For more than two weeks, the residents of a Houston, Texas, apartment complex saw the dog waiting at the gate every day. Sometimes they saw him sitting patiently outside one apartment’s closed door, sometimes he would half-heartedly run after their cars, almost as though he was getting his own hopes up. The loyal German Shepherd was waiting for his owner, completely unaware that the man wasn’t ever coming home again.
Hatem Abuharbid was shot and killed during a robbery at the convenience store where he worked, ABC7 reports, but there was no way that his beloved dog could possibly know that.
“You could just tell that he was a lost dog,” Cassandra Eubanks, a neighbor, told the local news station. “Of course he’s confused because he doesn’t know what’s going on. He hadn’t seen his owner in two weeks.”
The sight of the dog broke the hearts of other residents, but he reportedly refused to approach anyone — or to let them approach him. Several neighbors left a food dish and water bowl for the dog, while others asked for help on social media. Maranda Perez saw one of those posts, and decided that she would try to do something about it.
“As a German shepherd, he didn’t stand a chance,” Perez told ABC7. “It just broke my heart to hear that the poor animal lost his owner, his best friend.”
She and her own dog spent an hour trying to comfort the Shepherd, to allow her to pet him. He bolted up three flights of stairs, but Perez was eventually able to put a leash on him and lead him to her car. Perez said that she will keep him for a week but, after that, Abuharbid’s brother would like to take the dog. Perhaps the two of them can heal, together.