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    Homeless Dog Finds Home at Shelter

    Bear seems happy to be part of a great team of Salvation Army volunteers, along with Kathy Brown, Phillip Nash and Mike Hernandez. Hernandez is the dog’s caretaker, but Bear belongs to everyone at the Salvation Army San Bernardino Corps and serves as source of comfort to guests of the Hospitality House emergency family shelter. Photo by Chris Sloan

    Volunteers Kathy Brown, Phillip Nash, Mike Hernandez and mascot Bear are the faces guests of the San Bernardino Hospitality House will most likely become familiar with during their stay. The Salvation Army adopted Bear because, not unlike human guests, he decided he liked it at The Salvation Army. He hung out there for six months while shelter workers tried unsuccessfully to find his previous owner. Photo by Chris Sloan

    Hospitality House volunteer Kathy Brown pets Bear, who is ready for a walk. Bear lives at, and serves as the official mascot of, the Salvation Army Hospitality House emergency family shelter in San Bernardino. Photo by Chris Sloan.

    (SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.)  Like many he meets at the Salvation Army’s Hospitality House emergency family shelter, Bear previously called the streets of San Bernardino “home.”
    Now this terrier mix makes the shelter feel more like home. Bear is a stray, taken in by the shelter’s live-in caretaker Mike Hernandez, after being officially adopted by the Salvation Army.
    “The kids love him,” Hernandez said. “He is the shelter’s mascot and the perfect pet.”
    Although Bear is gentle around the children, Hernandez said, he’s also a good watch dog, letting the shelter’s volunteers and staff know when someone comes to the door.
    “Before we adopted him, he had been hanging around the shelter for about six months,” Hernandez said. “We don’t know where he came from.”
    “He just wandered into the homeless shelter, not unlike many of the humans who have stayed there,” said Brian Cronin, treasurer of the Salvation Army advisory board and president of Animals R First (ARF), a non-profit organization that helps find homes for abandoned dogs and cats.
    For six months before The Salvation Army adopted Bear, the Hospitality House workers asked everyone who lived nearby if they knew to whom the dog belonged. No one knew.
    The Hospitality House staff told Cronin about Bear, because as the director of the San Bernardino County Animal Control Department, president of ARF, and genuine animal lover, they knew he could help finalize the adoption.
    ARF paid for Bear’s neutering, vaccinations and grooming just before the adoption was made official.
    “There are so many homeless animals living in the streets,” Cronin said. “This dog we knew would have a quality home by living at the Hospitality House. Besides, dogs can be a great comfort in times of distress, and guests of the Hospitality House often need that comfort. We felt it was a perfect match”
    About the Salvation Army San Bernardino Corps The Salvation Army may be able to provide emergency services including food; lodging for homeless or displaced families; clothing and furniture; assistance with rent or mortgage and transportation when funds are available. The Salvation Army Team Radio Network assists rescue workers and evacuees in such disasters as fires.
    The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian church and also offers evangelical programs for boys, girls and adults. One of the largest charitable and international service organizations in the world, The Salvation Army has been in existence since 1865 and in San Bernardino since 1887, supporting those in need without discrimination. Donations may always be made online at www.salvationarmyusa.org or by calling 1-(800)-SAL-ARMY
    For local help call (909) 888-1336.


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