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J Examination


A Warmly Illustrated Of Empathy by Mary Collister


ames and his dog Diezel were homeless for nine months, exacerbated by James’ being in a wheelchair as a result of hip surgery. James considers Diezel his therapy dog even though he had no specialized training.


If you saw the two on the streets, Diezel would often be pulling James. The dog also gave James a sense of safety. When a friend James had been living with failed to pay the


rent, they were evicted from their apartment. “I was giving him money for the rent, but he didn’t pay the landlord, and we ended up on the street,” he said. Diezel was just a puppy when James met him. “The guy


who had Diezel wanted money for drugs so I gave him $20 and he gave me Diezel,” James explained. Community Pet Project (CPP) reached out to


James to make sure Diezel had food, treats and toys. Through community partnerships, the organization also secured the needed vaccines and vetting for Diezel. After the outreach, two officers with the Hillsborough County Sheriff ’s Office, through the Homeless Initiative, secured housing for James and Diezel. The call went out, and many community members donated items to help furnish James’ new apartment. Hip replacement surgery for James may be appropriate


at a later date. For now, he relies on a wheelchair and Diezel for assistance. A local dog training business heard about the two and offered to train Diezel as a support dog. According to Hope Strings, co-owner and Vice President of All American Dog Training, Diezel has already received six weeks of balance, stability and mobility training. She explained that Diezel was already a well-behaved dog and knew his basic commands so they worked on aspects of training to make James’ day to day life easier.


Continued on the following pageg


James Phillips and his dog Diezel needed a little help. They were first introduced to Community Pet Project (CPP) in September 2019. CPP helps the pets of the homeless and at-risk residents of Hillsborough County.


www.TheNewBarker.com


THE NEW BARKER 37


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