If you can imagine a dog walking the streets with a cat clinging to his back and a rat draped over the shoulders of the cat, you can imagine it'd be quite a spectacle. And if you've spent time in recent years on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco or walking along State Street in Santa Barbara you may have seen this "stack of dog-cat-rat" in person. Who would be responsible for such a stack? That would be Gregory Pike from Telluride, Colorado a self-taught animal trainer with an interest in psychology.
How did this start? Gregory explains that he was speaking with children about cartoon animals. The children thought that cartoons showing animals of different species that are friends weren't believable. Somehow Gregory took that as a personal challenge. He says he did it just for fun and to prove a point. But the day someone chased him down the street offering $20 to take a photograph of Pike with his entourage was the day he became a "street performer" or maybe more accurately a "street personality" -- part of the local color.
Now, wherever he goes he quickly draws a crowd of admirers as you can see in this YouTube video. He laughs a lot and seems to enjoy entertaining and amazing passing people. Booger the Rottweiler, Kitty the American Tabby and Mousey the rat all seem to take the attention in stride. Booger naps and Mousey curls up against Kitty who affectionately licks and grooms him.
Mr. Pike accepts cash donations which he says he'd like to use some day to set up a website and/or an animal rescue service. He jokes that "I'm a legend in my own mind" but admits that he is no saint. He seems to be homeless at least part of the time and despite his best intentions he may not be able to get it together to launch his animal rescue project. He was picked up by police last year on a drug charge (Dog-Cat-Rat Man Busted for Crack Possession). When released on his own recognizance he had some challenge rounding up his trio of animal companions who scattered in his absence.
But whatever personal challenges Gregory Pike faces, with his message of "peace and why can't we just all get along" and the smiles he puts on peoples' faces I say that this showman accomplishes more than many of us.
Related article: The Story Behind SB's Dog, Cat and Rat Man