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Unlikely friendship blossoms between two strangers

Homeless man finds a lifelong companion in Patti, a dog he looks after on Virginia Beach.

IT’S a cold chilly morning on Virginia’s main beach, the wind blows in a south westerly direction bringing with it a crispness that would leave your fingers numb. A shaggy brown dog lays in the sand next to a fishermen who has just cast out his bait, silently monitering the waves as it gently laps the shoreline.

A man with a reflective vest approaches the pooch, he squats down next to her, she sits up and fastens her eyes onto him. Her tail comes alive and she begins to lick his face.

He speaks to her in an unintelligable language only pet owners and their lifelong companions understand. Jabu Dume is a homeless man whose pet dog, Patti, is the only thing keeping him company during the lonely nights in the mangroves.

Jabu has lived on the street since he was 16, washing cars and surviving off the scraps he found in trash cans or from people giving him food was all he knew. Friends are transitional, nomadic almost, they come and go according to their needs. “Men without a spot to call home don’t stay in one place for a long time.

“When I moved to Virginia Beach, my friend Siya was given two puppies to look after. He couldn’t take care of both of them anymore so I started looking after Patti.

“We’ve been inseperable ever since. I know I have the face of a criminal but I don’t have the heart of the one and I think Patti sees that, she doesn’t judge me. When I wake up in the morning and take a walk on the beach, Patti will often follow my scent and walk by my side. She makes me feel safe,” he said.

Jabu now works as a car guard with his ever faithful companion by his side watching over him.

“She is very smart and has a special way of communicating with me. Whenever she needs water she’ll walk up to the bucket I sit on and puts her paw on it. Her favourite food is sardines so when the fishermen give that to her she gobbles it down. I normally feed her dog food that is donated but that is slowly running out,” he said.

The 32-year-old said he doesn’t expect much from the life but his dream is to work to earn a living. He made an impassioned appeal to Northglen News readers to help him out.

“I’ve never had an ID book. I’ve been offered two jobs but have never been able to secure one without a book of life. Nobody understands what it is to not have food and a home and I would like to provide a better life for myself and Patti.”


Patti loves sitting near the fishermen on Virginia Beach. Her favourite fisherman is Reservoir Hill resident Pat Archary.
Patti loves sitting near the fishermen on Virginia Beach. Her favourite fisherman is Reservoir Hill resident Pat Archary.

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