Seattle has a heartwarming story that sheds light on a major issue: the lack of housing and shelter for families experiencing homelessness with pets.
According to Julie McCabe, the director of Seattle Humane’s Pet Resource Center, they serve as a last resort for these families in need.
Every day, McCabe witnesses families on the brink of homelessness or facing housing issues surrendering their beloved pets. She describes the situations they face as truly horrendous.
One particular story that has touched many hearts is that of Copper, a dog who spent most of her life with her owner but ended up without a home due to their housing loss.
Fortunately, Seattle Humane offers assistance to families like Copper’s. They host a pet food bank on site, providing free food to those who need it most.
Additionally, they have a temporary foster program that can care for dogs for up to 90 days. McCabe emphasizes that they treat every client with utmost respect, refraining from judgment and acknowledging that they are doing their best in difficult circumstances.
Another organization called Feeding Pets for the Homeless also plays a crucial role. They support homeless pets by providing food, veterinary care, wellness services, veteran pet support, and crates at homeless shelters.
Genevieve Frederick, the founder and president of the organization, emphasizes that nobody chooses to be on the streets or homeless. Their organization assists clients in finding free care at animal hospitals and veterinary clinics and offers an online resource guide to locate pet-friendly shelters.
Last year alone, Feeding Pets for the Homeless treated 10 injured or ill pets in King County, incurring a cost of over $3,000.
Over the past five years, they have helped more than 400 pets in Washington, amounting to $192,000 in expenses. Frederick emphasizes the importance of keeping pets and their humans together, recognizing the strong bond they share.
The housing crisis and high rents are significant factors contributing to this problem. Many clients seeking assistance have experienced domestic violence and are living in shelters that may or may not accommodate pets.
Mary’s Place in King County accepts pets but currently has full shelters. However, if space becomes available, they are open to families with pets.
Compass Housing Alliance also welcomes ADA-compliant service animals in their enhanced shelters and has partnered with Seattle Humane to provide pet/owner training and healthcare in their affordable housing buildings.
Seattle Dogs Homeless Program is another organization providing support to those experiencing homelessness.
They assist approximately 150 animals each month by providing food, leashes, collars, treats, and pet beds. Donations are utilized to cover veterinary care at the Greenwood hospital for pets in need, ensuring that pets experiencing homelessness can enjoy a long and healthy life with their owners, regardless of their housing status.
The program also offers foster and boarding services for pets when their owners require extended medical care.
However, Seattle Dogs Homeless Program faces challenges in referring people to shelters that have both available space and accept pets. They express frustration, stating that there are limited options and it’s often difficult to find suitable shelter options for the individuals they encounter.