After being homeless for 25 years, Ray Reyes finally has a place with a warm bed to call home again.
With the help from the community and local resources, Reyes and his dog, Heidi, are living in a one bedroom apartment in Santa Fe. Reyes shared the good news a few weeks ago with Kimberly Roman of all About the Dogs. Roman met up with Reyes and Heidi outside of Big R on St. Michael’s Drive.
Reyes recalled Roman asking him if he remembered her. “Of course I remembered her,” Reyes said. “Who can forget that beautiful smile and kindness to dogs?”
Roman and Reyes first encountered one another in 2020 when Roman saw Reyes and Heidi walking along St. Francis Drive. Not seeing a leash on Heidi, Roman pulled her vehicle over to offer one to Reyes. Happy to now see Heidi was leashed, Roman gave Reyes food, a jacket and another leash for Heidi. Last year, Roman saw the two again around Christmas.
This time, Roman was a little upset with Reyes. Heidi was wearing glitter on her eyebrows.
“I like to make people smile,” Reyes says about the eyelashes. “It’s good medicine.”
Once Roman explained to Reyes the glue and glitter could be toxic to Heidi, Reyes quickly washed it off.
Reyes, who grew up in Orange County, Calif., came to New Mexico for its drier weather and beauty of the desert after both of his parents died. After arriving in Las Vegas, N.M., Reyes decided he wanted a dog. Reyes found a man whose dog would soon have puppies. Reyes offered to buy Heidi once she was born, but the seller refused to take Reyes’ money when he learned Reyes was a homeless veteran. Reyes has also been sober from drug and alcohol abuse for 25 years. He received Heidi when she was 4 months old.
Traveling on the Blue Bus from Las Vegas to Taos, Reyes and Heidi spent four winters living in a tent with propane heat before coming to Santa Fe.
Choosing guard duty over the warm tent, Heidi would stay outside at night and Reyes would take the down sleeping bag and cover her to keep her warm.
It is clear, when you see her lying next to Reyes, that Heidi is a content, happy dog.
“Heidi belongs to God,” Reyes said. “I am honored to be her caretaker.”
Although Reyes has received offers for a bed for Heidi in their new home, Reyes has kindly refused. “My room is like a palace. She sleeps on top of the bed with me,” Reyes said.
Reyes said he could not be in a warm apartment and have a job without accepting help from the community.
“There is a solution to every problem,” Reyes said. “Sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone and have the courage to try something new. People, places and things don’t change. Only you can change.”
Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society: Doja is a Labrador retriever mix who is just over 1 year old and weighs 52 pounds. She is an enthusiastic, energetic, smart dog who has been at the shelter for 185 days. She is fun loving and enjoys being engaged with others. Doja knows basic commands, including sit and stay. She loves daily walks and does very well on a leash.
For 233 days, adorable, sweet Julie has waited for adoption and has now been at the shelter the longest of any animal. The 3-year-old, 60-pound dog enjoys leashed walks, running around the play yard and learning new tricks. Julie will sit perfectly still for a treat and excitedly will turn and hide it. When volunteers take the dog offsite for the day, Julie’s eyes light up.
These and other animals are available for adoption from the animal shelter, 100 Caja del Rio Road.
The shelter’s adoption hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Call 505-983-4309, ext. 1610, or visit SFHumaneSociety.org.
Española Humane: Mac ’n’ Cheese is an orange and white 1-year-old cat who is neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.
Cocoa recently weaned her puppies. The 3-year-old pittbull mix weighs 52 pounds and is house trained. She has sweet, soulful eyes with a gentle demeanor, and she likes cats. She can be protective of kids with other dogs.
If you have kids, she should be an only dog. She loves other dogs and does great in playgroups.
The shelter is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 505-753-8662 or visit espanolahumane.org.
Felines & Friends: Kitty Kitty was pregnant when she was rescued and she raised her kittens in foster care. Kitty Kitty is a playful, loving 18-month-old who loves to be in the same room as people but isn’t needy. She enjoys sitting quietly on a chair next to her foster mother and lying atop her cat tree, watching the birds and world go by. Kitty Kitty gets along with other cats and kids and would do well in just about any household.
Ten-month-old Pumpernickel is a polydactyl tortie. She is very playful, has the cutest little squeak, and will sleep on a lap curled up with her sister, Potato Bread, a black and gray polydactyl tabby. Potato loves to be petted, including on her belly. These girls were raised in foster together, are bonded and would love to find a home together.
Apply at FandFnm.org or visit Petco or Teca Tu to meet the nearly 160 cats and kittens available for adoption from Felines & Friends. All are microchipped, spayed or neutered and vaccinated and most have been socialized in foster homes.
Dew Paws Rescue: Peri is a 10-week-old male, 6-pound mixed breed dog in need of foster care. Peri has been diagnosed with megaesophagus and is on antibiotics for an upper respiratory illness. Peri needs a foster who can prepare and feed him his special food four times a day and will be able to hold him upright for at least half an hour after he eats. Dew Paws Rescue will supply medication and food. Call 505-412-9096 or go to email@example.com.
The Horse Shelter: Brooks is a 10-year-old, gray gelding horse who has a lot of pickup and go, and is working on learning to be more responsive to his rider. He will need an experienced rider who will not let him slip back into undesirable habits. He is stout and stands around 15 hands high. Visit thehorseshelter.org or call 505-577-4041.