Why the homeless deserve to have pets
Written by GKCCEH
Published November 11, 2021

3 reasons why and 3 ways to find help for homeless with pets

There is much debate surrounding homeless people and if they should – or even if they deserve to – have pets. When this discussion is brought up to someone here at GKCCEH, we can hardly believe it is a question at all. The short answer to, “Do homeless people deserve to have pets?” is, “Do you?” Homeless people are just that: people. It is ridiculous to think that anyone could strip these people of a basic human right like having a companion. And yet, that opinion alone is controversial, so we’ll give you five statistically-based reasons why the homeless definitely deserve to have pets. 

3 reasons why homeless people deserve pets

  1.  Pets are loyal companions

In a world where homeless people are looked down upon by many humans, they often find compassion and love from pets like dogs or cats. According to a survey conducted by Crisis in 2015, 77% of homeless people often or sometimes feel lonely (and that’s more than 3x the level of loneliness in the housed population). If having a pet can help homeless people feel less alone, then why would anyone argue against it? 

  1. Pets can positively affect the brain and body

It is no secret to pet owners that interacting with your favorite animals can make you feel better. But do you know why? Pet/human relationships are proven to release the same hormone, Oxytocin, as a mother/infant relationship. Oxytocin is proven to, “slow heart rate and breathing, quiet blood pressure and inhibit the production of stress hormones, creating a profound sense of calm, comfort, and focus.” These bodily reactions are positive for any human, but for homeless people under the severe stress of fighting each day to get the right resources to stay alive, they can be life changing.

  1. It’s a mutual relationship

While it is true that homeless people bear extreme financial burdens, they can be as tenacious about finding food for their dogs as they are for themselves. Think about your relationship with your pets, do you care about them like your own family? In some cases, the bond with homeless people and their pets is even stronger than your own because they are all that each other has. These pets are often strays before finding support with their new owner. They help each other stay warm, safe and loved. 

3 ways to help homeless people and their pets

To serve the entire homeless population with safe shelter while working on a person’s plan for permanent housing, communities must ensure that the homeless response system is low-barrier. Many people resist shelters either because their pet is not allowed inside or because the shelter has no plan to care for the animal while in the shelter. Here are three ways that YOU can help lower this barrier in Kansas City, today:

  1. Point homeless individuals with pets toward veterinary assistance 

Care Beyond the Boulevard, a free health clinic for homeless people in Kansas City, recently began offering free veterinary services for pets of the homeless. Get in touch with CBTB to learn more, or visit their Facebook page for specific dates.

  1. Educate them on which shelters allow pets

There are a few shelters in the Kansas City metro area that accept pets along with homeless people. The current list is as follows: reStart, Rose Brooks, and Shelter KC.

  1. Donate pet supplies to shelters or directly to the homeless

If you are concerned about a specific pet you notice on the street, remember you could always do something about it yourself. Reach out to its owner with appropriate food or other supplies, or donate pet supplies to any local shelter you support. We are proud to be hosting a fundraiser at Bar K on Dec. 8, 2022 from 5-8pm. Please stop by, or contact us to learn more.