelmed everywhere. Removing these animals from their guardian, a guardian who obviously loves them more than anything and who is willing to give up things for himself in order for them to have what they need, would not only negatively affect them but this man as well. He is their whole life and they are his. Not every situation in ‘rescue’ warrants the automatic removal of the animals,” he wrote.
We couldn’t agree more. The way they “rescued” Steve and his dogs was appropriate for the situation they were in. They ended up happier and better because of it, and that’s the most important thing.
Although we couldn’t find any information about Steve and his family’s current whereabouts, we’re pretty sure that he and his bunch are in a much better place now – literally and in life.
This story happened back in 2015, but it will always be something worth going back to.
What do you think of this story? Let us know in the comments!