HOUSTON – One East Houston Army veteran was living in terrible conditions in a tool shed with his dogs. When his dogs got sick, he asked for help to get them better, and in turn, he ran into people who would change his life.
If there is anything to know about 71-year-old Elwin Rogers, it is that God is what motivates him every day.
"Christ said unto them, 'Hold thy peace and come out.' Now, my advice to them is hold the peace," Rogers said.
So he kept the faith, even when his beloved dogs got sick. He prayed and turned to the community for help. He held signs at nearby stops, hoping that someone could help save his precious loved ones.
"I said, 'Lord, there's a lot of people out there working for you, but send your special angel to me ... you know they're going to get the job done,'" Rogers said.
That angel was Princess Pulido, who saw his need on social media. Her friend Maria had posted it.
"I'm part of Recycled Pomeranians, and so I knew we could get the dogs help, but I said we need to get him help," Pulido said.
Pulido soon realized Rogers needed help, too.
"This is where he sleeps at with the dogs," Pulido said.
She pointed at a small shed no bigger than a closet. No kitchen, bathroom or running water.
"This is where I cook here," Rogers said pointing to a small grill.
However, it was his spirit that inspired her.
"I left here crying. I left a video about it and said no human being should suffer this way. No human being should live this way," Pulido said.
Her videos of the conditions went viral.
"I've had several people step in and had several donations," Pulido said. "We were able to give him an RV, land for his dogs, churches are volunteering to bring groceries."
"As soon as I saw it, I jumped right in," Kiersten Burling, a volunteer.
He now lives in an RV nearby, which was donated to him.
"I got water," Rogers said using the sink inside the comparably spacious trailer. "I got a shower...What more could you want?"
"I'm extremely happy, I'm excited. My heart is so full," Pulido said.
"She opened up her Facebook ... and people just rushed to help," said Pulido's mother, Dalila, who had been helping her daughter facilitate the move.
Rogers quickly felt at home.
"Not only did Mrs. Princess help, but I had help from a whole lot of people," Rogers said. "But the greatest help was from God and Ms. Princess."
His dogs, no doubt, enjoyed the extra leg room. The first thing Rogers did was set up a lawn chair and give his dogs water, watching them play and smiling.
"It's a great feeling," Rogers said.
However, Rogers, who consistently recites Bible verses, wasn't the only one who felt hopeful. This experience, Burling said, taught many lessons.
"It's opened my eyes completely. It shows you that good still exists for the world," Burling said.
Some of those lessons, Rogers has known all along.
"Wait upon the Lord, and He shall renew your strength," Rogers said.
Rogers said the next thing he can't wait to do ... is a shower.
"I'll get me a bath! It's like a baptism!" Rogers said.