When people see a homeless person who has a dog or other pet, a common reaction is to scoff or judge, wondering why an individual with no resources or steady source of shelter would take on the additional responsibility of an animal.
But that is far too simple an evaluation. Before making assumptions or criticizing, it’s important to understand that genuine companionship is priceless and beneficial for everyone involved. It isn’t just the city-dwelling homeless population that takes abandoned stray dogs under their wings; about 25% of homeless people have pets in rural areas, too. It’s important to remember that a large portion of the abandoned animal population are cared for by homeless individuals.
So what does this mean for all of us? It means that instead of judgement toward the owner and pity for the dog, we should adopt a sense of compassion and community. The video below, produced for the organization Pets of the Homeless, poignantly showcases several pairs of loving homeless people and their pets, struggling to survive together on the streets. What’s amazing is that most homeless dog owners go without food for themselves so their pup can be fed.
Organizations like Pets of the Homeless are making it a priority to change how people perceive homeless people and their pets, and to help those animals get the food and medical attention they need.
Take a few minutes to watch this moving video and consider that the love between a dog and its owner has very little to do with the amount of money that owner has…only the amount of love they’re able to give.
Pretty emotional stuff, huh? Dog lovers everywhere have an opportunity to bypass the judgement and really welcome these individuals, who care so lovingly for these animals, into our community. And part of that means helping them help their pets, which you can do here. What do you think of the video and of the work organizations like Pets of the Homeless are doing? Share your thoughts!