As long as I can remember, homeless people have been very devoted pet owners. It isn’t unusual that they take better care of their pets than they take care of their own needs. The pet is often the last vestige of “normal” life – a reminder of happier times. And the loyalty and joy of that animal is welcome by those that are getting kicked around by life and the community.
A pet does complicate life however.
I met a guy with bronchitis who refused to come inside, even after I found a supportive vet who was willing to board the dog for free. It was more than a little frustrating to me, since it was wet and cold outside, and the guy was in very tough shape. But the dog was his best friend, and he simply did not want to be separated. Part of my frustration, though, was my being stoked at talking the vet into helping, and then having to call him back and say “Never mind.”
Lots of campers in the organized tent cities have animals. The dogs are pretty well-behaved, though I did have a normally docile basset hound make the loveliest basso profundo howl, until she smelled the hot pizza.
The pups in that particular camp are loved by most everyone. The few times one ran away or got run over, the tears were shared by all.
But why should it be any different for homeless people than the rest of us?