Homeless people with dogs

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Shakou, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    Inside and outside of homes this applies.

    Some homeless youth in Portland, when I volunteered for a program there, took amazing care of their dogs (the program offered food/vet care).

    Some I'm sure abuse them but is that really any more true of a statement for homeless than homed people?
     
  2. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Nope. My point exactly.;)
     
  3. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

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    This exactly.

    I don't think its romanticized at all. There are very real issues that come up because of it. However, JUST being homeless does not a bad owner make and, from the very least the dogs perspective it has some pros as well.
     
  4. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    I think, like dogs with owners who have homes.. it's more about the owner themselves then the living situation.

    All of the "homeless" dogs I've personally seen seem happy, healthy and well adjusted to their lives.. dogs are very adaptable and how well they fit into MANY lifestyles really does kind of prove that.

    In the city especially, I know a few rescues who work with the homeless to provide vet care and food to these dogs..and of course offer to take them if need be.

    Honestly, I worry much more about the people then the animals when it comes to these kinds of situations.
     
  5. ACooper

    ACooper Moderator

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    I think this sums it up for me.

    JUST being homeless is not the issue in my mind.

    Caring owners who happen to be homeless having dogs? I'm ok with it.

    Careless and/or abusive owners with or without homes having dogs? Not ok with it.
     
  6. Paige

    Paige Let it be

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    Are we sure these people are homeless? I know a lot of people who panhandle with their pets who make more than I do a month.
     
  7. Shakou

    Shakou New Member

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    Wow, this thread took right off. Guess it's time for me to write my own thoughts now.

    As said at the beginning of this thread, my husband and I take the summers off to do long distance bike riding. However, we're not your typical bike touring couple. We don't believe in dropping money on campgrounds and motels (unless we're sick or in for really bad weather) while doing this, so we do a LOT of camping, and when you're in a city, that calls for urban camping a lot of times. This is not always easy, as it sucks when you've just peddled 50 miles, and you'd give your left arm to just go to sleep for the night, but have to worry about being chased away by the cops, or what nut job is going to try and steal your stuff.

    So because of this, we try to befriend homeless people, as a lot of times, they know the area well, and can tell you where you can stay where you'll be safe, as well as tell you what other resources there are in the area. We've met TONS of homeless people this way, and almost all of them have had dogs.

    I've always had mixed feelings about this. I try to base my opinion on how good a pet owner is on an individual basis, because there's good and bad pet owners in all walks of life. Here's a few reoccurring patterns I've come to notice during the times we've spent in homeless camps.

    1. I've only ever encountered one person that did NOT have an addiction issue (although one guy later did give up drugs and booze for good).

    2. Even some of the nicest homebums we've met have had some underlying selfish motives, even if they didn't know it.

    3. Most dogs I've met that have belonged to homebums have looked healthy, but were more often then not unfriendly and uneasy with everyone outside of their owner.

    In a lot of places, the dogs go without a leash and are allowed to roam, even if the dog is unstable. When we did camp near homeless camps that had dogs, we'd make sure we set up a ways a way because we had our dogs with us, and we'd often wake up to a random dog just chillin' in front of our tent, no owner in sight. When we were in Sacramento, Ma'ii was attacked by someone's loose dog on a public hiking trail. The dog that attacked him was a Pit Bull that belonged to a homeless camp near by. A few days later in a different area, it almost happened again with a different dog, but this time the owner was there and grabbed his dog's collar before it could get to Ma'ii (who is always leashed in public areas), then got snarky at us for it, like it was somehow our fault. Again, this was on a public walking trail where anyone could walk their dog. In San Francisco, we almost had a heart attack when we watched some homebum's dog near get run over by the train trolley when he has crossed the road and his loose dog just casually took it's time crossing traffic. It almost seems like they have their own little societies and rules, and thus the rules of actual society are foreign to them. Maybe it's some of the addiction problems that make them think and do the things they do.

    In Sacramento, I ended up giving a girl some of our dog food because I over heard her mention how she needed to get to the homeless outreach center for some dog food, because her dogs hadn't eaten in two days. Yet she had bought plenty of booze earliar that morning. I don't doubt she loved her dogs, but there was a 99 cent store around the corner that had dog food, so there was no excuse for allowing them to starve for 2 days. I've seen dogs overloaded to the brim with saddlebags to the point where they can barely walk, and the owner carries nothing. Dogs are almost never spayed or neutered (despite that a lot of outreach centers will give you vouchers to have your dog altered for free if you're homeless), and if you see a female dog, she's either pregnant or just had puppies.

    I hate generalizing, and I know there's bad pet owners everywhere, but this seems to be what I notice a LOT of with homeless people regardless of what city we're in, to the point where I almost expect it now. I've met maybe one or two good homeless pet owners that were really caring for their dogs, but most end up dying as soon as they get sick.

    Despite that, I agree that it's better then the dogs rotting away unloved in a pound where they are ultimately just going to be killed anyways. I'm kind of conflicted on the topic I guess.
     
  8. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Well, it sounds like you've seen it all and from a close-up view. You make lots of good points. Many homeless people didn't get that way simply from losing their jobs.

    It is a mixed bag, isn't it.
     

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