|For 10 years, Georgina Warren, left, was the chief caretaker of Sheba, a beloved street dog on Skid Row who was hit by a car last week and died. She was consoled during a recent sidewalk memorial service by Catherine Harris of the nearby Hippie Kitchen.|
From LOS ANGELES DOWNTOWN NEWS
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 5:04 pm | Updated: 10:10 am, Fri Jun 29, 2012. by Ryan Vaillancourt, Staff Writer |
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – Some 17 years ago, Georgina Warren was in her tent in a Skid Row parking lot when she heard the unmistakable sound of a dog in despair.
Warren, who was homeless and addicted to drugs, crawled out of her tent and walked toward the noise. She found a young German Shepard mix chained to a parking sign pole, a bowl of water just inches out of her reach.
It was hot and the dog was thirsty. Warren jogged over to a nearby mechanic and borrowed some bolt cutters, which she used to free the dog.
“After that, she followed me and wouldn’t leave me alone,” Warren said. “She just became my baby.”
Warren spent the next 10 years with the dog, but fellow street dwellers shared in the caretaking. If Warren landed in jail, which she did multiple times, someone would watch out for the pet. The animal, which could be protective of Warren’s shopping cart and aggressive toward strangers, was so widely known and respected that Warren likened her to a queen. She named her Sheba.
On Tuesday, June 27, at about 11:30 p.m., Sheba’s reign ended. She was struck by a car on Alameda Street.
Warren, who left Skid Row in 2008 and is now in recovery, teared up on Thursday at a sidewalk memorial service on Gladys Avenue that drew about a dozen current and former street dwellers, animal activists and members of the service provider and area street cleaning communities.
Lori Weise, founder of Downtown Dog Rescue, which provides an array of services for low-income dog owners, occasionally helped care for the dog. She arranged for Sheba to be spayed and was registered as a contact via the dog’s microchip. That arrangement proved crucial, as Weise was called to pick up Sheba from animal shelters 11 times. Weise always returned her to the streets of Skid Row, to whomever was taking care of her. There was always somebody, Weise said.
Sheba, Skid Row Dog, Dies at 17
“Sheba was the community’s dog,” Weise said.
Weise and others are making arrangements to have the dog’s ashes buried in the garden at the Hippie Kitchen, a Gladys Avenue service center where Sheba regularly lounged.
Contact Ryan Vaillancourt at firstname.lastname@example.org.