We first met David Courneya and Skunk after an emotional reunion in April.
“And he just grabbed her and started crying and held her,” said Brianna Maxwell of homeless outreach non-profit Street Dogz.
The two were separated after Skunk was stolen from the Terrible’s gas station off the I-15 freeway in Jean.
“I was sick,” David said, fighting tears. “She’s all I got. I got nothing else. I just have her.”
David filed a police report, and thanks to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, a microchip and Street Dogz, they found Skunk at a Southern California animal shelter and got her back.
“It’s not just a dog case. It’s a human case,” said Metro Det. Todd Ashworth. “This individual was obviously down on his luck and this dog was very important to him.”
The two were living in David’s 1991 Ford pickup. When it broke down at the end of February, they were stranded.
“I paid a mobile outfit to come out and work on the truck, and they took $700 from me and never came back. And didn’t fix the truck,” said David.
Metro connected David with HELP of Southern Nevada, a social services organization that arranged to have the truck towed. They also paid for housing at a Henderson motel.
“It’s been a godsend, this whole program,” David said. “Getting her (Skunk) back was everything, though.”
HELP has also offered food, mental health assistance and scheduled medical appointments for David and his dog.
“She’s been through a terrible ordeal. She came back from California with a knot under her eye. They had to do surgery on her. She still has the stitches in but she’s, as you can see, healthy.”
The final piece to turn things around for David was fixing his truck.
After hearing David’s story, Brice Kay and diesel mechanic Mario Conant of America’s Garage in Henderson wanted to help.
“The reason we started up our shop was to help first responders and veterans,” said Brice.
The fix was more difficult than Brice anticipated.
“It was pretty much like a rebuild. Almost 900,000 miles on this baby, so a lot of wear and tear. These things are known to go over a million miles if you take care of them and it still purrs like a kitten.”
By donating their time and labor, America’s Garage kept to a $3,000 budget, paid in full by Geezer and Gloria Butler, who were moved to help after seeing our original story. Geezer is a founding member of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. Gloria, his wife and manager, is a renowned animal advocate.
“It’s beyond belief and I’m just unbelievably grateful,” said David. “They have no idea how much this means to me.”
Through Street Dogz, others who saw our story reached out to donate money, food, and friendship.
“Sometimes you just need somebody to lean against,” said David. “And I hope once this is all said and done that I can leave from here and eventually, in the future, someone soon can lean against me.”
After more than a month without wheels, the duo is ready to roam once again.
“It’s my understanding that the lake is not that far away, and we just want to go close, get to the water, and I just want to turn her loose and let her run for a little while.”
Having benefited so much from the generosity of strangers, David plans to give back when he can.
“I, without a shadow of a doubt, will be paying it forward because this could have truly ruined me.”
For now, they can’t wait to get on the road again.
“You ready, kiddo?” David asks as he opens the truck door for Skunk.
“Load up, load up. Let’s give her a go!”
HELP of Southern Nevada isn’t done helping David and Skunk.
Now that the truck is fixed, HELP is considering getting him a gas card and providing other necessary items to facilitate his move back home to Washington.