“I hated people. I lived in my car for ten years to isolate myself and was content to live there for the rest of my life. I had a gun in my car because I was a victim of a smash and grab. I was arrested for shoplifting granola bars and they frisked me and found the gun. I forgot I had it on me. I could afford the granola bars but had started shoplifting out of anger. I had been shoplifting for two months and I just wanted to hurt someone. I went to jail for nine days for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. While I was in jail, my car with everything I owned was towed from the parking lot. I had no one to rely on because I had isolated family. Karma gets you. The bank repossessed my car because I had quit making my payments. I lived in my storage shed on the streets after that. I went to a halfway house for 22 months and got my credit cleaned up and the charges expunged
I hated people because I didn’t understand them and I didn’t know how to interact. Growing up, I was into music and in my dream world and stayed alone so I didn’t develop social skills. I thought things would be different at college but every interaction ended in a catastrophe and it became easier to say I hate you. I hated people because I couldn’t interact with them but I saw them interacting with each other. I knew interaction was the key to happiness. I just didn’t know how to do it. I was scared of people knowing my deep dark secrets so I hated them before they hated me.
I served in the Army two times but if you don’t like people, you aren’t going to be a good soldier. It wasn’t until after I got out that I started appreciating it. Uncle Sam has helped me out since I got out.
I improved while I was living in my vehicle because I was forced to do hard things I didn’t know I could do and I started respecting myself. I still hated people, but I was getting confidence as a person and learning how to love myself. In jail, no one messed with me but I was able to interact with people a little bit. That was a big step. If I hadn’t been arrested, I wouldn’t be here today.
I also have OCD and need everything to be clean. It was like an addiction and I kept getting worse. The only time I didn’t wear gloves was when I went to bed. These puppies have helped change that. They expose me to doggie germs and I have to clean up after them and take care of them all of the time. I don’t have time to have OCD like I used to. My standards of cleanliness have been lowered and I can do other things now. I named one of my puppies Granola to remind me that I am getting better after all of the things I have been through. These puppies are also forcing me to talk with people who want to talk about them. They have given me a subject to talk about and are bringing me out of my shell. Years ago, I never could have talked to you like this.
I came to Alabama during the mandatory evacuation for Hurricane Irma. We stopped under a tree at the mall next to City of Hope Church. I slept in the car with the puppies for a few days and really liked the area. The pastor helped me find a brand new apartment here, which is what I need with my OCD. I also started going to the church. I went from someone who hated God and people to someone who needs God wants to help people and show that life can get better.
I want to help people who feel alone or don’t fit in. The ones who feel suicidal or who want to take out their anger on others. I can relate to people who are so hurt, alone and ashamed that they don’t fit into any category. I understand that pain. You can be alone for decades without seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. But there is a bigger picture that God sees even if you can’t. My story is on YouTube that shows the monster that was me. I kept it real. I wanted something so that I could look back on it when I am 70. It is called Caught Shoplifting Made Me Rich. One day I want it to show the transformation in my life.
I feel like I am just at the beginning of my story. My OCD is still so bad I can’t sit down in church, but there is a reason God put me through hell so I could relate to others. In two years, I will be a better person than I am now. “