Life in an inner city neighbourhood has its advantages – one is that I can leave my empty bottles in the alley and they are gone in a day, picked up by various bottle guys. I have gotten to know a few over the years as not only are they always out and about, they are pretty much the only people who bother to say Good Morning anymore. This is not a RANT about them – but it does include a very special ‘bottle picker’ – Art. I met Art just the other day as I stopped to admire his organized cart and he stopped to play with my dog. We started talking about all the weird stuff he has found over the years, including a Rolex watch worth over $9,000 thrown out by a jealous husband (the cops got involved and in the end, Art got the watch) and many pairs of real gold earrings tossed in the alley by high end hookers who apparently are not looking for those kind of gifts.

Here comes the RANT: Art’s stories were all very entertaining until he told me about the animals he has rescued from the garbage, discarded by thoughtless, CRUEL humans. Puppies, cats, lizards, birds. Many. The birds were found in a dumpster behind a high end condo one night when the temperature was minus 30 Celsius. Five budgies in one cage, 2 more cages with a parrot and a cockatiel. Art grabbed all 3 cages and waved down a taxi. The taxi refused to take animals so Art waved again, this time at the police who fined the taxi driver and took away his license. Now all 7 birds call Art’s house HOME where he cares for them as they should be cared for. He jumped in a dark dumpster one rainy day and as he was searching for bottles and cans, he felt something grab onto his leg. Jumping back he let his eyes get used to the dark and there in the corner was a very frightened 3 foot lizard. Getting out of a dumpster is much more difficult than getting in and trying to take a large, scared lizard with you greatly exacerbates the situation so Art had to ponder his next move carefully. Finally, he managed to get the Iguana to grab onto his arm and whispering ‘hang on’, climbed out of the dumpster into the light and safety with the poor abandoned creature. The local humane society has gotten to know Art well over the years and many deserted, forlorn creatures owe him their lives.

Before going our separate ways, Art and I shook our heads and shared some moments of disbelief and despair that people could be so heartless towards innocent, helpless beings. Art, you can have my bottles anytime (sorry I don’t have any gold earrings).

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