Three young brothers saved up all the money they had made busking to buy a heartbroken Big Issue seller a new puppy.
Bex Grass, who lives in Exeter, Devon, always had border collie Poppy by her side through thick and thin, including when she was homeless.
But Poppy died after being hit by a car on December 29 last year.
Bex, who now lives in housing association home Gabriel House, said: ‘The car never even stopped and she was so badly injured, she had to be put down.
‘I’ve never felt such grief. Poppy was my protector and had been with me when I was at my lowest points.
‘Then she moved into Gabriel House with me where she continued to be my therapy dog when my anxiety was at its worst and she kept me sane – probably even alive. I went into a deep depression when I lost her.’
Daniel, Buddy and Pacey Shephard, from nearby Sidmouth, heard what had happened and decided to try and cheer Bex up.
Their dad, Ben Shephard, said: ‘I got to know Bex’s partner Mark quite well during [the town’s Folk Festival in 2022.
‘I saw him in Exeter again one day, selling the Big Issue and he told me what had happened.
‘I told the boys and they said they wanted to spend the money they had saved on buying Bex a new puppy.’
With Daniel and Buddy playing guitar and Pacey on the keyboard, the small group busked in the town centre to raise money for new equipment and to release Pacey’s piano compositions.
But instead they looked online to find Bex a new border collie, and found a litter for sale at a farm in Honiton.
The boys and their dad met Mark secretly to get the puppy’s vaccinations, then took her to Bex’s home in Exeter as a surprise.
Pacey said: ‘The people called Bex downstairs, and when she saw the puppy I have never seen someone shake so much with happiness – it was amazing to see how much it meant to her.’
Bex said: ‘When I got a call to come down to reception and saw the boys holding the puppy I didn’t know what to think. Then, when I heard what they had done I just felt completely overwhelmed.
‘I can’t thank these wonderful boys enough for bringing a new puppy into my life. I have called her Rainbow and she is absolutely perfect.
‘She is allowed to live with me here at Gabriel House and together and with the help of BCHA we are building a new life.
‘I am selling the Big Issue and hope we will move into our own place eventually. I am just so grateful.’
Ben added: ‘The boys really have a heart for people. Performing, they get to see first-hand and appreciate what homeless people go through.
‘They know things don’t always come easy in life, and have experienced how it feels to have complete strangers care enough about their music to support them, and they want to pass that on.
‘This isn’t the first time they’ve given back, and it won’t be the last.’
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].
For more stories like this, check our news page.