'Dog people' flock to Savannah for St Patrick's Day - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

'Dog people' flock to Savannah for St Patrick's Day


You're walking in downtown Savannah after dinner, and a 20-something in dark, tattered clothes hits you up for your doggie bag. Turns out, there's a word for that.

"White boxing," explained Caroline Cornwell, a 25-year-old Massachusetts native who came to Savannah for St. Patrick's Day. "It's when you ask a stranger for their leftovers."

They call themselves rail kids or travelers. Some use a harsher word: "gutter punks." But most Savannahians know them as "dog people" for the leashed canines typically by their sides.

"We're road dogs pretty much," Cornwell said.

Standing with her two fellow travelers on Chippewa Square, Cornwell quickly changed gears. "See we're going to white box that guy right now. Sir are you going to eat that? We're hungry."

"Can we have your leftovers?" Richard Reichstadter, a 30-year-old from Jacksonville chimed in.

"We are hungry," said Cornwall.

"We're starving."

The passerby did not give up his sandwich. Not everyone is open to the freewheeling lifestyle.

"You know, 50 percent of the people are pretty cool, nice," another traveler, Tacoma native Tony Jackson, said Tuesday on Broughton Street. "There's the other percent that don't really like us, that look at us like we're aliens or something."

The young travelers WTOC interviewed for this story were open about drinking and drug use. The group on Chippewa square described "research chemicals," new hallucinogens they'd just tried at a Rainbow Family gathering in the Florida woods. Jackson and his friend, Cory Fanson, had hands that visibly were shaking. They were looking for cheap beer and said their DTs, or detox tremors, were kicking in. Fanson said that lately, these young travelers have to keep moving, that Savannah-Chatham police are putting pressure on them for panhandling.

"We're pretty much ran out of everywhere we hang out in around here."

Despite relative homelessness, no one WTOC spoke with for this story described being forced into this lifestyle.  

"I went to school for seven years, psychology. I have a master's degree in research psychology," Cornwall said.

"I have a double in psychology and math," Reichstader added.

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