“No birthday is truly complete without a cake crowned by a flickering candle. With just one annual wish, the possibilities seem endless—perhaps a new car, a getaway to Malibu, or even a hope for global harmony or boundless wealth. Yet, in the heartwarming tale that unfolded, one man’s dream came true almost immediately after blowing out the candles.
In a touching scene, a homeless man orchestrated a simple birthday celebration for his two canine companions, serenading them with ‘Happy Birthday,’ embracing them with hugs, and indulging them with cake—all played out on the steps of a public park, his only haven. Little did he know that change was on the horizon.”
As always, don’t forget to leave your thoughts below. Let’s get into the story!
One sunny evening, a man walking through a park in Bucaramanga, Colombia, saw a homeless man throwing what seemed to be a birthday party for his pet dogs. The man named Choco was sitting on stairs alongside his companions Shaggy and Nena, almost as if basking in the late sunshine, however, the party hats sitting atop of the pup’s heads told a different story.
The bystander decided to capture the event on camera and we’re very glad he did as what happened next is truly heartwarming. Choco gave each of the sleepy pups some pets before unveiling a small cake and candles. He then started singing to his two companions a version of ‘Happy Birthday’. It appeared that it was Shaggy’s birthday and Choco was throwing him a little party.
During the song, the two candles were lit up, Choco affectionately petting and clapping to the pups in celebration. Soon the candles were blown out and each dog received a kiss on their tiny puppy cheeks. The man then grabbed a small plastic knife, looking to cut the cake and the pups finally started gaining more interest.
Choco, of course, cut the first pieces to give to his dogs, offering more to each of them from his own plate and it’s hard not to get emotional over the fact that the cake, candles and party hats probably cost the man a lot of money, but he still put in all that effort for his friends to have the celebration they deserved. It seemed that Choco was wiping a few tears himself.
Could someone please cut the onions in the other room? Thanks. Bring some tissues back as well.
The man then watched the birthday boy finish up his cake, leaning in to give him a hug. The other puppy received more kisses afterwards, whilst Shaggy did a sneaky sneak and started monching on the rest of the cake. Can’t say I wouldn’t do the same.
After ending the video, the person filming approached Choco to ask about their lives and to offer help. It was revealed that Choco had spent the last several years living on the streets after escaping an abusive home. Despite the hardship, he’d made sure that Shaggy and Nena were always taken care of to the best of his ability.
Once the video was posted, it quickly went viral, amassing over 440K views. Lots of people decided to come in and help the little family out and get them back on their feet.
The park where the festivities were held has become a gathering spot for other animal lovers, who donated food and other supplies for both Choco and his pups. They also had the man pose for pictures with their own pups for a little bit of fun, but that was just the beginning.
Someone gifted Choco a phone and he was able to start an Instagram account, which now has over 180K followers. On one Instagram Live he opened up about his life, stating that he’s originally from the municipality of El Peñón.
Shaggy was celebrating his 4th birthday and Nena’s 11th birthday would be celebrated in November. He also shared his dream to pursue music and to open an animal shelter. Choco has been selling some shirts, also donating a percentage of the profits to stopping animal abuse.
It seems that whatever he wished for on those candles, they are working their magic and things are finally going better for this man and his beloved pets. But there have been discussions as to why homeless people take on caring for animals when they’re struggling enough to provide for themselves as is. Let’s look into that a little more.
The sad truth is that no one ends up homeless for no reason, some at completely no fault of their own. Family violence, a shortage of affordable housing, physical and/or mental health issues, unemployment or job loss, and drug and alcohol abuse are some of the most common reasons for why people become homeless.
Fred Victor, a social service charitable organization, points to the fact that living on the streets can be a very dehumanizing existence, in which “people act like you’re invisible – or worse, they want you to make yourself invisible.”
Isolation, fear and constant uncertainty are factors that would affect the state of being of any person and having a pet there for comfort and a bit of protection can make a world of difference to those that have little to nothing.
Having a pet can be a major contributing factor to a person’s survival, not only because of their unconditional love but also because of the responsibility that comes with taking care of them. Many studies have shown that having a pet decreases the use of drugs and alcohol and limits high-risk behavior in the fear of losing the animal companion.
However, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword as Louis argue that pet ownership has been suggested to perpetuate homelessness by restricting access to support services, especially housing. It is very common that people are forced to choose between a shelter bed and staying on the street with their pet and, needless to say, most people choose the latter.
We have a long road ahead when it comes to solving or at least bettering the issue, however, it does start with our perception of homelessness and the person suffering. We tend to have a very rigid opinion of what a homeless person is like, how they’re potentially dangerous or unpredictable.
Victoria Lawson, a professor at the University of Washington, stated: “There is a villainization of poor people, and the lack of services available is connected to how people are prioritized. We need to start to think critically about how we understand ‘the other’; seeing homeless people as flawed and inadequate allows us to see ourselves as stable and good.”
More homeless shelters, tent cities and housing that could accept pets should be the first steps being taken. Then there are bigger issues to tackle, such as access to mental health care or affordable housing, and the surplus of animals bred to maintain a pet industry.
The division in the public persists, one group showing sympathy for the pet, but not the person, questioning the quality of the pet’s care. And on the other end are those that sympathize with those in unfortunate circumstances, wanting to help but not knowing how.
According to Love To Know, the main thing is to educate yourself on the issue and aim to dispel any stereotypes or stigma regarding homelessness. Donate necessities to local shelters and money if you have it. Otherwise, volunteer your time to help those in need. A little goes a long way.
At the end of the day, the homeless do take care of their pets and have a lot of love to give them; and to some degree, both save each other.
It seems things are going well for Choco and his pups. The man has publicized his phone number as well as his PayPal account for those that wish to help them out. But it seems that they’ve already got something that others can only wish for upon a birthday candle. And in Choco’s own words: “A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won’t be so bad.”