Hurricane Harvey destroyed the homes and lives of thousands of people. It also separated pets from their owners. Compassionate volunteers have been working in recent weeks to help rescue, treat, and unite displaced pets with their families. But one volunteer went above and beyond to help the people and pets he didn't even know.
Stanley Baizle, a 53-year old former dog groomer, stepped up to offer his experience and talent in grooming many of the dogs who were rescued from the hurricane. These dogs had often been in waterlogged conditions for hours and even days, and were covered in severe tangles, mats, and sores.
Baizle himself had traveled 24 miles to the George R. Brown Convention Center, and it was there that he found himself at the right place and the right time. Many of the dogs had been brought to the center, and help was needed to groom them and clean them up.
At the convention center, Sasha Von Troetsch, a Houston dog groomer, had brought together roughly 50 volunteers to work on grooming over 100 dogs. It was while she was organizing her volunteers that someone approached her about another helping hand. “While we were there, someone came up to me and said, ‘Stanley, an evacuee, wants to help,’ ” Von Troetsch said. “I went over to talk to him and he said, ‘I’m a groomer, I’ve been grooming for over 29 years.’ ”
Then Von Troetsch found out that Baizle was homeless and living in a Houston park. “It was not until during the ABC13 interview that we found out he was homeless,” Von Troetsch explained. “I was amazed to see how even in his current situation, he wanted to volunteer his time and grooming skills to help.”
But despite his circumstances, Baizle was willing and eager to help. “We asked him, ‘Why did you [volunteer to groom the animals]?’ and he said, ‘I wasn’t raised not to help,’ ” Von Troetsch recalls.
“His volunteering,” she says, “shows how giving most people are no matter what situation they are in.”
Baizle's talent and professional skills were evident in his gentle handling of the dogs and in how good they looked after he finished grooming them. Von Troetsch was so moved by Baizle's service that she felt she had to try to help him personally.
When asked what he needed, Baizle merely indicated he wanted a job. Von Troetsch decided to try to help Baizle get back on his feet. “I can’t walk away from this, not doing something for him,” she says. “I believe we are placed in certain places for a reason — maybe he was there to get help.”
Von Troetsch started a GoFundMe page for Baizle, and local news coverage is also calling more attention to his plight and his need for employment.
Baizle's life has turned around recently as Von Troetsch and other compassionate friends in Houston have secured housing for Baizle and he received a new bike for transportation.
Unfortunately, Baizle suffered a medical setback earlier this week. As of this writing, he is resting comfortably in an emergency facility and awaiting results on stress, heart, and ultrasound testing to determine the cause of his recent chest pain.
We send well wishes to Stanley Baizle and hope he has a full recovery so he can find a job and get his life back on track again. Please share Baizle's story of compassion and service with your family and friends on Facebook.