Homeless woman with cancer & dogs, Star of Hope saves the day

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A Houston woman found herself diagnosed with cancer, evicted and homeless all within a month.  “I just really didn't know what was going to happen next,” says Pilar Harkless.

Harkless has spent her adult life working and in her own place until recently.  ”I slept on the street.  I slept on some porches when people didn't know I was there,” Harkless adds.  It's a blessing she's now staying at Star Of Hope.  You see, in September she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Uterine Cancer.  After a long hospital stay she was evicted. 

”I just counted on God and just asked God what do I do next”.  Harkless suddenly found herself in front of me and Fox 26 Assignment Desk Editor Aaron Johnson.  ”I mean you're angels with cell phones,” she laughs but everyone we called couldn't help.  No one would accept G and Nikki, her dogs and she wouldn’t leave them.  “I promised because they were abandoned dogs already, I would not abandon them”.

So when we reached out to Star Of Hope “We got a wonderful team of people that got on the phone bank and started calling all over the city,” explains Star Of Hope Director of Public Relations Scott Arthur  but no one would accept the dogs.  So a Star Of Hope worker paid for meals and a hotel for Pilar and her pooches.  

Then Andrea Birkelbach Founder of Houston Pet's Alive got wind of it.  “It's not fun when you're going through the hardest thing in your life and the thing that provides you unconditional love is going to be ripped apart from you.  So I wanted to make sure she could keep her pets,” says Birkelbach.

Birkelbach called Michelle Hernandez owner of The Best Little Dog House in Texas and Pilar's problem was solved.  Her doggies have been bathed, groomed and are being fostered here while she's at Star of Hope.

”I'm really happy and I hope the new owners continue the tradition I started,” says Hernandez because even though Hernandez just sold her business yesterday she made the new owners promise they would house these dogs.  “Everyone coming together around an individual is amazing,” say the new owner of The Best Little Dog House In Texas.

After being away from her furry family for some time Star of Hope took Harkless to see them.  “A lot of people think Star of Hope just helps that guy on the street with a sign with a couple of meals and a shower but everyday Star of Hope is helping people get jobs, educating people, helping people with food and shelter.  In fact, Star of Hope for the fourth year in a row was named one of the best places in Houston to work”, says Arthur. 

Newly diagnosed with cancer, Harkless has quite a road ahead but it's now a little less rocky.  “It’s a blessing.  Everything is a blessing.  It’s like God brought everyone together to be my blessing” smiles Harkless.