How can I help raise funds for Animal Aid Network Dudes Ranch Rescue?
First off, it is important to know you are what makes our foundation work. Without your efforts and contribution(s), nothing will continue to be done.
Please review the Animal Aid Network Dude’s Ranch fundraising policies - (link to be made)
Why give to Animal Aid Dude’s Ranch Rescue?
In some areas of the country, the rate of homeless with pets is as high as 25%. Their pets provide them with unconditional love and are many times fed before their owner. With 3.5 million Americans being homeless, it’s vital that we assist in providing a lifeline to help them get back on their feet again.
Who are the homeless with pets?
Each homeless person has a unique story; they are people. Some have lost their homes and jobs, some have mental disorders, some are addicts, and some are parolees. Some are families, disabled, elderly, abused spouses, teens, and veterans.
Why do the homeless have pets when they can barely take care of themselves?
Pets provide deep comfort. Pets are non-judgmental. They are loyal. They provide warmth and security. The homeless get a type of normalcy by providing food and water for their pets. In some cases, they provide them with reality.
Some homeless would sacrifice their own food for their pets. Then there is the protection factor. Living on the streets is dangerous especially for women and the disabled.
For many on the streets, these animals provide them with security from other homeless or from those that discriminate against the homeless with beatings or from others who may steal their modest possessions.
In an article by Danielle Wolffe, “8 Reasons Homeless People ‘Deserve’ to Have Dogs”:
1. Who are we to judge?
Finances don’t indicate who a person is, what they are capable of, how much love they deserve or where it should come from. Poverty is not a character trait. A struggling person deserves the same intimate connections as everyone else.
More importantly, having money doesn’t give us the right to make those decisions for others — doesn’t give us exclusive dominion over animals or children. When somebody makes that argument I want to tell them to get over themselves. Seriously.
2. This is the world that we live in.
In this strange world, we often see as many people living on the streets as those walking it. Alleviating problems that cause homelessness is a good goal. However, if these scenes are so commonplace; we might also accept the fact that they mirror our own lives.
Homeless people we live alongside deserve to live (as we all do) free from judgment. They are out there in plain sight, but that doesn’t mean they volunteered to be guests on a talk show; that we’re allowed to be the audience, sheepishly shaking our heads and mouthing our disapproval to the cameras.
3. Dogs are hearty, resilient creatures who come to us when we need them.
I worked for one season as a sled dog mushing guide in Wyoming. Those tough dogs slept in houses made of huge, hollowed out, straw-filled cable spools. Temperatures regularly dipped well below zero. The dogs were built for that weather. We often were surprised to see a few of them lounging on top of their houses on the coldest days.
Some retired sled dogs became house dogs. The house dogs were spoiled and sometimes refused to go outside. Still, when out in the yard, they were fine. Dogs are adaptable and only as fragile as we make them out to be.
Homeless people’s dogs are appropriately chosen. I am relatively certain most street people’s dogs are not the miniature poodles that wealthy women on the Upper East Side dress in sweaters and push around in baby carriages. They are mostly mutts of hearty winter faring stock, giant dogs that offer the extra measure of protection people might need on the streets.
4. People who love their dogs, find ways to care for them.
While it is true that homeless people may struggle to find food; in this country, people don’t generally die exclusively from diseases related to starvation. I personally went hungry a day or two in my life so my dog could eat (I had housing at the time). I assume homeless people do the same and are as tenacious about finding food for their dogs as they are for themselves.
Likewise, they probably know ways to stay warm and find good spots to snuggle. When you love another being, you find a way to take care of them. You just do.
5. The need for companionship is just as important as the need for food or shelter
Taking care of others reinforces our purpose for living, People may not die from loneliness, but in some ways, they can cease to exist if they truly cut themselves off from the world.
A person who has a dog to take care of and love is more apt to be healthier, to feel more a part of the world.
Healthier people do not tend to be as much of a “threat” to other people.
6. Housing doesn’t mean that a person is good or bad.
It is possible that there are some people who are homeless and have a mental illness that may cause them to neglect or abuse their dogs. There are plenty of people living in houses who do the same.
7. Homeless dogs are working dogs.
American homeless people deserve pets because they are part of our culture. At the same time, those dogs earn their keep as guard dogs, therapy dogs, and traveling companions.
8. Instead of criticizing, help.
If you are worried about a dog you see on the street, give his owner some dog food, or a couple of hamburgers. There are also organizations set up to help street dogs get vaccinations and food. One of these organizations is Animal Aid Network
What are some common misconceptions about the homeless?
The leading misconception is that the homeless are lazy and do not want jobs or the responsibility that goes with a job. With the economy today, one missed paycheck, a medical diagnosis, or an abusive spouse can put someone into homelessness overnight.
What types of support do the animals provide their homeless owners?
Their pets are nonjudgmental, offer comfort, and provide an emotional bond of loyalty. In some cases, they provide the homeless protection and keep them warm. Medical authorities have proven that pets benefit in many ways.
How do homeless people take care of their pets?
Medically, the homeless are not that good at providing vaccinations or spay or neutering because of the cost and separation that is required. People have reported to me that they have tried to offer to take a pet to a veterinary clinic but the homeless have refused because they are afraid that the person will take the pet and never return it. They are mistrusting and who can blame them. They are invisible in our society and on the other hand, they are shouted at and sometimes targets of hate crimes.
Pet food is hard to come by and the homeless usually panhandle to get money to buy food for their self and pet. It is a shame when we see someone share their hamburger with their pet. But it happens. And most times the money goes to buy human food which they share with the pet. This is a very unhealthy practice for pets, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis.
While researching pets that belong to homeless people, I was surprised to find that most of the pets are quite well cared for.
Of course many have nutritional needs that are not met but they are well-loved and taken care of, as well as possible.
In some cases, the pet is a link to reality and the person will do anything to protect his/her pet.
How do you gain trust so you can help?
Rightfully, the homeless are afraid that people will take their pets, thinking they are doing the homeless person and the pet a favor, when in fact they are doing great harm. A human/animal bond has been created and no one should separate them. Some homeless have such separation anxiety that they will not go to a hospital when they are in need of medical treatment because they have no one to care for their pet or fear the authorities will take their pet away from them.
Animal Aid Network offers grants to veterinarians who will go to where the homeless congregate or camp to offer these treatments. Ask your veterinarian to apply.
How are you able to get the word out to the homeless in order for them to take advantage of this program?
Word of mouth travels quickly in homeless communities. Once a food bank or soup kitchen starts distributing pet food, they come. Some find out about the program through the website at public libraries, and on their phones. Some find us through their social workers.