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Should Homeless People Have Pets? This Group Says Yes

Pets for the Homeless works to find food, shelter, and veterinary care for pets living on the street.

Kellie B. Gormly  |  Sep 28th 2016


Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Catster print magazine. Click here to subscribe to Catster magazine.

Sometimes an animal welfare organization comes along that is so unusual and so moving in its mission, it astonishes me. That is the case with Pets of the Homeless, a charity based in Carson City, Nevada. This organization focuses exclusively on providing food and emergency veterinary care to the pets of homeless people.

I admit that one of my first reactions was thinking, “Should a homeless person have a pet?”

Wouldn’t it be better for the animal to be adopted into a home with shelter as well as love? That is the best situation for a pet, but the mutual heartbreak of splitting up a loving pet-human pair can be very damaging.

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Photo by Shutterstock

Genevieve Frederick, founder of Pets of the Homeless, said her organization “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,” Frederick’s mission statement says. “They care for their pets on limited resources so they themselves have less.”

The organization provides services all around the country, with 404 donation sites that have collected 414 tons of pet food. The group has paid for medical treatment for nearly 13,000 pets and also provides sleeping crates for pets. The group’s website has a search function that find resources available around the nation.

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Photo by Shutterstock

Ways to help include sending a cash donation, becoming a volunteer to help recruit sites for pet-food donations, and helping to connect pet owners in need to homeless shelters.

All animals deserve food and medical care, regardless of their humans’ situation. Pets of the Homeless can care for the animals, and hopefully, human as well as animal will find a physical home together.

For more information, visit Pets of the Homeless on the web.

About the author: Kellie B. Gormly is a Pittsburgh-based jour- nalist otherwise known as “Mother Catresa” to homeless kittens and cats. She blogs about her adventures in fostering at Mother Catresa’s Chronicle.