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Community raises money to help man and his dog find a permanent home

"If you have ever had the pleasure of talking to Larry you are quickly won over by his warm smile and grateful soul."

Residents in Dakota County are rallying together to raise money to help a man experiencing homelessness and his dog pay for a warm place to sleep this winter. 

Mendota Heights resident Kate Douglas and others started a Go Fund Me page on Saturday for Larry and his beloved dog Lebowski, who often spend time around Robert Street in Dakota County.

"If you have ever had the pleasure of talking to Larry you are quickly won over by his warm smile and grateful soul," the page says.

Douglas was inspired to start the Go Fund Me page after she asked Larry what he really needed, KARE 11 reports. He said cash so he can pay to stay in his friend's garage during the winter. 

According to the Go Fund Me, Larry said it's hard for him to get cash. People give him care packages, which he appreciates, but he needs money for shelter and bedding. However, he thinks people don't give him money because they think he'll use it for drugs –  Larry says he's been clean for 14 years but does "love the occasional beer."

Since shelters aren't an option for Larry because he has Lebowski (police have offered to take Lebowski for him, Larry won't go out of fear of losing his beloved companion, the page says), Douglas started raising money for Larry to rent his friend's garage ($50/month) and pay for heat and gas ($25). '

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Then, when the fundraising page took off and donations poured in, she increased the goal to raise enough money to get Larry and Lebowski into an apartment for 12 months.

By Tuesday afternoon, the page had exceeded its $15,000 goal, raising $15,764 for Larry and Lebowski's new home. 

In an update on the page this week, organizers said Larry is "so moved" by people's generosity, but is nervous he'll fail people if he can't find work and is wondering if he'll like living in a home after being a nomad for 19 years. 

Organizers are now looking for leads on apartments that accept dogs, helping Larry find a job and looking for other ways to help him on his new chapter. 

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