Prentiss, 61, was frantic three months ago, searching for a place to live because he was being evicted from the house he had rented 10 years on Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville.

With four cats, three dogs and two lizards, he was having a hard time finding a place, but finally hit pay dirt when the man renting the house next door had to move out of state for work and said he’d speak to his landlord about Prentiss.

“It was just a stroke of luck that it’s right next door to my other house,” Prentiss said. “Very convenient.”

Prentiss is disabled from a traumatic brain injury he suffered 11 years ago and has chronic pain from other physical issues. He has a hard time expressing himself sometimes, and often the words don’t come out just right and people get frustrated with him or misunderstand him.

Perhaps that is why he gets along with animals better than with people.

His animals are his family.

“I really thought I was going to have to live in my truck,” he said. “I could never give my animals up. They’re all my buddies.”

He told me this as we sat on his front porch right next to busy Kennedy Memorial Drive, where cars and trucks were whizzing past. Prentiss was calm and smiling, unlike in early June when he was frightened and nervous about possibly becoming homeless.

I had met him in 2013 when he contacted me to see if I could write a story about his dog, Ginger, a 1-year-old chestnut-colored miniature pinscher whose head was permanently cocked to one side after she was struck by a car on the busy road. As Ginger lay motionless in the street with a broken neck and fractured skull, a man stopped to offer condolences to Prentiss, thinking she was dead. Prentiss was so distraught at the time that he could not respond properly and said some angry things and never got the man’s name. But after surgery, Ginger recovered and Prentiss was able to bring her home.

Meanwhile, he received a card in his mailbox from the man who had stopped after the accident, saying the same thing had happened to his family dog right in front of the family. He offered condolences, believing Ginger had died as well. He signed the card “John.”

Prentiss asked me to write a column about Ginger’s recovery so the man might read it and know she was OK. After I wrote it, John called Prentiss from his home in Texas. He said he had been visiting friends in Maine when he witnessed Ginger’s accident, later read the column online and was delighted to learn she had survived.

Prentiss held Ginger in his lap during our visit as Mack, a large black and brown German Shepherd, wandered around the porch which Prentiss said he hopes to screen in to further protect his animals. Earlier, he led a tour through the small but tidy house where Angel, a large, old, shy white dog, barked in the kitchen. Missy, a black and white cat, was lying nearby with Kid Kitty, who is white, and Shaky, a gray and white cat whose neurological problem makes him wobble back and forth uncontrollably and his back legs don’t work.

The house is sparsely furnished but comfortable, with a sofa the previous renter left, a television and shelves of antique bottles Prentiss collects as a hobby.

He said that after people learned about his search for a home, he got phone calls and visits from folks who were very kind and tried to help. One woman called to say she set up an online fundraiser and collected $800 for his animals.

“I told the lady on the phone I wouldn’t abuse the money. I’ll use it for my animals. It was very, very, very much appreciated.”

As he spoke, a man named Marshall Cote stopped by and chatted with Prentiss from the sidewalk. Cote had tried to help Prentiss find a house or apartment, but several landlords did not want to take the animals.

“I think he was pretty lucky to have all this happen,” Cote said. “The ball was in his court. There’s a Supreme Being that’s watching over him.”

Prentiss is touched by the concern people showed him when he was in desperate straits, searching for a home. He wants them to know that all is well now.

“It touches my heart to know that people are so concerned about this. People to this day are still asking me did I find a place to live. It’s just good to know there’s still a lot of kind people in the world because a lifestyle on the streets with drugs and violence is not a good thing.”

He is fortunate, he said, to be home with his animal family.

“There’s no doubt there we have a special bond. You can compare it to having kids, that certain love people have for animals. We pretty much share the same life. We just don’t look alike.”

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 28 years. Her column appears here Mondays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to

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