Many of us say, "I'd live in my car with my pets before I'd give them up," but the reality of that situation means that not only do the homeless people need help, their pets need help too. Here are three stories of how we've helped the homeless care for their pets - pets they care so deeply about, they're actually living in cars. Or in parks. Or nowhere and everywhere.
Street Intervention at it's finest! Our Interventionist, Sara Harris, met Greta and her dog Penny near Union Station. She gave them some water and asked if they needed help with anything. Greta is homeless but has transitional housing lined up that will let her keep Penny if she is vaccinated, so she asked Sara if she knew of any resources for that. Today Greta and Penny came to visit us at North Central and we gave them a voucher for a free spay and vaccines!
We helped Juan and his dog Rocky (pictured below) last year when Rocky had a growth on his paw. Today, Juan came in with a new dog Gus.
Gus was being abused by his previous owner and Juan told the man he would take Gus on as his own. He asked NCSIP if we could help him get Gus neutered and vaccinated. We said YES and also set both Rocky and Gus up with microchips, a big bag of donated food (thank you, Donna!) and new collars and leashes. Juan is homeless but still tries to do the best for his dogs.
This is an ongoing story. A young man came into the shelter with a very injured Pit Bull. Josh was living in his truck with his dog Ozzie. When Josh was not there, someone smashed the truck window and Ozzie jumped out, causing a severe gash to his face from the glass. Having no money, Josh wasn't sure what to do and brought Ozzie to North Central Shelter hoping for medical care. We offered to help him and sent them both to North Figueroa Animal Clinic immediately. They stitched up Ozzie’s wound and kept him overnight. Though Josh wanted to keep him, he knew it was best for Ozzie to stay at the shelter while he seeks a place to live. Ozzie is in the North Central clinic being cared for. Josh visits Ozzie almost daily.
While many people believe that if you can't afford a pet, you shouldn't have one, the devotion of these owners to their dogs speaks volumes. They'll always do what's best for their pet, even it means they remain homeless or do without a meal. Their pets are always fed and deeply loved, and we do what we can to help them with the care that's beyond their means.