By Appaswamy “Vino” Pajanor
Dallin spent most of his younger life on the road, moving 14 times before the age of seven. He was working in the restaurant industry as a Chef when COVID began, and the national shelter-in-place order was issued. Dallin found himself without a job and unsure of what his next steps would be. After receiving his unemployment check, he decided to load up his life and his trusted companion Lita and hit the road once again. Lita is Dalli n’s 2- year-old mix-breed dog, she has been with him since birth, and the two are inseparable, dependent on the other. They traveled and explored dirt roads and nature from Mt. Whitney to Mexico. Their travel continued until 6 months ago when their car finally died. They spent another 3 months living in the brokendown car until it was towed, with no other option, they set out on foot.
“You know the streets are not a healthy place for anybody, and that’s an understatement of the century. The streets are rough, are really, really, rough.”
Living on the streets made it difficult to keep both himself and Lita fed. Without hesitation, Dallin prioritized Lita’s well-being over his own.
“There were times when I didn’t eat that she did. As long as she’s healthy I feel like I’m gonna make it … but there were a couple times that I was hungry instead of her and that was always gratifying seeing her happy it was enough for me.”
Dallin reached out to his family for help. Explaining that he needed shelter but was unwilling to separate from Lita. His family helped him find La Posada, a men’s shelter that welcomes pets.
“Separation was not an option. It was either we are gonna be on the streets together, or we are gonna find a place together.”
Dallin and Lita now have a home base where he is able to work towards goals with his case manager. Lita also has services available to her. Catholic Charities provides vet visits, food and makes sure that the fur family is helped, so their human is able to focus on their goals and moving towards self- sustainability.
“La posada giving us a place to have home base as we get sort of back in the map of society has been critical. It’s extremely difficult to get all that stuff done. I don’t know if it’s even possible to do on the street.”
Dallin and Lita are working on saving funds to afford an apartment, he is looking for work in the restaurant field and dreams of one day opening his own mobile sushi cart.
“You know we are extremely, to say extremely grateful is an understatement we will never forget the people and you know the services. I mean just the support. I mean it kept MY family together.”
Please support Catholic Charities in our mission to help the stranger. We understand the positive impact and irreplaceable emotional connection pets provided; through your generosity, we will be able to help fur families that come into our shelters.