Local group keeps homeless man's most prized possession safe
WHEN the wind is whistling, his body is trembling and his stomach is grumbling, Jeremy can't count on his next meal being warm or being fresh, but he can count on his dog Muffin.
Last month, the homeless Rockhampton man was seen searching through bins to find food scraps for Muffin's next meal, but thanks to Central Queensland Animal Society, Muffin's welfare is no longer a concern.
CQ Animal Society founder Loz Batley said when she heard about the challenges Jeremy faced to feed Muffin she had to help.
"Jeremy was found searching local bins along the riverbank for food for his dog, Muffin," Mrs Batley said.
"One of our carers, Cher, took the time to stop and chat with him and found out they were homeless and living under a bridge."
Within two days, Mrs Batley visited Jeremy and Muffin - she said from first glance their bond was undeniable.
"Jeremy's face lights up when you ask him about Muffin," she said.
"Muffin is such a well trained boy. He constantly looks to Jeremy for guidance."
Mrs Batley said when she first went met the pair they were sitting in their makeshift home under a bridge, but she could tell Jeremy was a "really nice guy" who had just lost his way.
When Mrs Batley called out, Jeremy rose instantly and nudged Muffin in a way that signified he should show respect.
"I'll never forget Jeremy stood up, smoothed his shirt out and nudged Muffin as if to say 'mate, don't be rude'," she said.
Mrs Batley said when she first spoke to Jeremy he had no identification and had no access to Centrelink payments.
She urged him to apply for assistance but he said he couldn't leave Muffin or his belongings because they would be stolen.
From that moment, Mrs Batley went above her duties as an animal welfare carer and started helping Jeremy.
She took Jeremy to Centrelink and waited in her car with his most prized possession, Muffin.
Mrs Batley also posted Jeremy's story on her personal Facebook page and watched the donations pour in from across the state.
"Within 24 hours Muffin had multiple bags of food, a new bed and blankets, flea, tick and worm treatment for three months," she said.
He also had "a vet visit booked in, a new brush, some treats and toys, shampoo and conditioner, a brand new coat and a new collar and lead."
The donations didn't stop there.
"Jeremy had a new sleeping bag, some warm clothes, some non perishable meals and a new phone so we could keep in contact with him," she said.
"All delivered the next morning before my first shift at work."
Jeremy is still homeless but he doesn't live under the bridge any more.
Thanks to the CQ Animal Society, he has a phone and is working towards finding a place to live.
But his biggest concern has been answered - he never has to worry Muffin won't be provided for again.