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This question stems from a walk down town today. A gentleman who was panhandling and is clearly having a rough go right now also had a dog with him. I cant go so far as to say they were both homeless, but they could be, or at the least were definately in need of help. I gave him a bill and the dog a treat I had in my jacket pocket (as a dog owner I seem to always have treat in a pocket). This begs the question, what kind of life is this for a dog, and is it being well cared for? Should this guy have the dog rehomed and concentrate on just taking care of himself before trying to feed and care for a dog too. Or, the corollary is, this dog is probably a major source of companionship for him and it may be one of the few things keeping him going right now.

 

Discuss?

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Replies to This Discussion

I would think that if he already owned the dog, why would he want to give him up too...Or if he was homeless and the dog was a stray maybe they became friends....Dogs don't really care if they sleep in your bed or on your couch with the TV on they just want love and food...this dog might just be more balanced and act like dogs should act...I am speaking for myself, the Cesar Milan would not like the way I spoil my dogs....They may all that each other have and that could be a good thing both for the dog and the man...just my opinion.
Once, the shelter I volunteer at kept a dog for a man who became homeless. ( The dog was not on the adoption floor ) The man was staying at the human shelter, but he caught a bus to the animal shelter few times a week to see about his dog, spent time with him, etc.... Few months later, when he got his own apartment, he came to get his dog. This story was really touching, because the man loved his dog, and he was committed to be reunited with him and he did.
That IS sweet!
When I lived in New Orleans (I was actually born there, moved away, but moved back to a nearby city when I was in college) there was a homeless man I used to visit with. He had lost his wife and daughters in a car accident. He lived on the street, he had a shopping cart, a dog and a pet rat. He was a very nice guy, and I got to know him. It turned out he got regular checks -- from the VA --- not enough to live off of, but enough to buy some food and replace clothes, etc. He told me none of the shelters (for homeless) allowed animals so he slept on the streets to be with his dog. I never gave him money. He never asked for it. I bought him a survival fork/knife/can opener, some canned food.. and a big bag of dog food. He would buy large bags of dog food -- and they would all eat it if needed. I would visit him and bring him a few sandwiches I made, and we would talk. I moved away from the area, and I still wonder about him. He is my reminder that you never know what has happened to someone else, and to think before you judge.

Back to the question of animal ownership --- His dog was more important to him then his own comfort. How many dog owners can say that? I definitely don't think you can make any hard and fast rules across the board that decides what makes a good owner. Yes, you could argue he didn't have a lot of money for huge vet bills... but just because someone HAS the money doesn't mean they will take care of the animal. The dog he had was nothing special. It was a stray, not a pretty dog, large in size. Very likely this dog would have been euthanized after not being adopted. He and the dog were companions, I'm sure the dog offered him some insurance sleeping nights outside.. warned him of trouble... and he loved the dog enough to sleep on the streets instead of a warm cot in a safe environment.

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