Hometown Heroes: TPD helps keep woman, dog off streets

- After almost 30 years on the street, Ruby Caskey is still getting used to her new life inside.

"I just miss the way things were and being outside. That's what I'm used to," said Ruby.

But Ruby made a promise to her dog and best friend, Professor, that she would find them a home, and she plans on keeping her word.

It's been a year since they moved into their downtown Tampa apartment.

"I'm trying to stay here and keep my promise because [Professor] deserves a home. He doesn't deserve to live outside," said Ruby.

Professor is loving his new life indoors.

"Sometimes he sleeps in until noon or 1:00 now that we have a big bed," said Ruby.

Ruby has Tampa Police officer Daniel McDonald and the Homeless Initiative Program to thank for her new life. As a homeless liaison for the Tampa Police Department, he's helped hundreds of people just like Ruby.

"We're problem solvers. Whatever someone needs, we'll try and help them," explained Officer McDonald.

Once a month Officer McDonald and his homeless liaisons team up with several local agencies for an outreach day, when they assist the homeless with everything from job and health services to housing and education.

"It's sort of an all-hands-on-deck day. All the service providers that are available in Hillsborough County come out and help us," said Officer McDonald.

Even though he's taking on new projects, Officer McDonald still stays in touch with Ruby and Professor, and he's proud of her success.

"Ruby has done exceptionally well. Coming straight in off the streets is an adjustment ," said Officer McDonald.

It's a big change for Ruby and Professor, but they are getting used to it more and more each day.

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