Homelessness is a problem worldwide but one aspect of this issue that is often overlooked is the pets that belong to those living without a home. The human connection with pets is a powerful one. Our country has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world with over 60% of households owning a pet. We can only assume that this high rate of pet ownership would also translate into our homeless community.
In the United States it is estimated that 5-10% of the 3.5m homeless people have a dog or cat. That’s more than 175,000 homeless pets on the streets of America. What is happening to these animal companions? One organisation, Pets of the Homeless, was established to provide some much needed assistance to these devoted, fur-buddies.
Based in Nevada, Pets of the Homeless was founded by Genevieve Frederick in 2008 after an encounter with a homeless man and his beautiful dog dutifully by his side – without a leash – in New York City. Genevieve soon learned that most homeless share their meals with their pets. At food kitchens, they wrap up a bite or two in a paper napkin to give to their pets. She realised that she could do something for those pets. So she started a pet food donation sites at her local vet.
Pets of the Homeless work 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. Take a look at this video to see for yourself just what it means for these people:
One recent story, demonstrating just how important this service is, came about when a homeless man contacted Pets of the Homeless after his cat, Trouble, was attacked by a stray dog. Trouble’s bone was protruding from his skin and sadly had to be amputated. Pets of the Homeless contributed to Trouble’s veterinary costs for his x-ray, amputation, hernia surgery and an e-collar. Trouble is now recovering and his owner is very grateful for this help and looks forward to reuniting with his beloved feline friend.
The organisation, and its network of dedicated volunteers, now coordinates pet food and supplies across more than 260 sites all over America. Since beginning over 12,600 pets have been given medical treatment and almost 400 tonnes of pet food has been collected and distributed.
This Thank You Thursday – the first for 2016 – we give a bark out to Genevieve and everyone at Pets of the Homeless. Here at Fish, we think you are doing a purr-fect job!
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick.