My wife and I were in San Diego last week. In addition to some of the great things about the city immediately evident to us, one of the first things we noticed there is the obvious chronic nature of homelessness.
On our way into the city one evening, we passed a man nestled into a sleeping bag, spooning a beautiful, blocky pit bull. Despite the circumstances, they both seemed extraordinarily peaceful and while we didn’t say anything about the scene at the moment, it weighed on us both. After dinner, my wife brought it up and said that if were to see them again, she wanted give them money. More time passed, we saw some friends for a while, walked around the city some more and the scene had been nearly pushed out of our minds before we rounded the corner to our hotel and saw the man and his dog in a different spot. He was standing this time and had in his hand a plastic bag filled with leftovers. The dog sat obedient and beautiful, and stared patiently at his friend. “See? We have everything we need for the night, buddy!” said the man, extending the bag downward. “I told you we would.” He didn’t see us standing there, and we were afforded this candid look at their friendship. The dog responded by wagging his tail with subdued enthusiasm.
My wife quietly interrupted and made her offering, to which the man responded appreciatively and, touched by that candid transaction between friends, we speechlessly made our way back to the hotel.
IMAGE CREDIT: Feeding Pets of the Homeless
NOTE: As of last April, the number of people without homes in San Diego is down 4 percent, showing that “the city’s efforts to provide shelter and aid might be paying off.”
Also, I came upon this organization—Pets of the Homeless—which I look forward to learning more about. Their mission: 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.