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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Homeless with a pet

During my last shift at the shelter I got a call from a woman. I wasn't sure at first what she was trying to say, as the conversation went like this: Me: Sammies Friends Animal Shelter. How can I help you? Her: Hi, I live in Nevada City, and I just saw a man with a dog. I think he is homeless. . . . . Me: Ok, can you describe the problem? Her: Well, I'm just thinking because he is homeless, well, that's not a very good life for a dog. . . . . . Me: Well, I suppose it's not a very good life for anyone, but many dogs are accustomed to living outside. Did the dog look sick? Her: Well, no. But still, it just doesn't seem right. Me: Was this on Broad St overpass, and was the man a large man with blond hair, and a yellow dog? Her: Yes. Me: I see them all the time. That dog looks like he hasn't missed a meal in years. He appears happy and well fed, and I'm guessing well loved. Mam, there is no law against having a dog just because you are homeless. But if you want, you can give the owner the number of the shelter, and if he wants, I can drop him off some food. Or better yet, next time you see him, why don't you give him some dog food, and maybe a bagged lunch with coffee money?That dog may be the only relationship he has, you know. Her: Well, OK. Still, it doesn't seem right.


  1. Me: Lady, YOU don't seem right... Merry Christmas!
    (sound of phone hanging up)
    the more i get to know man, the more i like my dog...
    Happy New Year!

  2. I had this discussion with my son, who felt that if a person couldn't afford to rent a place to live, they shouldn't be able to afford a dog. I tried to explain that many homeless people keep dogs for protection and companionship and he needed to be understanding of that....

  3. I just read an article in the Union recently about a homeless camp in our area and it mentioned that you can't have a dog to stay at Hospitality House. I'm wondering how hard would it be to have a kennel set up for those dogs so that their owners could sleep under a roof, especially when the weather is bad.

  4. Great Idea EC. Even if you could park a motorhogme with a few kennels outside the house, wouldn't that be great? That might be something to propose. Thanks. I'm sure many of the people who died in Katrina did so because they would not leave their pets.

  5. As an Eligibility Worker you know I have to put my two cents in on this one. I work with homeless clients all the time. When I suggest Hospitality House to some and get the response "I cant go there because I have a dog" - my heart melts. I totally understand their dilemma. Their dogs ARE their family. I hear that Hospitality House is working on a solution for clients with pets, and I hope it happens. If anyone needs pet food - try the food banks - they usually have pet food - or the wonderful folks at Sammie's friends will help you out too.