Safe haven found | Berwick Star News
Emily Chapman Laing
Homeless duo 34-year-old Scott and three-year-old Razor were showered with generosity over the King’s Birthday long weekend.
“There’s hope for the homeless,“ Scott said.
Scott and Razor began the weekend on Saturday 10 June sleeping on the street outside Cranbourne Park Shopping Centre, where Scott said the security team had gifted Razor with a bed and his very own security vest.
The weekend ended with Scott and Razor having half a house to themselves after the community rallied to find them a safe haven from the cold.
“It doesn’t actually happen like that really,“ Scott said.
“A lot of people are homeless for different reasons and sometimes you just have to make things visual for other people to see that not everybody out there is looking for drugs.
“They’re actually trying to change, to do the right thing.“
Nicole’s mum noticed Scott when she was working in Cranbourne, prompting Nicole to set up a Facebook post looking for a safe place for him to stay.
“We came back down an hour later, took him soup and a hot chocolate and went through the offers,“ Nicole said.
While Nicole, her mum and Scott’s future housemate Hayley were cautious at first, Nicole said they found Scott to be genuine, kind and not at all predatory.
“I just asked him questions whether he liked it or not,“ Nicole said.
“If he was going to come here to Hayley, I wanted to make sure she was going to be safe and that I wasn’t letting just anyone into her house.
“But he answered everything truthfully and he was fine.“
On Sunday 11 June, local Hampton Park man Robert picked Scott and Razor up and offered them his couch for the night.
“He’s got two kids himself and I felt like it was a test to see exactly what the puppy was like with kids and that sort of stuff,“ Scott said.
By Monday, he was gifted half of a house, which he now shares with Cranbourne single mum Hayley and her daughter.
Over the days since then, donations have been pouring in to get Scott and Razor the household furnishings they need, from couches, to a bed, to TVs, clothes and more.
Nicole said she was surprised when most of the people reaching out to offer Scott a place to stay were single mums.
Scott and Nicole chocked it up to maternal instinct and the fact many of those offering had survived their own traumatic pasts.
Once he found himself on the street, Scott said he was left without options.
“Having a dog it’s hard enough as it is to get a place,“ he said.
“But when your ID is taken from you, you can’t get a house.
“I can’t just go into a real estate and be like ’Hey, give me a house, I have no ID though’.“
Scott said this left him on the street “being watched by everyone and used by everyone“, especially those who “aren’t really homeless“.
“People need to understand not all of them are actually homeless.
“Some of them are just trying to use the money to get drugs instead of food, then going back to their sharehouse.“
Scott said there are also issues with “undercover cops“ pretending to be homeless to get information on dealers.
Victoria Police were unable to confirm or deny this claim.
The winter weather wasn’t a concern for Scott, who considers himself “a wanderer“.
“I’m used to the weather and I’m pretty outdoorsy,“ he said.
“When I wander sometimes there’s no roof, or walls.
“You’ve always got nature out there.“
Razor came into Scott’s life two years ago, given as a gift when he was 16 months old.
Scott said Razor is an army trained Cane Corso, a security dog who knows his commands and keeps Scott safe on the street.
Now that the duo have the comfort of a home, Razor has gone from alert security dog to a sweet lap puppy.
“When he’s at home he tends not to listen to anything,“ Scott said.
“But when he’s out in the street, it’s all commands.“
On the street, Scott was sometimes approached with disdain from passersby who considered him selfish for having Razor by his side, but Razor wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I can have him off lead and sleep all night, for 12 hours straight, and he’ll still be there in the morning and wouldn’t even leg it,“ he said.
Scott said being homeless and having a pet, people tend to help the pet more than the person.
“Whenever people saw me angry it was mainly because I turned around to certain people because of they way they handled handing over dog food and the comments they would say with it,“ he said.
“They’d say he needs to make sacrifices, to put Razor in Pets of the Homeless, but they’ll take your dog when you don’t want to be separated,“ Nicole added.
Scott also explained how pedestrians would pat Razor without any caution or permission.
“98 per cent of people will actually walk up and pat him,“ he said.
“I’d have a crack at them because you can’t just pet someone else’s dog.
“Especially his type of dog when you hear all the news about dog attacks, why would you just go up and pat them and then call the council and say there’s a scary looking dog.“
Razor now has two new friends to help him get used to his new home, German Shepherd Mia and Greyhound Stewie and he has grown very fond of his human housemates too.
“As soon as he hears the other housemates voice, he starts sooking for them,“ Scott said.
“He’s trained to look after the family, that’s his role.“
Scott said the one thing he wishes the community would understand about people who live on the street is “some of them are actually trying“.
“And that, you know, some of them turn into psychos because they’re pushed to it, because maybe they don’t have the willpower to control it.
“Some people snap, especially if they’ve got a mental illness, and they’re getting sick of asking for help.
“Sometimes jail is just better, it’s three meals a day instead of sitting there with a hat asking for people to help.“