On a particularly chilly day in Fresno, California last month, Jenine-Lacette DShazer took notice of a man sitting “crumpled” on the sidewalk and cradling a small white dog. Recognizing the pair was in need, Jenine-Lacette grabbed a blanket, cat food, and a roll of toilet paper from her car and walked over to where they were sitting.
After being “exceptionally grateful” for the gifts, the man identified himself as 60-year-old Clifford James Herbert; his dog was named Baby. Then he told Jenine-Lacette something that absolutely broke her heart and sent her on the quest of a lifetime…
This was how Jenine-Lacette DShazer found Clifford James Herbert and Baby last month: they were huddled together and trying to stay warm. When she started to talk with him, she learned the tragic truth: Cliff, once a farm worker and mechanic’s shop owner, lost his job when he became disabled after complications from a heart surgery and tracheotomy in 2006. Now homeless, he learned he was dying of cancer with only has a few weeks to live—and his only wish was for someone to adopt his sweet dog, Baby.
Jenine-Lacette was so touched that she started a GoFundMe page to raise funds so Cliff and Baby could get off the street. She also got to work trying to find a new owner for Baby.
With the help of Jenine-Lacette, he was able to stay at a motel out of the cold and safe. After that, Baby needed to find a home. “She’s my whole world,” Cliff, also a gifted guitarist, said during an interview with the Fresno Bee. “She’s my best friend. She protects me.” And Cliff protects Baby. In fact, he adopted her after rescuing her from a man who had been beating her with a flashlight.
After he was diagnosed with cancer, which spread to his brain, Clifford knew he had to find a home for Baby before it was too late. With the help of Jenine-Lacette and several others, he was able to achieve that goal.
Baby was adopted recently by a woman named Stephanie Walker and her family. She’ll be loved and even has a little pal to grow up with!
The family has other dogs, as well as someone to stay home with them all day, so Baby will be surrounded by loving friends. It’s just about everything Clifford could have hoped for.
It’s truly tragic that Clifford won’t be around for much longer, but thankfully he was able to witness his beloved Baby finding her new forever home. If there’s any glimmer of hope in his story, it’s that.
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