A pet can enrich a homeless person’s life, and vice versa.
This is precisely why the nonprofit Pets Of The Homeless, provides those in need with free food and medical services to keep their pups and cats happy and healthy.
“My dog is at home right now by herself,” Genevieve Frederick, the founder of Pets of the Homeless told Elite Daily in the video below. “She’s wondering when me and my husband are going to come home. The homeless pets are with their owners 24/7, and they have a way bigger bond than you and I have with our pets.”
Frederick started her nonprofit with her daughter, Renee Lowry, in 2007, after a trip to New York City. It was there that she saw a homeless man with his dog.
“I was confused as to the reason anyone who is homeless, who could barely feed or take care of themselves, would even consider having a pet,” she wrote on Pets of the Homeless’ site. Yet, she also observed that the dog, that wasn’t on a leash, was happily standing at the owner’s side.
When Frederick returned to her home of Carson City, Nevada, she began to do research and discovered that homeless individuals with pets often have to make hard decisions. Because many shelters do not allow pets, many people have to choose between staying with their companion animals or having a roof over their heads. Many choose the only thing they’ve got left — their pets.
Soon after this discovery, Frederick asked her dog’s veterinarians to help her collect pet food donations for the homeless. The vets spread the word and thanks to local media coverage, on Frederick’s first day of collections she had enough donations to fill a 55-gallon trashcan.
Since that day, her efforts continued to burgeon.
“To my amazement, the organization quickly evolved into the nonprofit it is today,”she told AARP.
To date the nonprofit has treated 12,800 pets, and have sponsored volunteers and veterinarians all over the U.S. to provide food and care for pets beloved by their homeless humans.
The nonprofit has hundreds of volunteer pet food donation sites that collect food and supplies and distribute them at food banks, pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters. The organization also hosts clinics at food pantries by partnering with veterinarians that donate their time to provide free exams, vaccinations, vouchers for spay or neuter surgeries, nail trimmings and ear cleanings to those in need.
Pets of the Homeless also offers creates to homeless shelters, a service Frederick is passionate about.
“For shelters that say ‘yes,’ we will send that shelter free collapsible sleeping crates, so that these people can get in out of the cold, out of the heat, off the streets, for just a little bit,” Frederick told Mic. “This keeps them in a secure place and keeps everybody safe.”
Yet, there is really only one driving force that keeps Frederick doing what she does.
“What [the homeless] lack in their ability to provide vital resources like food, shelter and medicine for their pets, they reciprocate tenfold in love,” she says in the video below.