BENEFITING: FEEDING PETS OF THE HOMELESS
I manage an animal hospital on Chicago's North Shore. About a month ago, a young man came in to the hospital. He was maybe 17or 18 years of age and he had a small brown dog with him. His dad had kicked him out of the house a month earlier and he had been living in his car. His clothes were dirty and he hadn't showered in quite awhile. The dog looked healthy and in good shape. The young man had just gotten a job and needed a place to keep the dog while he worked. It was hot outside and the dog couldn't be left in the car that was their current home. As we explained to him that, in order to keep the dog, we needed proof of vaccination, he began to cry, then quickly dried his eyes and stood tall, thanked us for our time and walked out the door. My heart broke for him. I knew he needed to work to keep the dog, but couldn't keep the dog and work. Any shelter would find him an unfit owner and take the dog to rehome. If ever a pair needed each other, it was those two. I wracked my brain, but couldn't think of a way to help him, as he pulled his car out of our lot and drove away. I hope that boy and his dog are still together. I want to work towards making it possible for homeless people with pets to stay together while they are homeless as well as when they can finally transition back to having a home in which to live. Will you help? My goals are to: 1) Set up my place of employment as a food donation location 2) Work with local shelters to provide pet daycare to homeless while they interview for jobs, obtain medical care or start working and getting back on their feet. 3) Network among the veterinarians I know to provide basic care and vaccinations to pets of the homeless.