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Was walking home yesterday when I noticed that one of the young homeless boys who hangs out at a nearby park has a new dog - a golden about a year old. It broke my heart and I haven't been able to get that dog out of my mind today.

I'm so conflicted.

-Is it fair to have a dog if you can't find/want housing for yourself?
-Is it fair to have a dog if you have a drug/drinking problem and hang out at the park all day doing drugs with your buddies and their many homeless dogs?
-Don't homeless people deserve to have a dog too? Perhaps their only steady friend in this world?
-Is it fair for them to bring their dogs to the city shelter in the late winter when it gets really cold only to get a new puppy in the spring and then start the cycle all over again?
-Why am I so concerned for the dogs...where is my compassion for the owners and why am I so jaded?

I'm really having a hard time with this today and can only hope that they have a safe, warm place to sleep at night.

Going to go hug my dog now.
 

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I understand your conflict. But humans can make choices about their circumstances, dogs can't, they have no choice but to go where they are taken.
 

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Honestly, all of the homeless dogs I've seen have always looked like they were well taken care of and they never look unhappy (although that's hard to gauge). The way I think about it is - here's a dog that's outside all the time with his master. He travels from place to place, experiences all sorts of new things, and is always by his master's side. I think Flora would love that life. If I became homeless I would keep Flora with me unless I was unable to provide her with food and protection.

Sometimes when I see a homeless guy with his dog I want to ask him if he needs dog food, but I never want to offend. Well, that and I'm like, what kind of person am I being more concerned about the dog's stomach than the homeless person's stomach!?
 

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Here it is pretty different. SF has tons of homeless who are experts at exploiting dogs and using them to get donations. Those donations go toward more drugs and booze and no one can tell me a drugged up owner is always 'kind' toward their dogs. They pass the dogs around for others to use to beg, then they join forces to buy alcohol for all. I use to watch them when I worked south of market. It is pitiful.

Do not approach them on your own but if you feel really bad try to buy the dog from them. Yes, they may end up with another (and why would Toronto allow them to adopt in the first place?) but somehow goldens are just so much more sensitive then other dogs, I can't imagine them living that life and being happy.
 

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I have rescued several dogs and cats from homeless people around here as well as worked with the local Humane Society to spay/neuter and vaccinate their animals. It was very hard for me to do and I did end up buying a few of their animals. It's just a bad situation all around, but I am one of those people that believes having a pet is a privilege not a right. It would bother me a lot too, C's Mom. :(
 

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Here it is pretty different. SF has tons of homeless who are experts at exploiting dogs and using them to get donations. Those donations go toward more drugs and booze and no one can tell me a drugged up owner is always 'kind' toward their dogs. They pass the dogs around for others to use to beg, then they join forces to buy alcohol for all. I use to watch them when I worked south of market. It is pitiful.

Do not approach them on your own but if you feel really bad try to buy the dog from them. Yes, they may end up with another (and why would Toronto allow them to adopt in the first place?) but somehow goldens are just so much more sensitive then other dogs, I can't imagine them living that life and being happy.
Yeah, that does sound a lot different than what I've seen. Here, for example, there's a guy with a really large dog and he sits on the main street in campus with a sign that says "Dog tricks for $1" and the dog just sits there patiently by his side. Occasionally when I walk with Flora we'll chat a bit about our dogs, and he seems to really love his pup.
 

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Was walking home yesterday when I noticed that one of the young homeless boys who hangs out at a nearby park has a new dog - a golden about a year old. It broke my heart and I haven't been able to get that dog out of my mind today.

I'm so conflicted.

-Is it fair to have a dog if you can't find/want housing for yourself?
-Is it fair to have a dog if you have a drug/drinking problem and hang out at the park all day doing drugs with your buddies and their many homeless dogs?
-Don't homeless people deserve to have a dog too? Perhaps their only steady friend in this world?
-Is it fair for them to bring their dogs to the city shelter in the late winter when it gets really cold only to get a new puppy in the spring and then start the cycle all over again?
-Why am I so concerned for the dogs...where is my compassion for the owners and why am I so jaded?

I'm really having a hard time with this today and can only hope that they have a safe, warm place to sleep at night.

Going to go hug my dog now.
Is it far to judge someone that you know nothing about? I've seen homeless people that have dogs that are years old and look to be quite close to their owner (i.e. the guy doesn't even need a leash for his dog...it stays by his side). Not all homeless people have drug and alcohol problems. However, most homeless people have some form of mental illness. Some mental illnesses can make a person appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

I can understand why a homeless person would want a dog. It would offer them constant companionship without being judgmental. That's something that NO human can ever offer another human.
 

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I had to stop watching a movie called Wendy and Lucy (maybe it was Lucy and Wendy) because it was making me sad. It was about a homeless young woman who was separated from her dog because she shop lifted some dog food and got put in jail.
I also think that for a homeless person to have a dog is likely a good thing for both of them. The dog may be the only thing which anchors the person to good things and hopefulness. By all means it it troubles you give them some dog food.
 

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As much as I adore animals, and have always been an animal person, I have a very soft spot for people. We have to have compassion and understanding for people. I try to never judge a person no matter their circumstances. You should never judge someone unless you've walked in their shoes. And we haven't. Yes homeless people deserve to have a dog. Who are we to say who's blessed? As long as this dog is cared for, I don't pitty it. He's happy, I'm sure, and would be devastated if separated from his owner.
 

