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Demetrius and Dolly: Homeless Man Finds the Perfect Companion in Homeless Dog


54-year-old Demetrius Lonberger struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, and lived as a homeless man for two long years. Dolly, a 4-year-old abused and abandoned boxer-retriever-labrador mix, also lived on the streets before being rescued. And theirs is a touching story brimming with hope, love and inspiration.

Demetrius and Dolly

Jenna Watson/IndyStar

Thankfully, today Demetrius is no longer homeless and has been living at Penn Place’s one-bedroom apartment for one year. Penn Place is a full-service and furnished residential facility built especially for those who are transitioning from homelessness.

While it is a great relief to get off the streets, and live in a decent and private space you can call your own, loneliness still crept into Demetrius’ heart. He was recieving cancer treatment, was struggling with depression, and was all alone.

demetrius and dolly

Jenna Watson/IndyStar

But all that changed thanks to a great piece of advice from a good-natured acquaintance at Penn Place. Since Demetrius was a dog-lover, it seemed like a great idea to adopt one. He followed the advice and paid a visit to the Humane Society to find a suitable companion.

Although the first meeting between Demetrius and Dolly wasn’t at all thrilling due to Dolly’s aloof behavior, the Humane Society staff commented that their laid-back personalities matched.

demetrius and dolly

Jenna Watson/IndyStar

Having made the decision to adopt Dolly, Demetrius immediately returned the following day.  He recalls: “That second time I saw her, she was waiting for me. I think she had a sense I was lonely.”

Since then, the Demetrius and Dolly have developed a deep bond. When asked about Dolly, Demetrius said, “I was homeless, she was homeless, and now we have each other. She’s meant everything to me.”

Demetrius shares his newfound purpose in life: “I have to get up and take care of her. She’s like a kid. I’ve got to walk her every morning, make sure she has fresh water and food, play fetch. She’s my companion; we’re together 24/7 unless I have to go to the doctor. She keeps me smiling, keeps me focused.”

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