Pals in a new leash of life
Dog lover’s care saved homeless man
WHEN Debbie Organ helped rescue the dog of homeless man John, neither of them knew it would be the beginning of a friendship that would ultimately save his life.
In 2013, John was beaten up while sleeping rough in Sydney’s CBD, prompting his fox terrier Carrie to run away in terror.
Ms Organ — who saw John regularly on her way to and from work in Pitt St Mall — learned of Carrie’s disappearance and posted a reward online.
Before long, she found Carrie and returned with the dog to introduce herself to John. The two became friends.
“Initially it was the dog (that compelled me to act) because I’m a big animal lover, but then I sat down to talk to John,” Ms Organ said.
“People would come up and say hello to him, but one day there was a very good looking young man in a suit who started swearing at me in the middle of Pitt St Mall, saying ‘you’re encouraging homelessness by sitting with this idiot’ — and then John stood up to protect me.” In 2017, John had a fall and was rushed to hospital in a critical condition. He needed surgery but, with no legal guardian to give consent, doctors could not operate. Once again Ms Organ — and Carrie — came to the rescue. Ms Organ’s number was on Carrie’s collar and when a stranger found the dog alone she was called, triggering a search for John. Eventually, Ms Organ found him in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. “John had nobody to sign his consent forms and nobody to care for him. So I had to become his legal guardian,” she said. “I went through the guardianship process. They weren’t sure he was of sound mind — he’s much better now.” For her selflessness, Ms Organ has been nominated for a Pride of Australia award. John recovered after his operation and Ms Organ helped him find accommodation in a Belrose nursing home near her house in Frenchs Forest.
John’s best friends Debbie Organ and fox terrier Carrie in Sydney. Picture: Richard Dobson