Where Do They Come from Anyway? – The Sources of Street Dogs
It is estimated, although not verified, that 5-10% of homeless people have a companion animal. Homeless charity Shelter estimates that there is over a quarter of a million people homeless on the streets of the UK, leaving a huge number of pets sharing this life with them. So, where do these dogs come from?
Many of the dogs belonged to that person before they were made homeless. Becoming homeless can happen swiftly, and without chance to prepare. Often people are left with incredibly difficult choices, and very few material possessions, yet still strive to provide and care for their dog. For these dogs, staying with a loving owner is often a much better option than being placed in a rehoming or rescue centre, or worse being abandoned.
Abandoned dogs are themselves a source of pet dogs on the streets. Abandoned dogs are found across the UK, maybe dumped by the side of the road or even given directly to homeless people. Dumped animals may be old and sickly, or just a victim of a change of the owner’s circumstances or mind. Runaways are also found by the homeless and adopted. In both cases, despite being of no fixed address, these dogs are much less homeless with their new owner than they were before.
Finally, although people routinely pay incredible sums of money for pedigree dogs, it is always possible to get dogs for free. Unwanted litters, both from homed and street dogs, are rife and puppies are often just given away. The companionship of a dog can be hugely beneficial, and it is no surprise that in homeless communities a litter of stray puppies soon find new owners. The relationship between owner and pet, and anxiety for the welfare of a much-loved dog, can be a huge support for homeless people and a source of self-worth and positivity in a very difficult existence.
However these dogs make it on to the streets providing a source of healthcare helps homeless owners care for their dogs, and live up to the ownership responsibilities that they feel as keenly as anyone else.
For more information on how you can help support homeless communities and their pets, please explore www.streetvet.com, and consider donating either money or time.