Living with Dogs

Pets of the Homeless Support Vulnerable People and Animals in Need

This year we’ve decided to donate the proceeds of our print edition of Off the Leash to Pets of the Homeless, a group providing food, veterinary care, and other support to vulnerable animals and their owners. We’ve been fans of the group for a long time, so wanted to take the opportunity to tell you about all the great work they do.

Pets of the Homeless’ Mission

Pets of the Homeless was founded by Yvonne Hong in 2015. A long time animal lover and frequent volunteer at shelters and soup kitchens, she was moved and distressed by the experiences of people sleeping rough with their pets. While she personally always took the time to stop, chat, and help out where she could, she was aware of a gap in the support services for people facing homelessness while trying to look after their animal mates. Deciding to do something about it, she began Pets of the Homeless as a way to offer more structured and ongoing help, and to encourage others to do the same.

How They Help People and Pets in Need

Pets of the Homeless began by providing people with food and supplies. But in the last five years they have expanded to also help people access and pay for vet care (such as preventative medicines, desexing and vaccinations); and to offer short term emergency animal boarding when people need to enter crisis accommodation, hospital, or are fleeing violent situations.

Pets of the homeless
Image via @pothaustralia

The Power of Pets

The work of Pets of the Homeless highlights the vital role animals can play in the lives of vulnerable people. For individuals experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness a pet can provide company, security, and a sense of purpose. Having a pet is also widely known to offer mental health benefits, something vital to a community experiencing such extraordinary pressures. While each person’s relationships to their pets is unique, many individuals sleeping rough report feeling safer, more connected, and soothed when they have their animals by their side.

Help pets of the homeless
Image via @pothaustralia

How You Can Help Pets of the Homeless

If you’d like to support this great work, there are lots of things you can do. Monetary donations can be made via their site, you can also buy merch, volunteer, foster a pet, hold a fundraiser or donation drive, get your employer involved, or buy a copy of our magazine.

While they’re not collecting physical and food donations at the moment, you can also keep an eye out for when they will be again.

Read about Scratch co-founder Mike’s experience fostering a dog through Pets of the homeless, and learn more about dog adoption.

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Written by Wendy Syfret
Wendy is Head of Media at Scratch. Which is a good fit, because she's never met a dog she didn't like. Although she has a special place in her heart for muts: three legs, one eye, missing fur, bit of a weird walk? The scruffier the better. Her favourite dog in the whole world though is her terrier-mix Stevie.