Feeding Pets of the Homeless® believes in the healing power of pets.
Feeding Pets of the Homeless® believes in the healing power of companion pets and of the human/animal bond, which is very important in the lives of many homeless. They find solace, protection and companionship through their pets. They care for their pets on limited resources so they themselves have less. Our task, nationwide, is to feed and provide basic emergency veterinary care to their pets and thus relieve the anguish and anxiety of the homeless who cannot provide for their pets.
Several years ago, our founder, Genevieve, and her husband visited New York City. They saw a homeless man with his beautiful healthy, mixed breed dog at his side. He wasn’t panhandling. She had always ignored the homeless but this time, something was different. She couldn’t get that dog out of her mind.
She tried to imagine what brought the man to be homeless. Was it drugs, alcoholism? That’s the conclusion most people make about the homeless. This man didn’t look like an addict, and she wondered why and how he got to where he was in life. And, what about his dog? It was obvious the dog was devoted to the man. He was not on a leash and could have run away at any time. She was confused about why anyone homeless, who could barely feed or take care of themselves, would even consider having a pet.
When she returned home, she researched the homeless with pets and came across the “National Coalition for the Homeless.” At the time, their estimates indicated that 3.5 million people in America were homeless and that between 5%-10% of homeless have dogs and/or cats. In some areas of the country, the rate is as high as 25%. Most people who experience homelessness are homeless for a short period and usually need help to find housing or a rent subsidy. Unfortunately for those with pets, it becomes more difficult, and many homeless are forced to choose between their pet and a roof over their head. Surprisingly, most choose to stay on the streets with their pets. Why? The answer became evident to Genevieve. Their pets are nonjudgmental; provide comfort and an emotional bond of loyalty. In some cases, they provide the homeless with protection and keep them warm.
Genevieve’s family has almost always had dogs and cats, which made her wonder, what would she do if faced with homelessness? Could she give up her pets? It felt equal to giving up her children. While they would possibly be better off emotionally, it would be a devastating decision to make because of the comfort and unconditional love they give.
It was one of those “ah-ha” moments when she realized that she could do something for those pets. And so began Feeding Pets of the Homeless®.
Donors have told us over the years that they feel such compassion for the pets of the homeless but were afraid to approach due to safety concerns and welcomed the opportunity our organization give for a safe and easy way to help.
That one day in New York changed Genevieve’s life. It created a passion she did not know she held that utilized her past education, life experiences, and careers to start this unique nonprofit. Each day, she looks forward to knowing that Feeding Pets of the Homeless® is providing pet food and veterinary care to the hundreds of thousands of pets that wander the streets with their owners. And she looks forward to each day knowing that we can assist the calls from the homeless or about to be homeless.
The homeless with pets are often desperate to find a shelter to go to that will allow their pets. They seek help to find an agency that will give them pet food. They are frantic to find emergency veterinary care for injuries or illnesses.
Next time you see a homeless person with a pet, think of Genevieve’s story. Please share it with your friends and consider donating to our organization. Such donations help pay for emergency care, wellness clinics, and pet crates for homeless shelters. Check to see if there is a pet food and supplies donation site in your community. If there isn’t, consider helping us to get one started.
Thank you for your interest and support,