Being a rescue means being an advocate for dogs – for their safety, well-being, protection, and security. A part of rescue is not only to help homeless dogs find homes but to also help prevent dogs who do have homes from becoming homeless.
The Perfect Storm
When Covid-19 began to take its grip across the globe, it became a catalyst for the perfect storm of a global pandemic of pet homelessness. With people finding themselves with more free time, they flocked to rescues and shelters. Others took notice of the demand and began breeding their dogs in order to make a supplementary income. But then the world tilted further off its axis.
Social distancing during lockdown mandates meant puppies were not getting the proper socialization they needed during their formative years. Trainers and vets experienced lengthy wait times due to the sudden surge in demand. People began to return to their physical workplaces, and no longer had the time to devote at home. Others lost their livelihood and struggled to find new employment. The cost of living began to steadily increase – from the cost of food to rent and mortgages. Suddenly, what seemed like the ideal pet parent situation became precarious.
In Everyone’s Best Interest
Having financial means is not always an indication of a good pet owner. One can have an abundance of wealth but never spend a penny on their dog. Alternatively, those who have much less can devote every spare dime to their furry friend. Having the ability to provide the best possible care for one’s dog is important, but it is also important for us to remember that good dog owners can be vulnerable and fall into hard times too.
Social service organizations report that individuals would rather live on the streets with their dogs than seek refuge at a shelter without them. When people go through hard times, the love and companionship of their dog are often all they have. Their dogs give them a sense of stability, meaning, responsibility, and self-esteem at a time when they may feel marginalized and invisible. Separating a pet from their owner is also emotionally traumatic for the dog, as they are taken away from their chosen, bonded human(s).
Our Role as a Rescue Organization
As a dog rescue, our main priority is to act in the best interest of the dogs. And in these circumstances, it means doing whatever we can to help dogs stay with their owners by whatever means possible.
As an organization, we have been extremely privileged to be in the position to do so. In the last few years, when the effects of pandemic-related unemployment became painfully rampant, we began to see a need to help our local community more than ever. As a result, we sought to assist local dog owners facing income insecurity to meet their dog’s needs.
Together, with the generous help of our community and donors, we were able to donate extra supplies we did not need. Donating these items meant dog owners could use the funds they would have otherwise spent on dog food and supplies towards meeting their own basic needs. $50 saved on replacing a worn-out harness could now be put towards a phone bill. $100 saved on a bag of dog food could now be put towards rent. In order to maximize our impact, we worked with community organizations that served these communities in order to get them directly into the hands of the people who needed them.
Expanding the Impact
It is fitting that as a dog rescue, we are in a convenient position to help dog owners. However, contributing to homelessness prevention doesn’t require much at all. Numerous social service charities and organizations happily accept donations of new or gently used clothing and household items, or new toiletries and personal items for the communities they serve, which include homeless shelters or supportive housing. Helping provide these necessities and making them accessible to those in need helps empower them in other areas of their lives.
We encourage everyone to support their fellow dog owners and their dogs, as families deserve to stay together. With spring around the corner, and the inevitable spring cleaning to follow, consider donating directly to a community service organization that helps deliver much-needed items directly into the hands of people where they will have a significant impact.
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