For some people experiencing ʜᴏᴍᴇʟᴇssɴᴇss and ɪsᴏʟᴀᴛɪᴏɴ, their pet companions serve as their only hope. These animals give them a reason to smile and celebrate, as was the case for a man in Bucaramanga, Colombia, named Choko José Luis Matos.
Earlier this year, Choko was spotted by a bystander sitting on stairs at a local park with his four-legged companions, Shaggy and Nena. At first, it looked like the trio was basking in the warm night air, but the party hats suggested this was a special day. As it turns out, the friends were celebrating Shaggy’s birthday. Before revealing a small cake and candles, Choko gave the sleepy dogs some pets. Then, he started singing them a “Happy Birthday” while clapping his hands.
Choko lit the two candles on the cake while the two dogs observed him. After the flames were blown out, the ʜᴏᴍᴇʟᴇss man gave each pup a kiss on the cheeks. He then ɢʀᴀʙʙᴇᴅ a small plastic knife to cut the cake. Choko cut a slice for each of his pets, placing the cake on paper plates before offering it to the animals. He also got his own plate and began to eat. While they ate, it seemed like Choko got emotional and started wiping tears from his eyes.
If you think about it, the party hats, plates, and candles probably cost Choko money that he could have used to buy food. But as a loving pet owner, he knew the dogs deserved a celebration. Choko then watched the birthday boy finish up his cake before giving him a hug. The other dog got more kisses from his loving owner.
After he stopped filming, the person who captured the precious moment approached Choko to ask him about their lives and offer help. He found out that Choko had ᴇsᴄᴀᴘᴇᴅ an ᴀʙᴜsɪᴠᴇ home and had spent the last several years living on the streets. Despite having no home and job, Choko made sure that Shaggy and Nena were always taken care of. After all, they were his only family, and he loved them with all of his ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ. The person who took the video shared the sweet scene online, inspiring people to donate food, supplies, and money to help Choko and his family get back on their feet.
The park where the party was held became a gathering place for other animal lovers. The man and his pups also became overnight celebrities as people had him posing with their own dogs for pictures. That was only the beginning of the blessings that would come upon Choko’s life. Someone who heard his story gifted him a new phone, allowing him to start his own Instagram page, which now has over 186,000 followers.
On one Instagram live, he shared his story and stated that he was originally from the municipality of El Peñón. Talking about the viral video, Choko said that Shaggy was celebrating his 4th birthday that day, while Nena will be celebrating hers in November. Choko also shared his dreams of pursuing music and building an animal shelter. The good man has already started giving back by creating and selling some shirts and donating a portion of the profits to help fight animal ᴀʙᴜsᴇ.
With any luck, thanks to the support they’re receiving, things will soon turn around for Choco, Shaggy and Nena. Choco shared: “In so many years living on the street I was never alone. My dogs were always there to bring joy to many sad days and now together we are going to help many who need us!” In the meantime, seeing the love shared between them, it’s clear they already have something more priceless than gold.