If you’ve ever brought a dog into your family, you will know how quickly they become just that – family. And I’m sure all of us would do anything for our family.
While many of us live long, happy lives with our furry friends, whether that be sharing birthdays, welcoming more members into the family, or just making general memories, there are some of us who need to make the decision whether to feed ourselves or our best mate at night.
Pets of the Homeless is a not for profit trying to change that. The judgement-free charity, founded in 2015 by Yvonne Hong, provides food, veterinary care and other support to the pets of people experiencing or facing homelessness.
Their understanding is that the therapeutic benefits – including improved mental health and greater self-esteem – as well as the companionship established from having a pet, increases the person’s chances of improving their situation and getting back on their feet.
Yvonne was volunteering at a pet rescue and soup kitchen where she would come across people who found themselves in difficult situations but didn’t want to lose their beloved pooch too. She began to question who was helping these people and their pets before realising nobody was.
With no funding, Yvonne set up Pets of the Homeless and began purchasing and handing out food and other necessary supplies to the owners of the animals living on our streets. It wasn’t long before her hard work had gained attention; people started donating and the community was growing.
Pets of the Homeless now have more than 50 drop off points across Victoria, and have branched out to provide support and food to the pets of people who are at risk of homelessness too, reducing the number of animals surrendered or euthanized due to financial hardship.
“If you’re a pet owner, you know the joy, support and companionship your furry friend can bring. At the end of a bad day a walk or play with your dog, or a cuddle with your cat can help to take your mind off your troubles,” Yvonne said,
“After you donate your food and pet supplies at one of our multiple drop-off points, we repackage and distribute your donations to food banks, soup kitchens and other organisations that work to support people experiencing homelessness.”
Yvonne is passionate that by providing hands-on, practical support she is able to help both homeless people and their pets during a time they need it most.
“It’s difficult for anyone to change their situation while worrying about where their next meal is coming from,” Yvonne said.
Just like Yvonne, we know that the love of your four-legged-friend can make the world a better place, and that’s why we’re partnering with Pets of the Homeless for our book, Happiness is Dog Shaped. We’ll be donating proceeds from the book sales to Yvonne and her team to help bring some happiness to the pooches who make us smile day after day. You can pre-order your copy here.