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Pets of the Homeless


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									Pets of the Homeless
A well dressed woman walks up to a homeless man and gives him a bag of
fast food on her way to work. The man has been sitting on the sidewalk in
the same spot for weeks, he looks up and says “God bless you.” The woman
nods and walks away but not before she turns to see him open the bag and
remove a burger, take a bite and give the rest to his dog. This scene is
played out everyday.
It is estimated by the National Coalition for the Homeless, Michael
Stoops, Acting Executive Director, that between 5% - 10% of homeless
people have dogs and/or cats. In 2004, 12.7% of the United States
population, or 37 million people, lived in poverty, and the numbers are
increasing each year. Most people who experience homelessness (80%) are
homeless for a short period of time, and usually need help finding
housing and/or a rent subsidy. But unfortunately, for those with pets it
becomes more difficult. Many are forced to choose between their pet and a
roof over their head. Surprisingly, most choose to stay on the streets
with their pets for longer periods of time. Their pets are nonjudgmental,
offer comfort, and provide an emotional bond of loyalty. In some cases,
they provide the homeless protection and keep them warm. The tragic part
is the pets of the homeless do not choose their owners.
A program called Feeding Pets of the Homeless was started to aid and
support this enormous forgotten part of our society - pets of the
homeless. Socially responsible veterinarian hospitals and clinics around
the country are collecting pet food from their clients. They have
partnered with a local food bank who then distributes the pet food to the
homeless and disadvantaged. The national program gives the veterinarian’s
clients and staffs a feeling that they are doing something worthwhile.
Participating clinics/hospitals are listed on the Feeding Pets of the
Homeless website at http://www.PetsofHomeless.com along with the
partnering food bank. Paw Publishing is marketing the program nationwide
while the individual veterinarian clinics/hospitals publicize it in their
local communities.
Genevieve Frederick, founder of Paw Publishing.

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