Living Homeless with Animal Companions
The strength of the bond between people and their animal companions is well documented; people make huge sacrifices for their animals. Just because someone is living homeless does not reduce the strength of the bond or the willingness to make a sacrifice for an animal companion. Indeed the bond for some will be stronger, people living homeless are with their animal companions 24/7 for 365 days of the year and huge sacrifices may be made, like deciding to live in a vehicle rather than surrendering an animal companion to be able and go into a shelter. For many people living homeless their animal companion is their main source of social and emotional support.
There is much research on the value of having companion animals. Examples include:
- helping reduce heart rate and blood pressure in stressful situations
- dogs helping encourage exercise and getting out into the community
- dogs functioning as a social lubricant, encouraging conversations about the pet and making the person seem more approachable
- dogs making people seem more trustworthy
So why should it be any different if someone is living homeless with their animal companion ?
Homeless people described their animal companions and the roles that they played in their lives in multiple ways. As:
- a friend and companion
- unconditional love
- a being who lightens their day, being amusing and cute
- a reason for being
- a reason to not get into trouble, to not get too drunk or use too many drugs
- someone to care for and to be responsible for
- someone who offers affection 'with no strings' unlike people
- someone to be an advocate for
- someone who is depending on them
The vast majority of homeless people who have spoken about their animals were very concerned to do a good job in looking after their companion animal but often did not have the financial resources to do so.
Please make a donation
There are many ways that you can help us. Please see our donate page or click the PayPal donation button below.