- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (AP) - Ninety-four-year-old Roy Grantham has a new best friend.

The Cass County Humane Society and Cass Transit partnered to give Grantham a dog at no cost as a Christmas present Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Two months ago, Jose Santiago, a Cass Transit driver, met Grantham for the first time when he took him home. There, Santiago noticed Grantham had a dog, and he lived alone. And then this past Tuesday, Dec. 16, Santiago drove Grantham home for the second time and didn’t see a dog.

Grantham said that his dog - G.T. - had died about a month prior. Although he had only seen Grantham twice, Santiago knew he should do something about it.

“It kept bothering me, it kept bothering me, you need to help him,” Santiago told the Pharos-Tribune (https://bit.ly/1wHRIyb ) as he drove Grantham back home once again. “It took one day.”



Santiago talked with Cathy Martinez, director of transportation, and Seger Mathew, executive director of Cass County Council on Aging, on Wednesday about connecting with the Humane Society. Lisa Clark, executive director of the Humane Society, agreed to give Grantham a dog - that he could choose - free of charge.

However, neither Martinez nor Santiago told Grantham - who is one of the longest-riding passengers of Cass Transit - that the dog would be a present until they arrived at the Humane Society by means of the county transit.

“He’s excited. I’m excited for him,” Santiago said as he steered Grantham off the bus.

There, he picked a white wirehaired terrier, whom he and Clark named Snowball. Clark said Snowball is about 5 or 6 years old and house-trained, which Grantham said works for him.

“I’m going to be ready for him every day,” Grantham said about Snowball.

Grantham, who is about 95 percent blind, loves dogs “because they’re man’s best friend.” He’s had several dogs throughout the years, and had three on a farm he owned west of Logansport.

At the farm, he raised sheep, chickens, riding horses and cattle that were herded by the dogs. Once Grantham got older and couldn’t handle the everyday tasks of a farm, he moved back into Logansport, his hometown.

Ten years ago, Grantham got G.T., which stands for “get tough,” and spent every day with him at home. G.T. was a black 85-pound Chow breed. Grantham said G.T. would lie close to him at night.

“When I told him to stay, he’d stay,” Grantham reminisced about G.T. “He wouldn’t get out until I told him.”

A couple of weeks after Grantham had to put down G.T., he didn’t want to be alone at home anymore. He has a nurse come in once a week and also a friend who comes in occasionally. But now, Grantham said, Snowball will keep him company, especially for the holidays.

“I have the Lord with me, but otherwise I live by myself. Now I have my dog with me,” Grantham said. “I’ll be all right.”

Grantham served in the U.S. Army as a field artillery officer in World War II along with his four brothers, one of whom still survives at age 93. He also rode horses in rodeos and played the organ for 35 years.

One thing Grantham has always had is his dogs. And he will once again.

“I think he likes me,” Grantham said about Snowball. “I hope.”

___

Information from: Pharos-Tribune, https://www.pharostribune.com

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