The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that 63% of households have at least one pet. When these people fall on hard times and are forced to move, finding affordable housing for themselves and their pet proves to be almost impossible. Just like us, many of the clients that we serve say that they would rather live on the streets, or in their car, than give up their beloved companion. Thus, many do. The San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless estimated that over 8,500 people were homeless in San Diego in January 2014.
As part of our merger with the San Diego Humane Society, PAWS San Diego now offers a Homeless Outreach Service. By partnering with human service organizations that support the homeless, we are able to provide pet food and support to help these families keep their pets.
This Thanksgiving, PAWS San Diego partnered with the San Diego Rescue Mission to serve the homeless. As these individuals and families lined up for their Thanksgiving Congregate Meal, many of them had their best friend in tow. PAWS San Diego’s dedicated volunteers and staff were on hand to make sure these furry friends were taken care of while their human companions enjoyed their warm, Thanksgiving meal. Most of these very loved, four legged friends are not used to being apart from their human companion, so we made sure both humans and pets were reassured that everything was going to be ok. Over 50 pets were walked, cuddled and taken care of, and they all left with pet food, supplies, smiles and wagging tails.
The reunion between pets and their people had to be seen to be believed. It was the best Thanksgiving gift we could have given ourselves and perhaps to these pet families too. It was priceless.