Bear the homeless dog

Homeless dog finds home at shelter

San Bernardino’s Hospitality House welcomes a new mascot.

Like many he meets at The Salvation Army’s Hospitality House emergency family shelter, Bear previously called the streets of San Bernardino, Calif., “home.”

Now this terrier mix makes the shelter feel more like home. Bear is a stray, taken in by the shelter’s live-in caretaker Mike Hernandez, after being officially adopted by The Salvation Army.

“The kids love him,” Hernandez said. “He is the shelter’s mascot and the perfect pet.”

Although Bear is gentle around the children, Hernandez said, he’s also a good watchdog, letting the shelter’s volunteers and staff know when someone comes to the door.

“Before we adopted him, he had been hanging around the shelter for about six months,” Hernandez said. “We don’t know where he came from.”

“He just wandered into the homeless shelter, not unlike many of the humans who have stayed there,” said Brian Cronin, treasurer of The Salvation Army advisory board and president of Animals R First (ARF), a non-profit organization that helps find homes for abandoned dogs and cats.

Bear the homeless dog

Bear with Salvation Army volunteers Kathy Brown, Phillip Nash and Mike Hernandez (Photo by Chris Sloan).

For six months before The Salvation Army adopted Bear, the Hospitality House workers asked everyone who lived nearby if they knew to whom the dog belonged. No one knew.

The Hospitality House staff told Cronin about Bear, because as the director of the San Bernardino County Animal Control Department, president of ARF, and genuine animal lover, they knew he could help finalize the adoption.

ARF paid for Bear’s neutering, vaccinations and grooming just before the adoption was made official.

“There are so many homeless animals living in the streets,” Cronin said. “This dog we knew would have a quality home by living at the Hospitality House. Besides, dogs can be a great comfort in times of distress, and guests of the Hospitality House often need that comfort. We felt it was a perfect match.”

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