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‘What a godsend’: How Beachwood lady helped homeless man who refused to surrender his canine


Susan McGrath was pulling into the McDonald’s drive-thru within the Bayville part of Berkeley on Sunday morning when she noticed one thing that didn’t look proper.

A person sporting a light-weight flannel jacket was sitting out entrance, within the rain, with a canine.

“I ordered six breakfast sandwiches for him and the dog,” McGrath stated. “I pulled around front, got out of the car, started talking to him, and he started to cry.”

McGrath, a 62-year-old mom of three U.S. servicemen and proprietor of two canines herself — each canines had been within the automobile together with her that morning — gave the person the meals, listened to his story, drove residence and posted concerning the encounter on social media.

Thus started an unimaginable chain response of kindness.

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Dustin Maggard and Surfer Baby as Susan McGrath first discovered them Sunday.

A canine that ‘saved my life’

The man is Dustin Maggard, a 42-year-old who got here to New Jersey two years in the past from Florida. His 8-year-old canine is Surfer Baby, named in honor Dustin’s late fiancée, Ashley Wilson, who died in a horrific automobile accident in 2014.

After Wilson’s Ford Focus was crushed beneath a tractor-trailer on a Florida Highway, Maggard fell right into a deep despair. Friends gave him Surfer Baby, then a pup, to assist him get better.

“She saved my life,” he stated of the canine. “Losing my fiancée, it crushed me. I was drinking myself to death. I never would have survived. Now I couldn’t imagine my life without her (Surfer Baby).”

WATCH: Hear extra from Dustin within the video atop this story.

That’s a part of how he wound up sleeping on the bottom behind a Bayville strip mall Saturday night time. Maggard stated he got here to Berkeley in the summertime of 2020 to be reunited along with his teenage son and the boy’s mom. As confirmed by the Asbury Park Press, a home dispute led to his expulsion from their residence Saturday. No felony expenses had been filed, however a short lived restraining order was issued.

Maggard stated Berkeley police tried to seek out him a spot to spend the night time, however not one of the shelters they referred to as would accommodate his canine. So he obtained some blankets from Fur Balls pet grooming and spent a freezing night time subsequent to a dumpster.

“There’s no way I’ll ever give her up,” Maggard stated. “I was on the verge of hypothermia, but there was no way I was giving up this dog.”

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Susan McGrath (right) with Dustin Maggard and Surfer Baby

Susan McGrath (proper) with Dustin Maggard and Surfer Baby

‘What a godsend’

Enter McGrath, who moved to Beachwood two years in the past from Rahway, in Union County. She has an ideal really feel for animals. One of her canines was rescued by a son serving in Afghanistan with the New Jersey Army National Guard (he’s now a police officer in Rahway accountable for animal management).

After her preliminary encounter with Maggard and Surfer Baby, McGrath drove residence and posted about them, with Dustin’s permission, on the “Beachwood Neighborhood Discussion & Watch” Facebook web page. Then she drove again to the McDonald’s to assist the pair discover shelter.

“By the time I got back, cars were pulling up with coats (for Dustin),” she stated. Two Beachwood residents, Tracy Carter and Melissa Reinertsen, had been first on the scene.

McGrath referred to as round and located a close-by Motel 6 the place Maggard might keep along with his canine.

“I drove him there and paid for four nights for them,” McGrath stated.

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Susan McGrath (right) with Dustin Maggard

Susan McGrath (proper) with Dustin Maggard

Then she up to date her unique Facebook publish, which went viral. Strangers paid for 4 extra nights on the motel, by means of Jan. 16. Dozens of do-gooders confirmed up there, dropping off meals, clothes and different items till the stuff nearly crammed Maggard’s room. McGrath put up one other publish kindly asking individuals to cease — they’d run out of area.

“Susan has been amazing — what a godsend,” Maggard stated. “The whole community came together. I am so happy and blessed.”

McGrath praised her fellow Beachwood residents — “they’re nice,” she stated — and famous that gives to assist poured in from across the state. People have provided to pay for extra motel stays as McGrath and Maggard strive to determine what’s subsequent. And somebody began a Paypal account for Maggard with $200 in it.

Dustin Maggard recently found himself without a place to call home.  When a Beachwood woman crossed paths with the homeless man and his dog, she rallied the community to help

Dustin Maggard just lately discovered himself with out a place to name residence. When a Beachwood lady crossed paths with the homeless man and his canine, she rallied the group to assist

Maggard stated a buddy in Tennessee has provided to take him and Surfer Baby in. He simply wants a option to get there. McGrath stated they’re exploring choices.

Asked why she felt compelled to strategy a stranger within the rain exterior a McDonald’s, McGrath stated she trusted her instincts — and as soon as she heard Maggard’s story, she might empathize.

“I would never leave my dogs,” she stated.

Surfer Baby with some stuffed animals people donated

Surfer Baby with some stuffed animals individuals donated

Anyone considering serving to Dustin and Surfer Baby could e mail Susan McGrath at [email protected]

Jerry Carino is group columnist for the Asbury Park Press, specializing in the Jersey Shore’s attention-grabbing individuals, inspiring tales and urgent points. Contact him at [email protected]

This article initially appeared on Asbury Park Press: Homeless man who would not surrender his canine helped by Beachwood NJ lady

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