Portrait of Dustin



This is Dustin, originally from Gainesville FL, USA, but at the time of this posting, homeless, in a mini-tent city, on Selma Ave, in Hollywood, CA, USA, two blocks from the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Dustin had his dog, Tubs, with him, see photo below. Homeless people who kept their dogs were heroes because so many gave their dogs up to a”shelter” when life proved to be difficult. “Shelters” murdered dogs when they were there too long.

Tubs was a seizure alert animal. Dustin had her for two years and four months. Dustin commented on her training, “She was basically born to it. There’s nothing that I have to teach her. She’s a natural at it.”

When Dustin was about to have a seizure, Tubs whined, cried and climbed on his lap. Dustin interpreted this behavior as Tubs telling him to sit down before he would fall. Dustin loved her and fed Tubs before he fed himself.

Dustin was homeless on and off since he was thirteen years old. When he was able to work, he worked as a construction worker or a cook. He was in the Marine Corps, from 1999-2007, as a forward Observer, doing surveillance, and target acquisition. He was physically disabled: had a blown his knees and shoulders, had fractured ribs, slipped disks, and had seizures.

He received nothing from the VA (for those of you who don’t know, the VA stood for The US Department of Veterans Affairs that provided patient care and federal benefits to US military veterans and their dependents.) He received  no assistance because he “got fired for doing the wrong right thing.”

Dustin does not get benefits because he interrupted a full colonel, in a flight suit, on the flight deck of a carrier, attempting to rape a female. After Dustin intervened, the Colonel acquired numerous broken bones. Thus, Dustin was dishonorably discharged. The offender was retired. The female received the billeting of her choice.

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The day I met Dustin, I calculated I would post this portrait up on Inauguration Day. So I’m going to get a bit political.

To my fellow Americans who hate Trump, who are afraid of Trump, who mislabel people who voted for Trump as “Trump supporters” when we just knew, inconclusively, that Hillary Clinton did not qualify for public office, I want you to know, we are as afraid as you.

All of us were put through the ringer for the past eight years, “the reign of terror.” Due to your unpredictable, immature reactions, we had to shut up and pretend everything was fine as the world destabilized around us.  If you think this is inaccurate, don’t just criticize or argue with me. I can go to Facebook for that. Please, research first; but not on main-stream media. Please, go on Twitter, or on any platform where you can reach out to random, individual people from Africa, from Europe, from the mid-East, and yes, from Russia and find out what they think of Obama/Hillary and the past eight years.

When an American votes for President, it’s not like voting for local office. One should not be selfish, thinking only of your own needs and beliefs. One must at the needs of the whole world, because we are world leaders. We impact everyone. Hillary was a terrible candidate. That’s why she lost.

We, the ones who voted for Trump, have no idea which way this will go, but we try to be positive. The next 100 days will be crucial.  I just heard the Inauguration speech, and I would like to quote our new President, “When You Open Your Heart to Patriotism, There Is No Room for Prejudice…You will never be ignored again.”

As I spoke to Dustin I asked him if there was something he wanted to tell the world, “Can’t we all just get along?”

Having met someone with such a good heart,  who was SHAT on by the Obama administration, by the policies brought down by Obama, the former commander-in-chief, I just hope that President Trump doesn’t “ignore” the homeless, the disabled and the ALSO non-humans of our nation.

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Thank you for being part of my blog and my Portrait Project. It is my honor to share these phenomenal experiences of these amazing people. I’m giving people who may never have an article written about them an opportunity to be spotlighted online. When I wake up in the morning, I look at my WordPress stats, and someone from India, Africa, Germany or Iceland read my blog. It’s exciting. Thank you so much for being there, wherever, whenever you are.


Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

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About zongrik

For those of you who do not know the handle "zongrik," that would be Bat-Ami Gordin. Most people call me "Tammy." Bat-Ami means "daughter of my nation" in Hebrew. It's a heavy name to carry around. I answer to either name. I also answer to "mama." Some Basic Things about me: Animal lover, mom, poet/writer, dramatic soprano, photographer, teacher/tutor, CERT/Technician and, oh yeah, aerospace engineer. I consider myself "The Astro-Poet." To learn more about the origins of the word "zongrik" see whats-a-zongrik?

Posted on January 20, 2017, in photography, Portraits and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Excellent portrait of Dustin and his service dog tubs and amazing write up on him. I always get mad when I see our military personnel mistreated like this although his dicision to act was his own doing it doesn’t help the situation to dishonorably discharge him in my opinion. I do want to thank him for his service to our country and hope he can get out of his situation and get the care he needs.

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