Photos courtesy of © Feeding Pets of the Homeless
There is a special bond between people and their pets—one that is unconditional and non-judgemental. For millions across the globe, a regular morning includes spending time with their fluffy companions, and the thought of losing them is devastating. It’s no surprise, then, that people experiencing homelessness are just as loyal to their pets.
Like anyone else, they find solace, protection, and companionship through their pets, and they, in turn, want to protect their pets. With limited resources, this often means putting their pets before themselves.
Feeding Pets of the Homeless® (FPOTH) believes in the healing power of companion pets and of the human-animal bond. Their task, nationwide, is to feed and provide basic emergency veterinary care to their pets and thus relieve the anguish and anxiety of the homeless who cannot provide for their pets.
Since 2008, Feeding Pets of the Homeless has collected and helped distribute 1,608,215 pounds of pet food, paid for over 23,800 veterinary treatments, and provided over $2,301,050 in veterinary care, pet food, and crates. With a network of thousands of hospitals, wellness clinics, and emergency clinics, Feeding Pets of the Homeless is able to help the less fortunate access necessary care for their pets.
The pandemic has only made it harder for the homeless and less fortunate to access the services and support they need. Feeding Pets of the Homeless has seen a 38 percent increase in calls between 2020 to 2021, with no indication of slowing down in 2022. The three full-time case managers, who work with homeless people who have ill or injured pets, have seen emergency veterinary care appointments up 28 percent with costs up 54 percent.
Photos Courtesy of © Feeding Pets of the Homeless
“One out of three [pet owners] will face an unexpected pet expense that causes financial worry,” said founder Genevieve Frederick. “For them, a $250 veterinary bill is a financial issue, but for the homeless without any funds, it can be devastating.”
This was the case for Ama, a service dog who lived on the streets in Santa Cruz, CA, with her human. She was hurt and in desperate need of medical attention to save her life. Ama is a service animal that helps her human know before she has a seizure so she can get to a safe place. With the help of FPOTH, Ama and her human were able to access the care she needed.
“I currently work with underprivileged youth teaching classical music and play violin professionally,” shared Ama’s human. “I am able to give back to the community because I was able to make it through the most difficult period of time in my entire life because I had the love and support of my dog thanks to FPOTH.”
Each day is a struggle for those experiencing homelessness, and their pets have little recourse. No matter where they live, no pet deserves to go hungry or suffer from illness or injury. With your help, the lives of these pets and their devoted owners can be made a little easier, healthier, and happier.
For more information on how to get help, volunteer, or donate, visit petsofthehomeless.org or call 775-841-7463.
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Feeding Pets of the Homeless® is the first and one of the few national nonprofits providing pet food and emergency veterinary care to pets that belong to homeless people.