Many people in Charlotte, North Carolina, are familiar with Alan Lord and his dog, Levi. They're seen regularly at busy intersections across the city.
Lord, 43, is a Charlotte native who says he once worked at a major bank in town. His life began to unravel last year, he says, when he got a divorce and lost his Myers Park townhouse. (County public records show it was foreclosed on in November.)
Levi, 4, is a tan Labrador, purchased as a puppy, Lord says, from a local breeder. He's 80 pounds, and likes to chew sticks.
Everything the two of them own is inside a crate on wheels -- which is where Levi spends most of his day.
Dog lovers who have donated to Lord over the past few months now say they're frustrated that he won't accept long-term options to give Levi a life off the streets and out of the crate. They are pressuring Mecklenburg County Animal Care and Control to take the dog.
The pair have been homeless for almost a year, Lord says.
Traditional services for homeless people in the city don't work in this case: Dogs aren't allowed in shelters, and the two have occasionally stayed in hotels, which means they haven't been continuously homeless long enough to qualify for most housing programs.
Lord says he wants to go to Hawaii to live with his brother -- but he has little money and no firm plan. His parents are dead and family members who live nearby aren't in the picture, he says.
In the meantime, he's registered Levi as an emotional support service dog, with the help of a Gastonia woman. (Emily Cole says she is now raising money to start a homeless shelter for people with pets.)
"Levi -- he's all I have," Lord said Friday morning as he sat in a Bojangles' parking lot near Old Pineville and Woodlawn roads. "He's my best friend and always will be."