Vets with pets tend to fall through the cracks when it comes to getting access to services because they won’t give up their animals. But why should they?
Bark & Play Doggie Daycare, the Volunteers of America and the Center for Animal Wellness Vet Clinic are collaborating in an effort to help Denver, Colorado’s homeless veterans and their pets to stay together and find housing, according to Fox 31 Denver.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness estimated in 2014 that there were nearly 50,000 homeless veterans in communities around the United States. Some of these homeless veterans have pets, and most homeless shelters don’t allow pets or the vets can’t afford to pay a pet deposit.
“Somebody’s still got to pay that pet deposit,” Garrett Bishop, manager of Bark & Play Doggie Daycare, told Fox 31. “Some guys can’t and they won’t separate from their animal. They would rather stay on the street than be separated from them.”
One such veteran is William Adams, a former military police officer who is homeless and lives on the streets with his best friend Anastasia, an 8-year-old German shepherd. He won’t leave her side.
“I chose to be on the streets to be with her,” Adams, who is the inspiration for this combined effort, told the news outlet. “Housing for vets is great, but a lot of them won’t take any dogs.”
The doggie day care, Volunteers of America and the vet clinic are hoping that by May 21, Armed Forces Day, they will have raised enough money to help keep the vets and their pets together as they seek shelter and services from homeless shelters in the city. Bark & Play will also host a free vaccination clinic for the dogs of the city’s homeless veterans as well as to give guidance on how to transition their animals from a life on a street to living in a home environment.
“The goal here is to honor those veterans for their service,” said Dr. Aubrey Lavizzo of the Center for Animal Wellness in the news report.
A Gofundme page has been launched to help attain their goals.
“She’s the only thing in the world I have right now,” Adams told the news outlet. “Without her and the way she cares about me, and everything she’s done for me, I would probably end up going into a deeper state of depression than I am right now.”