Have you ever wondered how the homeless care for their dogs?

By Linda Norris

Marketing & Events Coordinator For The Rainbow Paws Program
Linda Norris - Marketing & Events Coordinator For The Rainbow Paws Program

Have you ever wondered how the homeless care for their dogs? These loving dogs give these men and women a reason to get up every day to continue surviving. They are often the only thing they have remaining of a previous life when things weren't as tough and are often the only friendly face that is consistent and dependable and the only living thing that shows any love and affection.

Believe it or not, these men and women will not eat until their dog has. They will spend any spare dollars making sure their pet's needs are met before theirs, but sometimes these sacrifices aren't quite enough to ensure these treasured pets are at their optimum health and that's where charities like The Rainbow Paws Program and Pets in the Park step in. We've all seen how the last 18 months have unfolded. First we had relentless drought, followed by devastating bushfires and just when we thought it couldn't get any worse, COVID-19 hit and changed everything. Workplaces shut down, people were unable to work or laid off and with no income - how do rents and mortgages get paid? It's not only people who get evicted, their pets do too and unfortunately not everyone has somewhere or someone they can turn too, especially if there is a pet involved.

In the quiet suburbs of Canberra, a team of volunteers from The Rainbow Paws Program work tirelessly to pack pet food to distribute to local charities and food pantries, coordinate emergency vet care and pet boarding and work with the Pets in the Park team who provide a monthly vet clinic of volunteer vets and vet nurses for the pets of the homeless. These charities understand the importance pets have in the lives of these men and women, who were just like you and me in our warm houses once upon a time.

But they don't do it alone. There is a silent army in the corners of Canberra, of generous businesses, of members of the community who donate pet food, dog jackets, money for vet supplies and boarding and if anything is needed and we don't have it, we humbly ask and there is always someone who will help with what is needed. This silent army know these dogs are providing hope for better times ahead, protection and warmth on those cold Canberra winter nights and a best friend when there is no one else.

Ensuring these dogs are in peak health and most of all are happy and content in difficult circumstances is what their owners really want for them. Life isn't always easy and the last 18 months have proven that to all of us. For the homeless, the last thing they have left is their dog, who they love as much as you and I love ours. It could be easy to judge, but instead of that, remember who would you want by your side if you were all alone with nowhere to go?My dogs!

Next time you see a homeless person with a dog, please give a smile and a dollar or two if you have it, these dogs mean more to them than you could ever imagine and the difference these dogs make in their lives is more than we could ever know.

5 views0 comments