Mike is one of those individuals whose creativity and compassion is contagious to all of those around him. As he was telling me his story, he spoke with his hands, which were filled with unique turquoise rings with a story attached to each one. Mike has been on the streets for a year but 2 months ago, he met the companion of his dreams. A beautiful girl named Delilah, with a white coat of fur and a wagging tail, she was the dream companion for Mike’s travels. Mike mentioned that all of his friends call him Rooster and that since we were now friends I was more than welcome to call him Rooster.

Mike grew up as a fun-loving hippie, who lived to beach camp in Stayton Beach and travel across the United States raising hell with his friends. As the years went on, the need to grow up approached him all too fast, forcing him to do physical labor roofing housing. He loved what he did and was grateful for the job to put food on the table but his body was overworked, leaving him strained. He began having extreme pain in shoulders, back, and knees, leading him to be prescribed morphine. Morphine is a highly addictive opioid which is used to treat severe pain. The opioid epidemic is huge within the United States, leaving people addicted and broke with nowhere to turn but street drugs. This is exactly what happened to Mike, morphine made his pain bearable and when the doctors stopped writing the prescriptions, Mike turned to heroin for a cheap fix. Mike mentioned that this was by far his worst mistake and if he could go back he would. His need for the drug became more important than paying bills and eating, making him lose everything. He was forced onto the streets after being short on rent.

Mike felt defeated and lost within the world until he met Delilah. 2-months-ago, Mike was sitting at a bus stop talking with a man whose girlfriend was attempting to make money to get food. Mike was fascinated by how beautiful their dog was and began showing interest in her. The man spoke about how they were barely affording a small studio apartment and how the dog was too large for the space. Mike had been living in an abandoned parking lot and had tons of space for the dog. Mike proposed a trade for some money for food and found his new best friend.

Delilah is a Pitbull-Labrador mix who is 7-months old. She is an extremely faithful companion for Mike and has even saved his life when he was having a seizure. Mike added that she stood over him only letting the paramedics get to him. She was a natural born service animal who is dedicated to protecting Mike. Mike shares all of his food with Delilah and even shared the pizza that we at Can You Spare A Story provided that day! The two are inseparable and are perfect companions for a journey.

Mike has recently bought a van that he lives out of and is trying to get his life back together. Today, he is no longer using opioids or heroin to ease his chronic pain but has instead turned to medical marijuana. He has found that his pain is bearable when he smokes and he can function better than when he was using harsher drugs. Mike believes that he has been protected by his passion and love for life. He is the kind of man who would give the shirt off his back for someone in need and I truly believe his kindness is genuine.

Mike, if you are ever reading this.. I hope you find your way back to the life you have dreamt of and I hope you continue to let your passion guide you finding friends along the way.

Thanks for reading,

Syd

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