The companionship of a pet is something unlike anything else. They love unconditionally. Many homeless people become homeless with a pet already. And for many, they are the reason they keep trying to provide a better life. There are many reasons why a pet plays a critical role as a companion and protector and in many ways, can save the life of their owner.
For many homeless people their pet is a reminder of the life they had before becoming homeless. They had the pet before they lost their job or their home and they strive to get back to that sense of normalcy. After getting back on their feet their pet is a reminder of what they overcame and the love they experienced at their lowest point.
Being homeless can be very dangerous, especially for women or the disabled. A pet is a watchful eye while they sleep. They alert their owner if they are being robbed or if someone is too close. When it feels like you have no one looking out for you, a pet can bring a welcomed sense of security.
Homelessness is oftentimes very lonely. For many people suffering from homelessness it’s because they lost their support system or are physically separated by distance from their support system. A pet provides the unconditional love and comfort that humans crave. The need for companionship is just as prevalent as the need for permanent housing, food and water.
For many homeless people the only interaction they get in a day is because of their pet. Having a pet around makes them seem more inviting and friendly. People come up to ask about their dog or cat. Pets are a way for people to feel more comfortable talking to the homeless community and bridge that gap.
The pets of the homeless mean everything to them. If you have lost everything then what little you have left you protect with your life. This includes their pets. Their pet is the reason they get up and try to improve their living situation. So that they can provide a better life for their pet.
If you are looking for ways to help the homeless community or their pets there are many ways in which you can provide support. Try donating to non-profits, like Art from the Streets, because the best way to help the pet is to get their owner back on their feet.
Crystal has been coming to AFTS Open Studio for more than 5 years and tries to attend once a week “so that I feel like I’m doing something - life’s not just passing me by. I have something to look forward to.”
“Life can draw you away from your real talent, and AFTS helped me rediscover an old talent. [AFTS] gave me the opportunity to rekindle that talent.”
During these times of lock down, social distancing and increasingly less human connection, we are determined to bring our artists and others experiencing homelessness an opportunity for self-expression and creative relief to combat the increasing risk of depression and isolation.