A story of a young man robbed and dumped in the Nevada desert with his two dogs and how so many people came together to get this young man home.
The owner of King Pen and Go T, Dustin, is a young man with mild Down's Syndrome. It is my understanding that he originally traveled to Washington State where he was staying with his grandmother who was dying and helping her out. Her end finally came and her landlord basically told him he had to go because of his dogs. He was trying to find a new place but having a tough time because of the dogs and his income. Then he was "befriended" by the person who said he would give him a job in Vegas.
Dustin left with this person. This poor excuse for a human being ended up robbing him of everything he had and dumped him with his two pups in the desert - didn’t even leave him his identification. So he was trying to walk/hitch hike his way back home.
He had made it to Tonopah, Nevada, but it was all wearing them down. He sat on the road side, crying his heart out. Fortunately for him, a couple of our volunteers, Sammi and Lisha, saw him there and stopped to see what was up. He told them that no one would give him a ride – last ride they had had was five days ago and they had been walking for days – were just plumb tuckered out. They asked him if they could help – did he need anything. His response: “Don’t worry for me. Food for my dogs is all I need.” They could see that man and pups were sore of foot and tired as all get out.
Enter the best of humanity.
That tipped the balance – no way they were going to let him and his pups be stranded – they took him in, gave him a place to sleep, got him clothes, got him a haircut, pad all kinds of things. He was so thankful. It was during this time that they also realized that he had special needs – made someone taking advantage of him even more of a crime. They talked to him about going “home” and only folks he had left were kind of an aunt in Joplin. So they got together the money for a bus ticket to get him home – having no ID at all is a little tough to get other transport. And then was the dilemma – how to get the dogs home as they weren’t allowed on the bus. They turned to the KHTC community to see if we could help. We said: YES! We CAN DO!
A little bump in the road as Dustin was having a hard time having to split from his pups – they were literally all he had in this world and his total heart and soul was wrapped up in them. Sammi was patient and explained what we do – showing him pictures of transports and talking to him about Kindred Hearts. He finally gave us the ultimate gift – trusting his most precious cargo of his life to us and that we would bring them home.
So we put together the run sheet and our volunteer community came together like a whirlwind. In no time flat, we had a vet to take them to to get health certs and shots since he had no records (thank you Tanya), the overnight stays in Las Vegas and Albuquerque (thank you Jennifer and Nancy), and the drivers to bring them on down the road (Jerome, Heather, Jacqueline, David, Judy, Cyndi, Judy, Roiann, Susanrt, and Michelle). I wish to extend a special thanks to Jacqueline Vaughn who went above and beyond in helping to fill this run and transporting. You were awesome, lady, and blessings for your help.
Then came transport day! Dustin was leaving on his bus from Las Vegas, NV to Joplin, MO. Sammi packed him and the pups into her car and drove all the way from Tonopah to bring him down. And here came the hardest part – Dustin having to part from his two best buddies. They were dropping the pups at the vet to get their travel stuff done for the road and Tanya was picking them up after. Sammi later told us he was crying at the bus stop because he missed his buddies. Broke my heart but at least we knew it was only for a few days. Sammi showed him the pictures we were posting and it made him feel better.
It came time for Dusin to leave. This is when we got another surprise – Dustin did not know how to read, So she gave him instruction to seek help from bus drivers and folks inside. We were all concerned that he might get lost.
Mother Nature got a little capricious and juggled our and his trip a little bit. He got rerouted and so did we but that wasn’t stopping the transport team. They all moved heaven and earth to make sure these pups got through.
And finally the moment came – all of us hanging in the PM – waiting for that moment of reunion. Everyone staying up late – the pups were due in around 10:30 PM Central. Anticipation was running high. And the end result is the final pictures – a man and his beloved dogs back together again. Michelle, our last leg driver, said he was calling their names in the parking lot and they could hard wait to get out of the car to join him.
Way to go team!
I cannot say enough thank yous, though, from the bottom of my heart to Lisha and especially Sammi who gave the trio a place to sleep, got Dustin clothes, got him a hair cut, contacted family friends, paid for his bus ticket, and even got some dental work taken care of. And didn’t just pass him by….
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