How a beachwood woman helped a homeless man who refused to give up his dog

Susan McGrath was pulling on a McDonald’s drive-through in the Bayville section of Berkeley on Sunday morning.

In the rain, a man in a light flannel jacket was sitting in front of him with his dog.

“I ordered six breakfast sandwiches for him and my dog,” McGrath said. “I turned to get out of the car and started talking to him, and he started crying.”

McGrath, a 62-year-old mother of three US military personnel and owner of two dogs, had both dogs in the car that morning. I fed the man, listened to him, went home and posted about the encounter. Social media.

In this way, an incredible chain reaction of tenderness began.

Help the homeless: Lunch breaks, family promised charities can merge and save the lives of homeless people

Dustin Magguard and Surfer Baby first found by Susan McGrath on Sunday.

Dustin Magguard and Surfer Baby first found by Susan McGrath on Sunday.

A dog that “saved my life”

The man is 42-year-old Dustin Magguard, who came to New Jersey from Florida two years ago. His eight-year-old dog is a surfer baby named in honor of Dustin’s late fiancé Ashley Wilson, who died in a horrific car accident in 2014.

Wilson’s Ford Focus Crushed under a tractor trailer on the Florida Highway, Magguard fell into deep depression. A friend gave him a surfer baby, and a puppy to help him recover.

“She saved my life,” he said of the dog. “I lost my fiancé and it crushed me. I drank myself and died. I wouldn’t have survived. Now I couldn’t imagine my life without her (surfers) Baby). “

Watch: Listen more from Dustin in the video above this story.

That’s part of how he fell asleep on the ground behind the Bayville strip mall on Saturday night. Maggard said he came to Berkeley in the summer of 2020 and reunited with his teenage son and boy’s mother. As confirmed by Asbury Park Press, the domestic conflict led to the expulsion from his home on Saturday. No criminal charges were filed, but a temporary injunction was issued.

According to Maggard, Berkeley police tried to find a place to spend the night with him, but none of the shelters they called could accommodate his dog. So he got some blankets from the care of his pets and spent a freezing night next to the dumplings.

“There is no way I can give up on her,” Maggard said. “I was on the verge of hypothermia, but there was no way to give up on this dog.”

How did it work? Revisit Toms River’s family with six homeless brothers

Dustin Magguard and Surfer Baby Susan McGrath (right)

Dustin Magguard and Surfer Baby Susan McGrath (right)

“What a heavenly blessing”

Enter McGrath, who moved to Beachwood two years ago from Rahway, Union County. She has a great feel for animals. One of her dogs was rescued by her son, who is serving in Afghanistan with the New Jersey Army National Guard (he is currently a Raway police officer in charge of animal management).

After the first encounter between Maggard and Surfer Baby, McGrath went home and, with Dustin’s permission, posted on the Facebook page “Beachwood Neighborhood Discussion & Watch.” Then she returned to McDonald’s to help the pair find a shelter.

“When I returned, the car was pulling up in a coat (for Dustin),” she said. Two Beachwood residents, Tracy Carter and Melissa Reinertsen, first appeared.

McGrath called and found a nearby motel 6 where Magguard could be with his dog.

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

The roof above his head: After spending 18 years in the Toms River Forest, a homeless veteran found a home

Dustin Magguard and Susan McGrath (right)

Dustin Magguard and Susan McGrath (right)

Then she updated her original Facebook post. The stranger paid for another four nights at the motel until January 16th. Dozens of good people appeared there, dropping food, clothing, and other merchandise until Magguard’s room was full. McGrath has kindly posted another post asking people to quit — they’ve run out of space.

“Susan was great-what a heavenly blessing,” Maggard said. “The whole community has come together. I am very happy and blessed.”

McGrath praised his fellow residents of Beachwood, stating that “they are wonderful,” and pointed out offers of assistance from all over the state. What McGrath and Magguard are thinking about next, people have offered to pay for an additional motel stay. Someone has started a $ 200 Maggard Paypal account.

Dustin Maggard recently realized that there was no place to call his hometown.When a beachwood woman crossed the road with a homeless man and his dog, she rallyed the community for help.

Dustin Maggard recently realized that there was no place to call his hometown.When a beachwood woman crossed the road with a homeless man and his dog, she rallyed the community for help.

Maggard said a friend in Tennessee offered to take him and a surfer baby. He needs a way to get there. McGrath said they were exploring options.

Asked why he was forced to approach a stranger in the rain outside McDonald’s, McGrath said he trusted his instincts. When I heard the story of Magguard, I was able to sympathize with it.

“I never leave my dog ​​behind,” she said.

Surfer baby with a stuffed animal

Surfer baby with a stuffed animal

Anyone interested in helping Dustin and Surfer Baby should send an email to Susan McGrath at [email protected]

Jerry Carino is a community columnist at Asbury Park Press, focusing on interesting people on the Jersey Shore, exciting stories and imminent issues. Contact him at [email protected]

This article was originally published in Asbury Park Press. A homeless man who never gives up on a dog with the help of a woman in Beachwood, NJ