Author Topic: What to Do When You Encounter Homeless People With Pets  (Read 370 times)

hubag bohol

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by Laura Simpson
July 21, 2012





A few weeks ago, I was driving out to a distant feral cat colony with the daily meal as the regular caretaker was out of town. The roads in that area are laid out like a pile of sticks, one crossing over the next, and I always seem to lose my way. This time I found myself heading the wrong way and I came upon a plaza with several stores and restaurants. As I drove past, I thought I spotted some people lingering about in the sun with a couple of dogs. I thought this was very odd as the air was in the mid-90s and near the pavement, it was certainly hitting 100 or more.

Though it seemed like a bad idea, especially as I’m wary of approaching strangers when my daughter is with me, I just couldn’t let it go. I began to try and navigate the network of roads and find a way to return to that same spot. It was probably no more than 10 minutes later when I was back where I started and at first I was relieved. I didn’t see them. No dogs. No people. I was halfway through letting out a deep breath when I spotted the group and that familiar feeling of dread crept up on me. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, but I pulled the car into the lot and closed my eyes for a second. A quick prayer and I was out of the car, taking my daughter by the hand as we walked over with her asking me lots of questions about why we were going to talk to these people.

The person closest to us on our approach was a young woman, head down between her knees, sitting on the ground. The dogs were laying all around her. I began talking to her and at first she did not lift her face.

“Is she awake?” I wondered.

I tried again.

“It’s such a hot day, your dogs must be thirsty. Would you like a bottle of water?”

The young woman slowly raised her head. She wasn’t sleepy but she was miles away. She looked at me blankly and agreed in a flat voice to take the bottle.

I then asked, “Can I give you a bag of dog food too? I just bought some for my dogs and it will just take me a second to get it.”

She called out to one of the men who was in her group. He was about 20 yards away, soliciting passing cars for money. She asked him if they needed dog food and he said, “We could always use more.” His voice was eager and I didn’t waste any time.

“Let’s Hurry Honey, We’re Going to Give Them Some Dog Food”

I hurried back to the car with my daughter and hastily opened the dog food and poured half of the 18 pound bag into a reusable shopping tote. I knew they wouldn’t be able to carry the whole sack along with their backpacks too, but I hoped they’d be able to carry the tote on one shoulder.

I returned to the young woman and a lovely, medium-sized golden dog slipped her head into the pink grocery bag. She was grazing softly while the other two dogs seemed uninterested in the meal. All three were actually in good body condition, and aside from being dreadfully hot under the pathetic shade offered by the immature tree sprouting up behind them, they seemed relaxed.

I asked the young woman questions about where she would spend the night, where she would go next. She explained that she and her companion, only one of the three men working together at the end of the lot, usually spent the night sleeping in bushes or under bridges. She named several states they had been through in recent months and explained that she had spent time in Oregon, clear across the country. She explained that they move south during winter and bundle up when they’re cold.

I couldn’t help but fix on the long bone-shaped jewelry piercing her nose, but what pained me most was the eyes of this young woman. She had no spark. She was absent of the normal body language woman tend to share during conversation. No smile. No nod. No response when I reached out and took her hand.

“Please, can I give you my card,” I offered. “I want to help you. If you need something. If your dogs need something…. I run an animal rescue charity. It’s called the Harmony Fund. I’m worried about the dogs. I’m worried about you. You can call me any time.”

Either she couldn’t feel the genuine love I was sending her or she didn’t want to.

“We’re not going to be around,” she said refusing the card. “We’re leaving for New York tonight. I don’t have a phone. We move all over the place and we’re not coming back here.”

There was not a thread to pull on. She was closed down and I could feel it. So I did the only thing I could and reached into my pocket and gave her the $14 I had on me.

“Good luck,” I said. “Please be safe. Please take care of yourself. I’ll be thinking of you tonight.”

Only she probably wouldn’t guess that I’ll still be thinking of her in years to come.

