Homeless People and pets

You can help a homeless person and his pet this Winter

homelessThe really cold weather that we usually experience in the UK during the winter months is extraordinary, with temperatures sometimes falling below -20 C. Many farm and domestic animals are at risk from this severe cold weather, but are you aware of an equally exposed group of animals, the large number of homeless pets, mainly dogs, that live rough on our streets today.

Many of these dogs are kept as pets by homeless people, and regardless of the conflicting views whether they should actually keep pets or not, the truth of the matter is that many of these dogs are at risk from the extreme weather conditions.

Homeless Dogs and their owners

The majority of people imagine that a homeless animal may have a pretty unhappy life, but many of these dogs have a very strong relationship with their owners, more attached than a domestic dog would be. Many homeless people will admit that owning a pet is what gives them hope, with money that might have been otherwise spend on drugs or alcohol, actually being spent on their dog. A lot of the dogs are found to be in good health, with their homeless owners often putting their pet’s needs before their own. It’s thought that as the person and the pet spend so much time interacting with each other, their bond is amazingly strong.

Homeless Shelters

Although in the main, homeless shelters don’t often accommodate dogs, there are around 27 in the London area that will take in people together with their pets. Many of them are run by volunteers, others are community initiatives, and most of them will rely on donations or charities for funding.

How can you help a homeless person and their dog?

In addition to making monetary donations, the proceeds of which will go towards the pet’s Vets bills, accommodation and food for both man and dog, as individuals we can also help by providing care packages containing useful items of food, clothing. toiletries and medication that may help to make a homeless person’s life just that little bit better.

Items to consider placing in a care package:

Sleeping Bag, Blanket, Sleeping Mat

Warm clothes, waterproofs, thermals, underwear, socks, hats, gloves, scarf, hand warmers

Tinned soups and meal in a tin, easy to carry snack items

Toiletries, antiseptic hand wash, toiletries, ladies sanitary items, ear plugs

Small packages can be made up to hand out containing toiletries, or perhaps take a rucksack that you no longer use and fill it with some of the above items to make a handy care bag. If you’re intending to pass onto a homeless person that you know has a dog, include some pouches of dog food or dog biscuits, and perhaps a dog chew for a pet toy too. A padded dog coat, flea and worming products and maybe a new dog collar and lead would also come in useful and be very much  appreciated.

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