For once a serious post.Earlier this week while I was travelling I met a young woman sitting quietly crying in the corner of a pretty deserted park hugging her small terrier dog. I stopped to talk to her to see if she was ok and it transpired she and her dog were living rough as she had recently escaped an abusive relationship and had hoped to find work and a new life in the city far from her ex partner. She had no family or friends to turn too and most refuges will not accept dogs. They both looked as frightened as one another and were clearly the most important and loved thing in each others lives.While some might say she should give up her dog for the chance of somewhere safe to sleep I can understand hearing her relate her story exactly why she hadn't, the dog being the only security and comfort she had in a time where she had made a difficult decision to run away and for the dog she was the only stability in an unfamiliar and frightening world. She was not on drugs, drinking and was pretty well educated.
There are always two sides to any story but from what she said I believe her and cant imagine how difficult life must be. She wasn't begging or asking for anything yet most people walked by without a second glance. Particularly in the economic times we live in now many people will be in similar situations very often through just making misjudgements of situations or people. I haven't forgotten her and her story and it made me look at what support is available closer to home.
In the UK some hostels will accept dogs but only a very few and space is limited.The Dogs Trust Hope Fund works to educate hostels/shelters on the importance of the human canine bond for vulnerable people and encourage them to allow dogs in. It also offers advice for those unfortunate enough to find themselves in that situation plus subsided veterinary care and advice for their canine companions.Next time you see a collection tin for them or in other countries those providing similar services please spare a thought for people like her. I've found many things to complain about recently but this really puts it into perspective.