In My View: The Sheffield team helping homeless people and their beloved pets
With the on-set of Covid-19, we have seen an increase in homelessness across the UK, and as the adverse financial impact and other concerns roll forward, it is estimated that the numbers of homeless people will increase.
This includes homeless people who have dogs. Dogs provide companionship as well, as being loyal and non-judgemental. They also provide protection when people are sleeping out. It’s rare but not unknown for someone to get a dog on the street but its more likely that people own a dog and then lose their accommodation.
Only in 1-10 hostels in the UK accepts pets and rather than leaving his pet on the streets and to prevent their pets being taken from them, many homeless people with pets are placed between a rock and a hard place and to maintain and safeguard their pets, they experience there being no choice but to stay with their pets on the streets.
The importance of dogs to people should not be underestimated.
Along with the health and other risks to people living on the streets, dogs too are generally less healthy and have increasing health issues when they too are sleeping out.
As a society, we have a duty to collectively redress adverse impacts that cause homelessness and should never be accepting of homelessness as a norm in our City.
The kindness, compassion and work of homeless organisations and that of the national Charity Street Paws , which also delivers in Sheffield , should not be underestimated, nor should their contribution go unacknowledged either.
Sheffield Street Paws are a charity who recognise the profound bond between a homeless person and their animal. They know that for a homeless person, their animal is their whole world , giving them reason to carry on and they are a source of unconditional love for them, in a world that not only often shuns homeless people but one that demonises them in numerous ways.
Homeless people care deeply about the health and welfare of their pets, but due to their circumstances can find it impossible to access veterinary care. Volunteers take to the streets of Sheffield to support homeless people and their pets, treating the animals through an outreach service.