Between 5% to 10% of homeless people have dogs and/or cats. In some areas of the country the rate is as high as 24%. Source: Pets of the Homeless
Pets of the Homeless is a nonprofit volunteer organization that provides pet food and veterinary care to the homeless in local communities across the United States and Canada.
Everyone knows pets cost money. There is food, toys, bedding, and the most costly, vet bills. A homeless person cannot pay for all this and usually has trouble feeding themselves. Should homeless people have pets? YES! Many shelters do not take in animals, therefore people will stay on the streets to keep their pet(s).
Why would a person take on the responsibility of another mouth to feed? Companionship. Loyalty. A friend. Living on the street can be dangerous. A dog provides the feeling of being safe and secure. Homeless people are making sacrifices to feed and care for their pets.
The homeless are stereotyped as lazy and don’t want to work for a living. How many of you are one missed pay check away from being homeless? -or from a medical diagnosis or an abusive spouse?
A pet does not care if it has a top of the line bed from PetCo or a bunch of toys or a stylish collar. That is the human side of pet life. A pet’s main concern is love, companionship, and food. However, they do need exercise for their mind and body.
Homeless people are able to spend more time with their pets. It is more humane for a homeless person to have a pet than a ‘middle class’ family leaving Fido tied in the back yard or banished to the garage.
Pets make our lives happier! There are many health benefits of having a pet.
- Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
- People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.
- Playing with a pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
- Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.
- Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.
- Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.
- A pet doesn’t have to be a dog or a cat. Even watching fish in an aquarium can help reduce muscle tension and pulse rate.
Five to seven million stray cats and dogs enter animal shelters each year, according to the ASPCA, and most never make it out. About five to ten percent of the 3.5 million homeless people in America own dogs or cats, according to the nonprofit Pets of the Homeless, and in some areas the number is as high as 24 percent. Many pets are dumped in shelters for behavioral problems or a family move.
The U.S. population of stray pets has shrunk in recent decades, thanks largely to spay-and-neuter campaigns, but up to 4 million dogs and cats are still euthanized every year, on top of countless others that never even make it to a shelter.
SAF-T, Sheltering Animals & Families Togehter is a global initiative with over 70 shelters in the United States, Canada and Australia allowing pets on-site, created by Allie Phillips. But with approximately 2,500 shelters in the United States, and additional shelters worldwide, more needs to be done to keep families with pets safe.
- Volunteers help homeless people care for pets (gazettetimes.com)
- OSU veterinary students to care for homeless animals (gazettetimes.com)
- Homeless people are the usual priority, but what about unwanted animals? (nycitybeat.wordpress.com)
- 10 ways owning a pet benefits your health (mnn.com)