Dean and Huni: A Success Story

Dean Coleman, a 35-year-old man, has had a normal life.

Dean has worked in designing kitchens, fixing boilers and holds a hairdressing qualification; he has always had a job. Dean had a flat, a partner, and a very much-loved dog called Huni, a constant friend. Rescued from dire circumstances as a bait dog, she has been a stoic and loyal companion.

Dean is a typical example of how easy it can be to slide into homelessness.   It started as many emotionally turbulent times do, with the breakdown of Dean’s relationship. Mixed with low level depression, this was enough to start making life difficult. Huni was always by his side, and a huge support during darker days, but costs and cares started to build. Work became harder, and rent went into arrears.

Eventually, Dean and Huni were evicted.

Dean tried to find alternative arrangements for Huni, but struggled.  Failing to find a safe home for her, Dean kept her with him, and they looked for support together. Dean and Huni started out by sleeping in his car, keeping close for warmth overnight.

Dean and Huni had to sleep in his car.

Dean started to look for help. He was lucky as although, like many homeless shelters, the places he visited did not accept dogs, one decided to help him out: New Hope in Watford. They put Dean in touch with Jade, from charity StreetVet.

“Jade saved my life and my dogs, and she is doing it for others… We need more of that kind of charity in the world.”

Dean credits Jade with saving his and Huni’s life. On receiving Dean’s call, Jade hurried to where he was and started making phone calls. Reaching out, she got in touch with a homeless institution called Emmaus. The charity works by providing shelter for those in need, along with their dogs, in return for work. Residents received a small stipend, and the opportunity to get back on their feet.

It was just the break Dean and Huni needed, and to make life even smoother Jade arranged for a dog trainer to visit Dean and Huni, to help Huni get over her worries with other dogs. She also provided Huni with toys and bowls for her new home. To help with Huni’s care, Jade herself has been very kindly supported by a cash donation from Dechra, raised by employee Claire Morgan.

“Huni is my life… she kept me warm”

Dean and Huni were on the last night of sleeping in the car on the day of this interview and after 2.5 weeks of homelessness, they move into the institution tomorrow.

Charity Emmaus have been a critical part of helping Dean get back on his feet.

Dean is a great example of how easy it can be to find yourself in difficult circumstances, and the difference a little support can make to those in need.  Dean hopes that by sharing his story, he can help increase awareness of homelessness, of StreetVet, and of the good you can do with a little time or a little spare change.

Dean at the end of moving day.

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