For the Guardians of Rescue, helping the homeless in New York City with their pets could be labeled a controversial issue by some, but to these rescuers it’s all about the animals. On Monday, rescue volunteers, Brian, Marceline and Joe B. traveled to the city where they eagerly distributed waterproof jackets, food, and supplies for the dogs of homeless people; better equipping these pets to tolerate the cold and damp freezing temperatures.
“Homeless people and their pets are a reality. Is helping controversial? Possibly. But do we turn our backs and do nothing in the face of controversy? Some might, but Guardians of Rescue won’t. It is all about the animals,” the group posted on their Facebook page.
And off to work the Guardians of Rescue went; filling up dog bowls and zipping up warm vests on fuzzy canine bellies. They listened to the stories, petted the dogs and did their best to provide the basics – much of what many of us all take for granted. When they first spotted Sasha, a gray and white pittie mix, they knew she needed veterinarian attention for a hemotoma on her ear. After speaking with her owners and convincing them their dog needed medical care and she would have to be at the veterinarian hospital for a few days, they agreed. Sasha was transferred to the Save-A-Pet where her ear is being treated, and while there she will receive her vaccinations and be spayed. She will then rejoin her people who love her very much. They were provided with a cell phone to be able to check on their dog, and have been regularly keeping in touch.
“We know some people may ask why return Sasha to her owners? One, they care about her, and two, they will just get another dog. It would also make it so no homeless person would ever trust us to help dogs again, and other dogs will suffer from it,” explained the rescuers. “Some will say it is a harsh life for the dogs, but there are thousands of dogs living on chains, and tens of thousands of dogs being euthanized every day because nobody cared – all dogs that do not have the love that these homeless people give to their dogs.”
We have all heard that homeless people shouldn’t have dogs when they aren’t even capable of caring for themselves. While that may be one argument, there are many conflicting factors that should also be considered:
- Money isn’t the deciding factor if someone is to be allowed to love a dog or a cat. People who struggle also have the right to be loved and to love. Homeless people are everywhere, and of course trying to help these people and their pets get off the streets is an admirable focus, but these people aren’t asking for us to judge them.
- Dogs are naturally hardy creatures. Notice that most of the dogs living on the streets, with their homeless human companions, are generally the bigger dogs and the stronger breeds – we see lots of pit mixes, shepherd mixes and long-haired breeds able to withstand the weather and even more capable of curling up with their humans and staying warm. Many of these dogs are very protective of their owners; perhaps a good line of defense when one is homeless and doesn’t have a safe place to sleep.
- And then there’s the basic facts that homeless people most often don’t die from starvation. Somehow they have figured out how to find food for both themselves and their companions. These dogs are their emotional helpers; other times the dogs are their links to reality and the avenue some of these people travel through to survive. Need we also mention that wealthy people, working people and emotionally disturbed people who live in comfortable houses, abuse and starve their dogs too?
With all of the dogs who are euthanized daily because they have no place to go, why not offer a homeless person and their dog some food the next time you pass by – it’s not a cure, but there’s nothing wrong with a random act of kindness.
Photos of homeless dogs courtesy of Guardians of Rescue. To donate to this organization, please click here.
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