There are many shelters in our area which will help homeless pregnant women or women with dependent children. HOWEVER there are few (I think one) that will help a woman without children unless they have an addiction and none that will accept a woman with her pet. This is a serious gap in services.
A widely growing trait of homeless people after they have lost everything is an extreme attachment to their pet or pets, often dogs. These comfort animals are the last thing they have and provide companionship and a feeling of better safety. Often the woman will choose to sleep on the street with their pet rather than be alone in a shelter. This is not just “I like my pet”: this is a serious psychological dependency on the pet and separation results in serious anxiety. And it is becoming more common.
Shelters refuse pets because some children are afraid of animals and sometimes pets make messes. While some shelters will allow pets with a doctor’s letter documenting the need, getting medical certification of this need apparently takes several visits (at a cost) to the homeless person, so they will actually go months without shelter.
This is unacceptable. While talking about this situation with staff at a local shelter last week, we agreed there is a need for shelters who will accept women who are not pregnant, addicted, or with dependent children with their comfort animal.
I am interested in talking with 1) other social local agencies and 2) philanthropists who would like to help solve this problem. My daytime office phone Tuesday through Friday 11:00-4:00 is 260.432.0014 extension 128.
John D. Nash, CEO
Adult Life Training, Inc.