While out walking my dog Griffin this morning I saw a homeless guy with a loaded down shopping cart, and a large Pitbull-Mastiff-looking dog in tow. Having five dogs that live in the lap of luxury most days, it is hard for me to fathom what the life of a dog of a homeless person must be like. The dog didn’t look unhappy or underfed; he just looked like a dog that was just as beloved as mine.
Just the same, I get a bit indignant when I see homeless people with dogs, because I feel that if they can’t care for themselves, how are they going to care for a dog? What if the dog needs medical attention? What happens if the dog bites someone?
There are a zillion homeless pets in shelters all over the country, each and every one with a different story about how they got there. The ones I feel sorriest for are the ones who, at one time, had lives similar to what my dogs have now; but circumstances such as a new baby in the house, financial hardship, high maintenance, behavioral problems, and such, resulted in the pet’s life being turned upside down, many times with no way back to the life — or something similar — they once knew.
We acquired our Griffin* because his previous owner couldn’t afford to care for him and his sister anymore. Apparently the gentleman was in tears when he dropped Griffin and his sister off at the shelter. How heartbreaking for all. To compound Griffin’s heartbreak and confusion, someone adopted the sister right away. This really sent Griffin into a funk; he hovered toward the back of his cage and no prospective adopters could even see him.
The shelter Griffin was at didn’t have a “No Kill” policy, so Griffin’s days were numbered. Someone from the shelter called a dog foster parent, a gentleman named Jesse, who took Griffin home and along with his other 3-4 dogs, helped get Griffin socialized again.
Jesse sent an email with photo about Griffin to various people, Chuck’s sister Bonnie, included. Long story short, Griffin came to live with our four dogs and us. Over time, the whole Who Rescued Whom adage came into play.
But getting back to homeless people and their dogs (or pets of any kind); who is more fortunate: the homeless person’s dog, who, technically could be considered homeless as well, but still has companionship; or the dog in the shelter, who, aside from a temporary doggie roommate, has no companionship at all, but perhaps the possibility and hopes for a forever home in his or her future?
As I write this it seems to be naptime for most of my brood. Olive on the ottoman, Wrigley on a throw-blanket on the floor, Trudy on her dog bed, Maggie on the chaise lounge, and on the window seat, Griff — the only dog of mine who has been to the dark side, and lucky enough to have made it back — to his forever home.
*He had had a couple of different names before we got him, including “Monkey,” which the foster home gave him. He seemed immediately like a “Griffin” to me, possibly because of his cross breeding of Schnauzer and Brussels Griffon.