Random encounter leads to outpouring of support for man who refused to leave his dog | Local News

In general, homelessness is almost always the result of a combination of factors such as bad luck, bad decisions, loss of a job or family support, financial hardship, substance abuse, and/or debilitating physical and mental health problems.

“It’s complicated, that’s for sure,” Parks admitted.

Among other things, Parks is dealing with polyarteritis nodosa, a rare form of vasculitis that he has had since elementary school. In recent months he has been unable to wear a shoe on one foot and suffered a painful, slow-healing wound on his leg.



Spencer Parks pets his 12-year-old Staffordshire terrier mix Duchess in their hotel room on Friday.


Allison Lee Isley, Journal

(Polyarteritis nodosa is an autoimmune disease that attacks the vascular system and internal organs by inflaming and rupturing blood vessels. It leaves open sores, constant pain, and has no cure. The symptoms are treated with steroids and painkillers.)

When he could, Parks, 33, said he worked on construction. He’s disabled now, but a few hundred dollars a month from Social Security only goes so far.

He and the Duchess have been living in a tent for about three years. His sister sometimes stays with them. “It wasn’t that bad,” he said. “It had a queen-size pillow-top mattress, a couch, and an ottoman.”

Paying for food, medicine, and gas for several round-trip trips a week to a High Point clinic quickly eats up his meager monthly disability payment, allowing Parks (on a city-issued permit) to make ends meet.