Doggie Diaries | A Man and His Mutt

dogAlberto Reyes Sugar and Toasty

Meet Toasty and his mutt, Sugar. They sometimes hang out on the corner of Second Avenue and 10th Street at St. Mark’s Church. The church isn’t thrilled about the “crusties” who loiter outside, especially after a recent act of vandalism. But when the weather’s nice, they can be found sitting in a group, drinking, laughing, sleeping, fighting, and hanging out with their dogs.

“Sugar just makes me happy. I don’t know, she just does,” said Toasty as he petted Sugar’s head. He said he rescued her from the home of his ex-girlfriend’s mom in the Bronx six months ago. “She had him in a tiny cage, you can tell by the marks on her tail,” he said, pointing to an area on Sugar’s tail where the hair grew in patches because of scarring. Sugar looked up at Toasty and it seemed she was comfortable with her new owner.

dog 2Alberto Reyes

On this warm afternoon, as Sugar lay on the hot cobblestones in front of the church, panting in the heat, several of Toasty’s friends came to ask him if Sugar needed water. The travelers all seemed to know the dog and wanted to make sure she was being taken care of. She was given some water to drink from a large plastic bottle. Next to Toasty’s wife, Tammy, there were three small bags of dog food. “We find most of them, or we get them from people,” said Toasty.

Another friend said, “Just because a kid is homeless, doesn’t mean that that they don’t take care of their dog. Sometimes they take better care of their dogs than rich people.”

Sugar and Toasty are preparing for a trip to California in the coming weeks. “Getting out of the city is the hard part, it costs money. But once we are out, it’s really easy to hop on a train,” he said. Toasty had seen a lot of the U.S. this way. Now he’ll be traveling with his new best friend Sugar.