Homeless Man Saves Missing Dog, Owner Raises Funds For Rescuer

In a heartwarming, random act of kindness, a homeless man has rescued and returned a missing dog to its owner. In return, the owner has started a fundraiser for the rescuer's benefit.

Rick Darge's nine-month-old rat terrier, Maya, went missing from her California home recently. Persistent efforts to locate Maya went in vain, but as Rick wrote in his GoFundMe campaign, he had a "crazy feeling" that the dog was under someone's care who temporarily needed her. "Maya means magic and that’s what this dog is," Rick stated.

Turns out, Maya strayed around and ended up at an area inhabited by homeless people near East Hollywood. One of the inhabitants gifted Maya to James, who had recently been bereaved by the loss of his own dog. James, also homeless and living out of his car, took Maya in, and soon noticed the dog tag with her name and a number on it. Without a cell phone, he had to wait until the following day to make the call.

"I can't truly express the emotions I felt when I finally got that call," Rick wrote. "I could feel the warmth of James' heart through that conversation." Once James figured out that Maya belonged to someone else, knowing the feeling of loss first-hand, he had made the right decision to contact the owner and ensure Maya's return.

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Rick says that the biggest lesson he took away from this was that you can't put a price on a good heart. After getting Maya back, Rick offered $200 to James, which was politely refused. James—regarded as "angel man" by Rick—was only keen on returning the pet, and wasn't looking for financial gain, although his situation begs to differ.

Rick and his mother cried of happiness upon getting their dear Maya back. Andy, James' friend, said, "Look at what you did James. Look at their faces man. You did this." James was overwhelmed by emotions and shed tears of joy. Rick managed to get James to accept the $200, but he wanted to do more than that.

Angels walk amongst us. I knew shortly after Maya ran away that someone was temporarily holding onto her. I just had this crazy feeling that she wasn’t hiding out or dead but in the company of someone that temporarily needed her. Maya means magic and that’s what this dog is. This angel man named James told me that his street name was coincidentally “Canine”. This man loves dogs and as soon as he got Maya, he fell in love. He’s been living out of his car with his pal Andy for months just trying to get by. James recently lost his own dog a week ago and has been torn up about it ever since. When Maya ran away, it didn’t take her long to join the company of some nearby homeless guys setup near my office. One of those guys was friends with James and knew how hurt he was, so decided to gift Maya over to him, I’m guessing so he could keep her forever. After a few hours James pulled Maya’s harness off and noticed her dog tag with her name and my number on it. James didn’t have a cellphone so he had to wait until today to call me. This morning I decided to make new posters offering up a cash reward for Maya. I made some vibrant colored prints and literally as my Mom and I began sticking them up on our first set of street poles, James called me. He said that once he saw that she belonged to someone, he was devastated and knew what I was going through. I can’t explain what I’m feeling right now through words. All I must say is that my faith in people just got a whole lot better. I often find that those who have nothing in this world often have the most to give. Lessons were learned today for everyone. This is going to be the greatest birthday tomorrow I’ll ever have all because of one man’s kindness. Thank you everyone for the outpouring of love and affection over these last two crazy days. Your constant support and love kept me from totally losing my mind and Ill cherish that forever. I always knew I had amazing people around me.. I just didn’t know the extent of amazingness you all had within you until this event happened. ♥️ Oh and if you want to see Maya in the future, she will now be living her entire life inside of a plastic bubble. #bubbledog #love #groundedforlife

A post shared by Rick Darge (@rickdarge) on

After the 36 hours of ordeal saw a happy ending, Rick set up a GoFundMe page to honor James' goodwill. The page has since garnered a substantial amount in donations, close to 8,000$ at the time of writing this article. Rick has a set a $10,000 target for James' benefit and believes that the contribution will go far in James' life. He never ran out of hope of finding Maya after she went missing, and now that she's been found, Rick wants to give some hope back to James.

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