Photo by myself on Sixth Avenue in Midtown.
A man named John sat with his dog, Aria, Monday afternoon. A sign in front of him reads 'Everyone needs a little help now and then'.
I'd seen John earlier this year and gave him some money. You often see homeless people on the streets, but only a small percentage have dogs with them.
Monday I stopped to speak with John. Aria, a pit bull mix, was extremely friendly, wiggling about and giving me hearty licks. She has an ID tag because she is a trained therapy dog.
'You've been here a long time,' I said. 'I saw you earlier this year.'
'Not that long', he said. 'About two months' (!).
I have mixed feelings about people on the streets with animals, since the animals are used to induce sympathy. In my case, it worked, though Aria obviously cares for her master.
On more than one occasion, I've seen mothers sitting on the sidewalk with their small children, requesting donations. It is very, very sad.
Related posts: Portrait of a Guy, on Sixth Avenue, Portrait of a Musician, in Midtown, and Portrait of Five New Yorkers, on the Upper East Side.