A once-homeless man whose life has now been turned around owes it all to a husky.
Bruno Zvaigzne was living rough on the streets of Paris last summer when a good Samaritan, Thibault Laurent, was out walking with his dog, Sora.
Recalling their first meeting, Laurent, 36, told The Epoch Times that his two-year-old husky stood motionless, staring at the man when he first saw him.
“It was during a walk on an unusual route, at the crossroads, that they first encountered each other,” Laurent said. “Sora stood hypnotized at Bruno’s gaze and smile.”
After a few seconds, Sora wanted to jump into Bruno’s arms but being “full of preconceptions” Laurent restrained his dog, asking him to sit. Politely greeting the homeless man, Laurent commanded his dog to follow him. But, Laurent said, Sora did not move.
“It was very weird because he is very obedient,” Laurent said, recalling that he tried putting Sora on a leash and leading him away, but the husky stayed stubborn and refused to budge.
“Then Sora looked at me with that look only dogs have to beg their master,” Laurent said. “So, I looked at Bruno and asked him with my eyes if Sora could go see him.”
The stranger responded with a big smile, so Laurent took the leash off Sora’s neck and let him go. Sora took no time to literally jump into Bruno’s arms. “He stayed in his arms hugging and kissing him for a good ten minutes,” Laurent said.
It was this instant and most unusual bond that led to the sequence of events that altered the course of Bruno’s life.
Every morning after that first day, Laurent, who works as a sports coach, went to visit Bruno with a coffee, a croissant, and a husky hug.
One day, when he was looking for his wallet before heading out, Laurent’s girlfriend happened to ask why he was taking it along on a dog walk. After explaining his new walking ritual, she asked him to make a video for her. He did, uploading it to TikTok as he’d done with other Sora videos and the views exploded.
Many subscribers commented, asking if something couldn’t be done to help Bruno. Deciding that this was a small window of opportunity to use social media for good, Laurent set up a donations page for Bruno.
Matters weren’t straightforward since Laurent had to liaise with the city’s social services department to formally register Bruno so that he could receive funds. Once this challenge was overcome, Laurent was able to start fundraising; achieving a total of 5800 euros (approx. $6,130)—almost a life-changing amount.
The funds were transferred into his account in October last year.
“Bruno was speechless. He was deeply touched,” Laurent said.
Further struggles were to follow, though, because after the funds were transferred into Bruno’s account, an administrative problem blocked access, preventing him from accessing any money. It took several weeks for Laurent to resolve the situation and by then the freezing cold weather had arrived.
Bruno had to “go through the hell of life” on the streets in winter, and it considerably slowed his return to a “normal life,” Laurent lamented. On one occasion when it was extremely cold, he had to earnestly convince Bruno to spend the night at his house.
Fast forward five months and Bruno is currently staying in a hotel near Toulouse, searching for a job and hoping to establish a more stable situation that will allow him to finally secure his own accommodation.
And it’s all down to the love and adoration of the young Siberian Husky, who Laurent says hails from the Morava Valley kennel and a line of great show champions. Sora’s grandfather, Laurent says, also belonged to him.
“Sora has been with us since he was two-and-a-half months old, and has a very calm, gentle personality. He’s always loved humans,” Laurent said.
According to Laurent, what made Sora’s reaction to Bruno so surprising is that despite never having met him before, Sora’s excitement in his presence verged on hysterical.
“He could run the last hundred meters we had to go to get to Bruno if I didn’t hold him back,” Laurent said.
In return, the once-homeless man would greet Sora with total joy.
Laurent said: “Bruno’s face lit up; his laughter and demeanor were strong, clear, sincere. He was extremely demonstrative with Sora, and wanted to offer him food, he who had so little.”
For Laurent, meeting Bruno via his dog presented an unexpected chance to help change a life—though it wasn’t easy. A huge number of people were moved by Bruno and Sora’s story, with the videos attracting tens of thousands of views.
“But, just because it’s hard,” he said, “doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. And just because we aren’t ready to help the whole world, doesn’t mean we should not help one person.
“A very small part cried foul but offered no solution. Myself, I decided that this story had to have a real use; more than to move people for a moment.
“The most beautiful lesson about loving one’s neighbor was brought to me by my dog.”