VIDEO: Man who fell on hard times finds home for furry family
A man who had fallen on hard times has been reunited with his beloved dogs thanks to help from the community.
Jerry Forbes was evicted from his privately-rented flat in Granville Road, Littlehampton, on January 24 after getting behind on his utilities payments.
The 67-year-old was separated from his four rescue dogs, Pudding, Wizzle, Bun and Munchkin, when he was put up in a bed and breakfast in Bayford Road by Arun District Council.
He appealed for someone to help house him and his pets while the council looked for a home for them.
But thanks to two dog walkers he met at East Green, they found him a privately-rented flat in Pier Road which he will be moving into with his furry family.
He said: “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m quite pessimistic, but I kept telling myself there was a silver lining here.
“I just can’t thank them enough. I think they are absolutely wonderful. They couldn’t have been more friendly and accommodating.”
Mr Forbes is well-known in the town’s dog walking community, getting the nickname ‘the dog whisperer’ for his well-behaved pets.
He also meets people while doing litter picking on the seafront.
He said he stopped paying his bills due to problems with his neighbours which his landlord did not help sort out.
Mr Forbes has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder for 50 years, which led to him retiring early from his gardening business.
One of the symptoms of the condition is poor money management, which he believed contributed to his bad decisions.
While he was staying at the bed and breakfast, his dog-walking friend Sophie was looking after Pudding in Bognor, and Sharon Martin, 77, was looking after the three others, but was in poor health and could not do it for much longer.
Before he found somewhere permanent to stay, Mr Forbes considered sleeping on the streets so they could be together, but said it was not fair on his pets.
Speaking at the time, he said: “My biggest fear of all is the council saying there isn’t anywhere for the dogs and telling me to get rid of them.
“Our bond is so strong, I could not live without my dogs. I wouldn’t want to live.”
He adopted Bun, a rottweiler, as a pup in 2009, and got Wizzle from the Dog’s Trust in 2012.
He rescued Pudding, who was left in a shed by former owners, in 2015 and Munchkin three months ago after seeing an advertisement in a pet shop window.