Pets give people so much quality of life, from their boundless love to the way that caring for them opens hearts to generosity. That love and sense of purpose don’t disappear when a pet owner hits hard times. One Louisville, Kentucky, organization is working to help the homeless keep their pets, giving them hope for the future. Beth Green founded My Dog Eats First after an experience she had with a homeless man. She was eating outside with her son when the man sat nearby with his dog. When her son gave the man some food, she was surprised to see the homeless man made sure his dog ate before he did. This act of caring and selflessness made a deep impression on her, and she got to thinking about the ways pets improve the lives of their owners, even if the owners are homeless. Perhaps especially when the owners are homeless.
Pets function as therapy, security and companions to their owners, who often make enormous sacrifices to keep them healthy. Many homeless pet owners say their pets give them a reason to keep going. Yet the challenges that a homeless pet owner faces are immense. Vaccinations, regular health care and proper diets are extremely hard for homeless people to provide. When they are unable to provide for their beloved animals, they must surrender them to already overburdened shelters, breaking not only their own hearts but the animals’ hearts as well. Taking the position that being homeless does not make a person unworthy of a pet’s love, My Dog Eats First works to provide proper food; supplies such as leashes and collars; pay-as-you-can dog training; necessary vaccinations; and spay/neuter services to the homeless in the Louisville, Kentucky area.
The organization hopes to provide the homeless with hope and keep their animals out of shelters. Other organizations also exist to help the homeless keep their pets, and there may be one near you. If you want to get involved in another program that’s helping homeless animals, read about this program that’s designed to feed shelter cats.
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