“I used to drive trucks, and I used to make $150,000 a year, and then I got into an accident. One accident in a big rig throws up your whole life,” Tyrone said on a cloudy day in downtown Reno.
A Life Turned Upside Down
Tyrone, known to his friends as Ty, glanced down for a moment before he continued talking.
“I did five years for manslaughter in Huntsville Prison in Texas, and when I got out of prison, my ex-wife, or wife at the time, came up to me with divorce papers.”
After signing the divorce papers, Ty moved to Reno, hoping for a new start, having heard that Reno was friendly.
Burned by a Reno Roommate
But despite Reno's popular reputation among the transient community, Ty said it isn’t always a kind place for people stuck in a difficult spot.
“I was working, and my roommate stole my cash, and left me with no place to stay," he said.
Reaching down to pet his dog, Cece, he paused again.
“I have one more dog, that’s why we’re on the streets. I’ve only been here a year, almost two.”
Ty and his friends had been searching downtown Reno all morning looking for his other dog that had gone missing.
Shelters Don't Allow Dogs
Ty doesn’t want to be homeless, but finding a shelter in Reno that will take him has proved impossible because of his dogs.
“They need to help the homeless more...People with animals, they need to open a shelter for them.”
When Ty has tried to stay at shelters, they have refused him because of his dogs, which he, like many others in his situation doesn’t want to leave behind.
Unhappy with Shelter Options
“You have a shelter, sure, but you can’t bring animals in there, and even when I was able to stay there, they need to keep the shelter up,” Ty said.
Reminiscing back on his first stay in the shelter, without his dogs, Ty grimaced and shook his head.
“There were bed bugs everywhere," he said. "That’s why I’m out here, I woke up with these little critters crawling all over me, and no thanks. I don’t want to do that again.”
Camping Outside Every Night
Ty says his story is far from unique, and that many displaced people in Reno avoid shelters because sleeping in an alley or park can feel cleaner and safer than a government-run shelter.
Ty reached down to adjust the sweater he had put on CeCe, and returned to his search for his second dog, the Truckee River roaring behind him.