Friends of a man badly beaten in North Sydney, N.S., are speaking out as he fights for his life.

The man, known only as Shawn, was attacked at his campsite in a wooded area behind a grocery store. The 48-year-old lives there in his tent with his dog, Chico.

Someone attacked him Monday, leaving him with serious head injuries.

Shawn's friend Cheryl Lomond is upset about the attack.

Sean poses with his dog Chico and friends.

Shawn poses with his dog Chico and friends. (Submitted)

"His tent was his home. For someone to go into his home and attack him, it's ridiculous. It could happen to anybody," she said Wednesday.

"Shawn considered himself a street dad to the street kids. He always had teenagers around him. He told them, 'Don't fight and try to get along.'"

Seventeen-year-old Destiny Dermody agreed.

"It makes me feel pretty hurt, actually," Dermody said. "He doesn't really deserve it because he minds his own business. He just does his own thing and keeps to himself."

Friends say Shawn camps outside with Chico most of the year, but moves indoors for the winter. He is thought to have family in Truro.

Dog 'traumatized' by attack

The SPCA is caring for Chico while Shawn is in hospital. Jeff Dursi said the dog is physically healthy.

"He is traumatized, certainly, in relation to seeing his father or companion assaulted in that manner and is struggling with that emotionally," he said.

Shawn is in serious condition in hospital. Police are looking for his attacker.