I like to sit in on the Community meetings at The Living Room where I learn about services that are available to homeless and at risk women and children. One particularly popular program is called Dogwood. It’s an animal rescue project that supports animals and the people who love them. And in the case of the women who come to The Living Room this service is as supportive as the hot meals, counseling, and groups. The pets support these women in crisis in fundamental ways we can all relate too.
So I continually add to my sketches of women with their dogs and hear heart warming stories like. . .
“I couldn’t have made it on the streets without his companionship.”
“My dogs are like family, only better. They love me regardless of what happens.”
“I have learned that I have to take care of things even when I’m down so that I can continue to take care of her. “
“I need them with me so that I can feel safe in the [homeless] encampments.”
“They won’t abandon me like my ____________.”
“When I cry, they lick my face and make me feel better.”
“He sleeps on my chest, right over my heart.”
The Living Room is a place where women can get help and feel connected with a community of people like themselves. And that connection flows generously to folks like myself whose only real difference is that I don’t have the anxiety and depression that comes as a matter of course with having lost the security of a home. And that caring spirit extends seamlessly to the pets, who enjoy an extended family of caretakers that make it possible for women to participate in activities at times without their pets.
See some of the other TLR pet sketches here.