Homeless Man Who Refused To Abandon His Dog In Subzero Temperatures Gets...

Homeless Man Who Refused To Abandon His Dog In Subzero Temperatures Gets A Second Chance At Life


Bernard Holland has an unbreakable bond with his 2-year-old dog Oreo.

Source: Mike Fender / The Star
Oreo first came into Holland’s life as a 4-month-old pup and the man has not left her side ever since.

Source: Mike Fender / The Star
Despite falling on hard times and winding up homeless, Holland has been braving the elements, including this frigid winter, to stay by Oreo’s side in Indianapolis.

Source: Mike Fender / The Star

Just last month, the city’s temperatures dipped below zero, making it unfit for anyone to spend a night out in the cold.

Holland knew he could spend a night at his sister’s place, but since the dog was not allowed in the house, he chose not to leave Oreo alone.

Source: Mike Fender / The Star
Holland pitched a tent just east of Downtown when he was luckily met by Horizon Houseoutreach worker Melissa Burgess found the 53-year-old and his dog.

Source: Mike Fender / The Star
Next, Ben Bierlein of Wigglebutt Doghouse—an organization that provides daycare and boarding services for dogs—came into Holland and Oreo’s life.

Source: Mike Fender / The Star

Horizon House reached out to Wigglebutt Doghouse, letting the organization know about Holland and Oreo’s situation.

Bierlein wound up generously offering a place for Oreo to stay while Holland got his life together.

Source: Mike Fender / The Star

Bierlein even paid for all of Oreo’s shots and her spaying procedure, with Holland’s consent. “She’s safe, and I know they’re taking good care of her,” says Holland. “I can tell Ben has a passion for animals.”

Holland considers himself a blessed man because Oreo is being so well taken care of now.

Source: Mike Fender / The Star

“When I got her, she was so skinny, you could see every bone in her body,” he says.

Oreo is a healthy 35-pound dog now who shares a deep, life-long bond with Holland.

Source: Mike Fender / The Star

Whenever Holland visited Oreo, both of their faces would light up. “When [Oreo] came walking out and saw Bernard, I wish I had recorded it,” Burgess recalls of a visit she accompanied Holland on. “She hadn’t seen him since Friday. It was one of the most beautiful things. She was so excited… Her tail was going 40 miles per hour. She was rolling all over, jumping. It made my heart smile.”

Ultimately, Holland says, “My plan is to get a job, get a place, reunite with Oreo and live out the rest of our lives together.”

Source: Mike Fender / The Star

He may not have much, in terms of materialistic things, but Holland has a pure heart that people like Burgess and Bierlein can’t deny. “To us, the real story here is about a man, although down on his luck and living in a tent, who would not give up on his dog,” says Bierlein. “The fact that he was willing to gut it out in sub-zero temperatures because he didn’t want to leave his dog — that’s pretty powerful.”

Luckily, the two best friends are now reunited. Holland is currently working part-time at Wigglebutt Doghouse and Oreo lives with him in a nearby motel. “Bernard’s been able to do some painting and maintenance that we needed done, and he brings Oreo over so she can play with the other dogs,” Bierlein explains.

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“It is amazing to see the change in Bernard since this all happened,” Burgess adds. “He was very sad and lost when we first encountered him, and now he is more energized and up. We are very proud of him.”

Holland and Oreo’s story is a beautiful one full of hope and we wish the two of them nothing but the best.

H/t: BarkPost, Indy Star