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The SPCA operates a pet foodbank on the famous downtown eastside here. Perhaps there is something similar where you are? We give out food and toys and leashes but it's more about education. There are many pets there who are abused and neglected so it's also a way to keep tabs and notify someone if necessary. My husband has seized a few dogs from people there unfortunately but some are really good to their pets.

It's tough for sure.
 

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It makes me very sad to see a homeless person with a dog because I know what a difficult and troubling life it is to live on the streets. My brother was "homeless", living on the streets for most of his adult life. It was a miserable way for him to live and there was nothing my family could do to help him, as he refused any help anyone could offer. We used to search for him and bring him home on the holidays but he always "wanted" to return to the streets after he had a meal.
His life was spent eating garbage, drinking from spilled over cups on the street and scavaging for whatever crumb he could find. I hated that my brother "chose" to live that way. I would not want a dog to share the type of life he lived. I know that sounds ironic and perhaps a dog could have provided companionship for him. I know my brother thought so little of himself to take care even when we offered assistance. I can't imagine him having to try to care for another living being in the manner they deserved.
Sadly, my brother died on the streets at the age of 46. He left behind a son and a loving family.
 
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Not sure how this is relevant, but there was a homeless woman here who used to share everything she had with her dog.. She worked odd jobs and collected materials from trash to sell for recycling at the junkyard, all the meals they had were split half and half (according to people who knew her at her hangout). She may have been slightly mentally ill..

In Singapore it is illegal to be homeless and eventually social services picked her up and placed her in a home where she got food, shelter and got to take part in social activities. They left her dog on the street. One of the local rescues went searching for him and picked him up.. For days he refused to eat. He was boarded at the vets office to nurse some of his sores and gain some weight. Eventually they took him to visit her at the home and he ate only when sharing a meal with her.

Lots of appeals were made but the home (and all other homes of the type) do not allow dogs on premise, only cats. The woman would rather return to the streets with her dog, and her dog would definitely prefer that to being re-homed but no such luck. Eventually the rescue found an adopter who was willing to take care of him and drive him twice a week to visit his lady :) not the best ending but a good compromise, I guess.. Bless the adopter who took in a dog whom they know will probably never be theirs at heart..
 

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Baybeams, how sad. That breaks my heart. I hope your family is at peace.
 
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Baybeams, how sad. That breaks my heart. I hope your family is at peace.
Yes, Thank-you... We all know my brother is in a better place.

This thread just brought up memories and a few tears thinking of times past. I haven't thought about those rough times in several years.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I take it you are familiar with the homeless boy since you've seen him at the park for a while now and know that he and his buddies loiter there. If you know they are drinking and taking drugs, I would be conflicted too. People make choices for themselves, their pets cannot.

Yes, there are a group of young men and women whom I call the regulars, a few older ones who move from park to park (there are 3 parks near me) and then there are the boys from Quebec who come by every now and again. Nearly all of them have dogs with a few of this group hanging on to the same dog, but its rare.

Somehow the dogs end up at the city shelter (I used to volunteer there and saw them). One time I took in two dogs that belonged to one of the females who left them tied to a pole all night and the next day in a heat wave. My neighhbours and I were afraid of the dogs because of their barking and lunging whenever we came near but I had to get them out of the sun. I caustiously approached with water and food and they let me move them into the shade and eventually into my backyard - my knees were knocking the entire time. I waited for her to come back to get them but she never did. Had to call animal services to come pick them up. She was reunited with them about a week later but by the next summer she no longer had them. I'm sure she loved the dogs and they her but what kind of life were they having going into shelters and then finally gone? And yes, she got a new puppy.

Like I said, I'm so conflicted about this issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Is it far to judge someone that you know nothing about? I've seen homeless people that have dogs that are years old and look to be quite close to their owner (i.e. the guy doesn't even need a leash for his dog...it stays by his side). Not all homeless people have drug and alcohol problems. However, most homeless people have some form of mental illness. Some mental illnesses can make a person appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

I can understand why a homeless person would want a dog. It would offer them constant companionship without being judgmental. That's something that NO human can ever offer another human.
I hear you, however, I used to work with people with addictions and mental health issues so you're singing to the choir here. I am very familiar with the issues surrounding addiction, mental illness, poverty and homelessness. Having said that, I still don't think its fair to the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
It makes me very sad to see a homeless person with a dog because I know what a difficult and troubling life it is to live on the streets. My brother was "homeless", living on the streets for most of his adult life. It was a miserable way for him to live and there was nothing my family could do to help him, as he refused any help anyone could offer. We used to search for him and bring him home on the holidays but he always "wanted" to return to the streets after he had a meal.
His life was spent eating garbage, drinking from spilled over cups on the street and scavaging for whatever crumb he could find. I hated that my brother "chose" to live that way. I would not want a dog to share the type of life he lived. I know that sounds ironic and perhaps a dog could have provided companionship for him. I know my brother thought so little of himself to take care even when we offered assistance. I can't imagine him having to try to care for another living being in the manner they deserved.
Sadly, my brother died on the streets at the age of 46. He left behind a son and a loving family.
Baybeams, my condolences on the passing of your brother. I am sorry that my thread caused you pain.
 
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