Note: The names of the subject and his dog have been changed for confidentiality reasons.
Marcus and his dog Pickles survived being homeless together.
The pair had spent much of their lives on the notorious streets of Skid Row in Los Angeles.
About the only thing they couldn’t survive was being apart. So when Marcus finally found affordable housing in the area, he insisted on bringing his best friend, the dog he had met on the streets, with him.
It didn’t matter that Sanders’ new home was a single room not much bigger than a closet.
“He essentially shares everything with him, and they go everywhere together,” John Hwang, a photographer who chronicles the lives of people living on Skid Row, tells iHeartDogs.
During his many visits to Skid Row, Hwang had forged a special bond with Marcus.
“We hadn’t seen each other in a while, but we often text or message each other,” Hwang says. “He’s like an older brother to me.”
This week, Hwang decided to pay Marcus and Pickles a long overdue visit.
“As I’m in front of his apartment about to call him to let him know I was there — he didn’t know I was coming — they are standing right behind me,” Hwang says.
“(Marcus) has this big smile on his face and said to me ‘I had this feeling I had to come downstairs, and here you are.’ Then we give each other a big hug.”
The first thing Hwang noticed as he stepped into the tiny room was the missing bed.
“I saw the mattress leaning up against the wall unused,” Hwang says. “On the floor was the dog bed, a dog bowl for food and water, and a bunch of blankets strewn out.
“The blankets and the dog bed were basically one big pile. There was no dog section or person section, it was just one big jumble of blankets and dog bed.”
Hwang had to ask the obvious question: “Where do you sleep?”
Marcus pointed to the floor.
“There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for him,” he said.
No, nothing could keep Marcus and Pickles apart. And when two souls are meant to be by each other’s side, even inches can feel like miles.