We’re big fans of Paul O’Grady and the work he does with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. This week he joined charity StreetVet on the streets of London, helping to give access to veterinary care for the homeless and their dogs. In this post we’ll explore how the homeless come to care for dogs, and often look after them better than they care for themselves.
Why do homeless people keep dogs?
There are a few ways a person who is homeless may find themselves with a dog. Many homeless people find abandoned dogs on the street or being poorly looked after by others. Equally, people may find themselves becoming homeless and already have pets. Dogs are the ideal companions for homeless people being natural protectors and loyal friends in an otherwise lonely existence.
What does StreetVet do?
StreetVet are on the streets of London and other cities at least 4 days every week providing vaccinations, microchipping and treatment for the dogs of the homeless population. It’s so easy to ignore a homeless person in the street and most of the attention they do get can be very negative. StreetVet help them to care for their pets and provide a non-judgemental ear to listen and share advice.
How well looked after are these dogs?
In the program with Paul O’Grady, we were told the story of Andy whose adorable dog Bailey is credited with getting him off drugs. Andy said that the thought of not being able to care for his dog pulled him out of his addiction. Bailey is fit and healthy and Andy notes that it’s a matter of pride that his dog is well looked after. If there is not enough food for Bailey, Andy will sacrifice his own meal for his dog. StreetVet also mention in the show that most homeless people will forego hospital visits, or accommodation in order to keep their pets, and that most ensure their dog eats first.
How you can help
If you were as moved as we were by the great work this wonderful charity does you can get involved. You can donate money, your time if you have veterinary skills, or you can notify them of the location of a dog. If you can donate a small amount to help it will help StreetVet to continue to provide support to the homeless community.
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