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Art Show: One-Word Concept: Hope

Princess Grace

by Rebecca Salcedo

Banner for One-Word Concept: Hope art show

Art: Princess Grace by Artist Rebecca Salcedo
Can you imagine that a man would give up a warm bed to sleep in because the shelter wont allow a little dog? This is the dog. Now you can see why he would choose her over a bed. He is her protector, her best friend, her lifeblood. And she is his hope. His name is Albert Grace, and this is Princess, his daily salvation. I fight back tears each time I think of this duo, with whom I spent quite a bit of time during my trip to Las Vegas in August. They live in the old downtown area, where the old casinos still bring a bit of luck to some. I spent a measly amount of money buying him some bottled water for Princess, gave him some cash and cigarettes, and together, we hung out on the sidewalk, enjoying chili dogs and cokes from Binion's food counter, (which were delicious, by the way.) Albert and I talked about being homeless at great length, and he shared a few of his darkest moments with me, including his wife dying of cancer many years ago, leading to his homelessness, how he enjoys an occasional shower and bathroom visit at the apartment of a friend, since he can't go in the casinos, and life on the street. "I am person without a home, I am not a criminal. People don't have to be afraid of me. I don't ever ask for money, I just sit here with Princess and we get by. Being homeless is hard, but I have some friends. ..I do have to be careful at night, though, because the bums will sometimes threaten to harm Princess." I am not sure whether Princess came before or after his wife's death, but she has been with him ever since. He told me that someone had taken her to the vet recently, and she, too, has been diagnosed with cancer. But he lovingly cares for her hopeful that she will not feel any pain or suffer. You may not ever see a more loving relationship than the one between this sweet man and his tiny canine friend. The street vendors told me they look out for the duo, because they are not "bums" and generous tourists help out with dog food and water. It's true, Albert never asks for a handout. He is only 57, but his years on the street have taken a toll on his body. Princess makes him happy and he would do anything for her. She never complains and is always calm. Her spirit carries him and you can see it in her portrait. I believe she gives him a reason to go on, and they have done so for 15 years together on the streets in the city that never sleeps. I believe this great story of hope in a homeless man and his dog is one of the most profound experiences of my life; so much so that I must share their story with you in hope that we can raise awareness about homelessness how easy it would be for so many to find themselves in the same position as Albert and Princess, without a home because of a system that didn't help. I hope we can find strength as humans to help. This is a graphite drawing on art board from my own photograph of Princess. To see photographs of Princess and her Daddy, Albert, please visit my blog at
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