Two grizzled men, identical brothers, blinked tears as they spoke Wednesday morning near their home, a tarp that’s tied to a tree on an undeveloped parcel off South Todd Road.
Terry and Rick Divine, 57, have lived beneath the tree for almost two years, subsisting largely on food they glean from Dumpsters in the commercial-industrial zone behind Santa Rosa’s Auto Row. But the general harshness of their lives isn’t what’s upsetting them.
They miss their dogs. Terry’s is a boxer-pitbull he calls Dee Oh Gee. That’s spelled D-O-G. Dee Oh Gee is the father of Rick’s dog, Neeko.
Sonoma County animal regulation officers took the dogs into quarantine Monday after the older one bit a woman the Divine brothers say was attacking them with a knife. The woman told authorities she was only trying to defend herself from the dog.
“It barely even bit her,” Terry Divine said. But the bite broke the skin, so the officers had to take Dee Oh Gee to the county animal shelter to be watched for 10 days for any sign of rabies.
As Dee Oh Gee was loaded up, the Divines were so afraid the dog’s heart would break they asked the officers to take Neeko along with him and keep them together.
The brothers  can reclaim the dogs on Dec. 23. But that’s a long ways away for two men who don’t complain about their own lives but miss and worry about their dogs.
“Me, myself, I can’t sleep,” said Terry, a 1970 graduate of Piner High. “I cry all the time. I’ve had that dog since he fit in the palm of my hand.”
Terry and his brother, who receives Social Security disability benefits, said that though they Dumpster dive for food when the money runs out, they make sure to keep dog food on hand.
They said they were living in Sonoma until they lost their home.
“We don’t bother anybody,” Rick said. He and his twin said they redeem recyclable cans and treat themselves to a couple of nights in the Motel 6 when the check comes at the first of the month.
“Me and him, we haven’t been angels all our lives,” Terry said. Both brothers said now that they’re pushing 60 and homeless, they just want to get by and care the best they can for Neeko and Dee Oh Gee.
“Our dogs are our life,” Terry said.