A doggie tale about a former homeless man and his family of unwanted strays is gaining national attention and touching hearts across the Internet.
It’s also teaching people about paying it forward.
The man, only known as Steve, recently traveled from California to Indiana in hopes of getting back on his feet. And according to the New York Daily News, the trip that began as a solo journey grew by 10 — the number of stray dogs he met along the way that he felt obliged to help.
Reportedly, Steve has taken in 50 stray pups over the past 14 years, ever since he became homeless in 2001. He told a woman he met along the way, Alicia Edrington, that he had to do something to help the dogs he “found.”
“He’s been homeless since 2001 so he could relate to them,” Edrington, who met Steve riding a bicycle with a cart attachment for the dogs, told the Daily News. “He felt he couldn’t turn his back on them.”
On his trip, Steve met someone who donated a vehicle for him to use. He also used the few dollars he began the trip with on food for the animals, according to the Daily News.
“He treats the dogs better than he treats himself,” Edrington said. “I find it extraordinary. I’m a big animal lover myself. When I began interacting with him, I was overwhelmed.”
The generosity prompted Edrington and her family to help Steve by creating both a Facebook page chronicling his journey and a GoFundMe page to raise money for the mobile family.
The Daily News reports that Steve has reached his destination, received a donated trailer from someone and is working with a counselor to help find a location where he can keep it and once again have a permanent place to call home.