What To Do in This Situation

So what do you do when you see a homeless person with an animal? I simply don’t know. I did the best I could in the heat of the moment and perhaps that’s all any of us can do. Ask questions. Offer food and water. If you know of a resource in the area, try to talk to them about what help is available. You might not have a perfect plan, but any support you provide is better than simply walking past and averting your eyes. -- http://www.care2.com/
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln


islander

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it was the pet dog of a homeless guy that made my adjustment to living in manila easier.  every morning at 9, i went out to bring food and water for the dog who was tied to a water meter grill at a sidewalk.  i kept the routine for months until i sent the dog named puppee and his owner to the latter's home province in mindanao.  i saved for their logistics, from their fare, pocket money, to the dog's vaccinations and permit to travel. 

all was well for a while, until i learned about 3 weeks ago that puppee was nowhere.  they suspect he was stolen and slaughtered for food by a neighbor known as a dog eater.  until now something in me still hopes to get a text message saying that puppee had been found.


a b@sterd had slaughtered puppee the good dog  :'(     
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment


islander

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time will help me get over the bittersweet memory of puppee, but it was one scene related to her that may haunt me forever. 

once, i brought breakfast leftovers of rice, fish and meat loaf, which i've mixed and pressed with my bare hands.  i placed the plastic bowl in front of puppee, but before she could help herself to her dog food for the day, a lethargic white-haired woman walking by suddenly picked up the bowl and ate the food meant for the dog.  puppee, ever the bright-eyed gentle dog that she was, simply looked.  i was too stunned to react.  then the woman, with eyes downcast, disappeared as suddenly as she came.  i never saw her again.

strangely, it was one instance of dog feeding when i forgot to mix canned dog food with the leftovers.  but thinking this to reassure myself is puny at best.  it's simply impossible to get over that scene.   
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

Lorenzo

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It is sometimes quite overwhelming to bear the fact that there are so many people, legions, in the society that we live who do not have the luxuries as well as the resources as we and who are living in much more wanting states as we. It is with honest and genuine fraternity what I have to say to you, Isles, : A job well done. For your tireless efforts to helping the most helpless of living things in our society -- who have no resource to talk and are unable to convey their own feelings and thoughts with human speech. For all that , you deserve recognition of your kindness to these animals, these friends. Keep up the good work, Isles.

Mercy comes to those who give mercy.....

Lorenzo

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time will help me get over the bittersweet memory of puppee, but it was one scene related to her that may haunt me forever. 

once, i brought breakfast leftovers of rice, fish and meat loaf, which i've mixed and pressed with my bare hands.  i placed the plastic bowl in front of puppee, but before she could help herself to her dog food for the day, a lethargic white-haired woman walking by suddenly picked up the bowl and ate the food meant for the dog.  puppee, ever the bright-eyed gentle dog that she was, simply looked.  i was too stunned to react.  then the woman, with eyes downcast, disappeared as suddenly as she came.  i never saw her again.

strangely, it was one instance of dog feeding when i forgot to mix canned dog food with the leftovers.  but thinking this to reassure myself is puny at best.  it's simply impossible to get over that scene.   

Don't worry, Isles, because in your kindness , in helping out and reaching out to the dog, you also have helped the poor who needed that food. What you do for the least of them, you do for Christ Our Lord. Keep on doing your works of mercy, Isles, for surely, mercy will be your crown in heaven.

Lorenzo

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“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’



-Matthew 25: 31-36

statesville

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They cannot even feed themselves much more having a pet, ang animal gyud ang mahimong makalolooy..  ::)
Every Christian has GPS -God-Provided Salvation!
It may not guide you to everywhere you want to go in this world, but it will ensure  that you arrive safely in heaven.

hubag bohol

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It's a pleasant surprise to sometimes see skinny and unkempt homeless people with clean and healthy pets.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

Lorenzo

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Many of these homeless people have behavioral as well as cognitive problems, many have depression. Having pets actually helps them cope with their situation. Everyone needs a friend, and these animals provide an immediate sense of companionship. The hospital that I do my rotations in actually have mentally ill patients and we allow the visitations of therapy dogs as well as therapy cats to help them cope as well as to uplift them.

It is even proven that having cats helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular strikes for patients who suffer with cardiovascular problems; compared to patients who don't have cats or pets, who are statistically prone to having cardiovascular strikes.

islander

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i believe that, lorenz.  and thank you for your encouragements.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

Lorenzo

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I have great respect for people who go out of their way to help in the cause of righteousness, in doing good by helping people and animals who cannot help themselves. I know of one other tb member here who is very keen on volunteering at homeless shelters as well as in food drives to feed the needy; her name is Grace, she is known here as "Grazie7". Ma inspired pod ta ba. Both you and Ate Ging are an inspiration for all of us.

God bless....


 

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