Peter "Ivory" Bowling has a home. He is a tenant in an apartment building in downtown Los Angeles. He pays his rent on time and in full.
But for the last two weeks, Ivory has been sleeping on the streets. He has slept in parks, under bridges, and on public beaches. He's been attacked by robbers who cut him on his temple and ankle with a razor blade and stole his belongings.
Ivory is sleeping on the street because it's the only way he can look after Chocolate, a young pit bull he found in an abandoned building, starving and sickly, living with a homeless man and sleeping next to a dead dog.
Ivory pleaded with the dog's human companion to relinquish her and let him provide her with a better life. The man finally relented, and Ivory took Chocolate home.
But Ivory's landlord refused to allow the dog to live in the building, despite of the fact that there are other tenants with animals in their apartments.
So Ivory did the only thing he could think to do: he packed up his clothes, a sleeping bag and a few blankets, attached them to his wheelchair, headed across town and found a place on the sidewalk where he could spend the night with Chocolate.
Over the next two weeks, newly homeless, Ivory managed to clean off the pus and fecal matter caking Chocolate's coat and get her onto a healthy diet. He restored her to a normal weight. He worked with a rescuer to get Chocolate to a veterinarian a few days ago, where she has been spayed, de-wormed, and microchipped.
While Chocolate is boarded at the vet, Ivory, who has mental health issues and attempted suicide several months ago, has checked himself into a hospital for a physical and mental evaluation. He'll be reunited with Chocolate as soon as he's released.
Just as Ivory is Chocolate's only hope for food, shelter and a relatively secure future, Chocolate is Ivory's best chance at restoring himself to mental and emotional health. Ivory has grown to rely on Chocolate's love and companionship to cope with his depression and emotional instability. He is currently working hard to get her officially classified as a therapy dog.
With that credential, Ivory hopes, his landlord will have no choice but to allow Chocolate to live at home with him, taking them both off the streets and into a safe and stable home together. It's a modest wish for the holidays.
Update: A number of people have contacted the Huffington Post asking how they can help. There's a lot you can do. You can donate to help cover Chocolate's vet bills, which are currently being paid for out of pocket by a rescuer named Sasha Rose Abelson. If you're in Southern California, you can volunteer as a potential fosterer for Chocolate in case Ivory is unable to get her licensed as a therapy dog. Please contact Sasha at firstname.lastname@example.org to donate, volunteer as a fosterer, or to find out how else you can help both Ivory and Chocolate.