"Never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a
person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared
to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are
his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to
the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such
Pets of the Homeless believes in the healing power of companion pets
and of the human/animal bond which is very important in the lives of
many homeless. They find solace, protection and companionship through
their pets. They care for their pets on limited resources so they
themselves have less. Our task, nationwide, is to feed and provide
basic emergency veterinary care to their pets and thus relieve the
anguish and anxiety of the homeless who cannot provide for their pets.
Where To Donate Pet Food and Supplies
The Lighthouse for Recovery Ministries has been selected as the volunteer
objectives of collecting pet food and pet supplies.
We will be working with distributing organizations
food banks, pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters
, who have
agreed to distribute the pet food to the homeless in their communities as well as distributing directly - one-on-one - with the homeless on the streets.
Since 2008, collection sites for Pets of the Homeless
that they have taken over 275 tons of pet food to distributing organizations across the country.
drop off pet food, flea/tick treatments, collars, leashes and treats at The Lighthouse for Recovery Ministries, 140 58th St, N, Birmingham,AL 35212 or call Pamela D Wray Biron, Executive Director/Founder at 205-834-6272 of collection of donations.
Most of us have seen homeless people on the streets, many
accompanied by their nonhuman animal (animal) companions (pets), especially dogs.
any given night there are about 640,000 homelesspeople in the United
States, however estimates vary quite a lot. It's also
been estimated that 5-10% of homeless people have dogs or cats as their
companions but the numbers vary geographically and it's difficult to come
up with highly accurate statistics.
Nonetheless, there is a large number of
animals who live with homeless humans and in many cases the animals are the
lifeline and reason for living for these people without a home, human beings
living in a stigmatized and marginalized environment
in which few if any would choose to live.
Two developments are mainly
the rise in homelessness over the past
20-25 years: a growing shortage of
affordable rental housing and a
simultaneous increase in poverty.
rising rents, many families are on the
streets or living in their cars and
campers with the family pet. How could
they possibly abandon their
And, for single,
chronically homeless adults who have
mental illnesses or addiction
disorders a pet becomes a loved companion,
sometimes the only one they have.
to the wonderful nature of pets,
they are nonjudgmental and give
unconditional love to their guardians.
And, in some cases, the pet provides protection and
According to Genevieve
Frederick, founder of the nonprofit organization Pets of the
, "the dogs provide the homeless with a connection with
reality, they are loyal and provide the homeless with unconditional love and warmth as well as
protection. The human pet bond is very real." In a world of uncertainty
and despair, a pet may be the only source of comfort for someone who faces
night after night without real shelter or adequate food and clothing.
people are often viewed with suspicion or fear. When people see homeless and
their animals they do a number of things. Some give them money or food and some
Others judge them unworthy of animal companionship. Whatever the
reaction, most of us would have no idea how to survive on the street with (or
without) an animal.
Because homeless shelters do not typically allow animals, homeless pet
owners usually stay on the street and “under the radar.”
While nonprofit and
government organizations try to stretch their services to embrace the
complexity of human-animal dependence, the economic downturn could make it even
more difficult for homeless people to keep their pets. The alternative would be
to surrender the pets to a local shelter where, according to the ASPCA, 60 to 70 percent of
relinquished companion animals are euthanized.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HOMELESS AND THEIR ANIMAL COMPANIONS:
new book by University of Colorado sociology Professor Leslie Irvine is the first to explore
what it takes to live on the streets with an animal. Using interviews with more
than seventy homeless people in four cities, My Dog Always Eats First
what animals mean for homeless people and how they care for their four-legged
friends. You can read the introduction to this landmark book here
. Dr. Irvine's book provides rich
descriptions of how animals provide social and emotional support and protection
from harm (see also "My dog feels my pain
and, in some cases, even helped turn around the lives of people who had few
other reasons to live.
on the work she began in If You Tame Me: Understanding our Connections with
, Dr. Irvine continues exploring how animals serve as
“significant others” for their human companions. Homeless people told her how
their dogs encouraged interaction with others and kept them from becoming isolated.
Former addicts and alcoholics described how their animals inspired them to get
clean and sober. People who had spent years on the streets explained how they
responded to the insults they heard from strangers who thought they should not
have a pet. And they praised those who provided pet food and a kind word.
My Dog Always Eats First
is full of compelling
stories and solid research. It is an inspirational and must-read for anyone who
cares about animals and about the people who care for them.
"Peace is no mere matter of men fighting or not fighting. Peace, to have meaning for many who have known only suffering in both peace and war, must be translated into bread or rice, shelter, health, and education, as well as freedom and human dignity - a steadily better life. If peace is to be secure, long-suffering and long-starved, forgotten peoples of the world, the underprivileged and the undernourished, must begin to realize without delay the promise of a new day and a new life.
Ralph J. Bunche
"What we would like to do is change the world-make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended for them to do. And, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, of the poor, of the destitute…we can, to a certain extent, change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world. We repeat, there is nothing that we can do but love, and, dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as well as our friend." Dorothy Day
"When we bear witness, when we become the situation — homelessness, poverty, illness, violence, death — the right action arises by itself. We don’t have to worry about what to do. We don't have to figure out solutions ahead of time. Peacemaking is the functioning of bearing witness. Once we listen with our entire body and mind, loving action arises."
"Don't try to drive the homeless into places we find suitable. Help them survive in places they find suitable."