Sitting on the sidewalk near the Union Square subway station and the Whole Foods store was Dawn. Twenty-something, with reddish blonde hair and silver facial piercings, she sat with her dog tucked between her legs. Her dog's name is Tabitha. She is a large affable brown and white boxer who rose to sniff the stranger who stopped to talk with Dawn, in an obvious show of protectiveness.

Like most of the homeless who take up a space on the sidewalks of New York, Dawn had a hand lettered cardboard sign. It was more extensive than most, and the writer of this sign is obviously educated and articulate. It explains: the shelters will not take her dog, so she is living out on the street rather than abandoning her Tabitha.

Dawn is from San Francisco originally, and has traveled around the country in the grand tradition of such folks as Woody Guthrie. She doesn't mind letting you know that she's a "tagger," which to me translates into someone with an artistic bent. She also enjoys skateboarding. She was in the San Francisco junior symphony as a kid--played flute and piccolo--and she made it to second chair, with first being the best. Not too shabby.

So how did she get here, to the Big Apple? She was separated from her traveling companion when her friend was deported back to Montreal-- through no fault of her own, Dawn assures you. They had been staying in Detroit, and Dawn just couldn't deal with the climate and /or culture there.

In New York we have recently enjoyed a long stretch of mild weather, which is predicted to end very soon. Dawn said her immediate needs are a sleeping bag, and a backpack. She is in Union Square often, she said. If you can help, look for her and Tabitha in front of the subway station near Whole Foods.

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