CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Earlier this month, West Virginia Capitol Police went the extra mile to help a man and his four-legged companion. They paid for hotel rooms and meals, never once choosing to look the other way.
Police noticed a man was hanging out with his dog at the War Memorial and other places throughout the city.
“He was a little tiny fella and he had a Vietnam veteran Boonie hat on,” said Capitol Police Lt. Robert Herald, who is also a veteran. “He’s 75 years old, combat veteran, Vietnam and he was at one time a very successful businessman.”
Capitol police first noticed the man in early October. They could tell he needed some help and started talking to him to see what they could do.
They found out he was from Alabama. 13 News isn’t releasing the man’s name at the request of his family. The officers learned the man had been a victim of a scam losing his life’s savings. His family had no idea he’d ended up living on the streets in Charleston, West Virginia with his dog Smitty.
“It was obvious how connected they were, the two of them and it was nice to see another dog lover,” said Sgt. Scott Duff.
Officers helped pay for meals and hotel rooms and even took him to the airport after the man’s family bought a plane ticket for him to fly home. But Smitty wasn’t allowed to fly without vaccination records. So Sgt. Duff took him home.
“I’ve got to say ‘thanks’ to the wife who got him on a regular diet, regular walkings and lots of cuddle time. He did really well and got along with all of our other dogs,” Sgt. Duff said.
But the arrangement was only temporary because officers had been working with the family to reunite Smitty and his owner. A family member is traveling to West Virginia this week to give Smitty a ride home.
“What we did, every officer here would have done the same thing,” said Lt. Herald.
The officers also praised the Yeager Airport team for helping to make sure the man made it safely on the plane. They are still maintaining contact with the man’s family and even getting photo updates.