Most of us have seen, sadly, homeless people, often with dogs, in our streets and wonder if anybody is doing anything to help them. The problem is a widespread and difficult one, but Quaker Homeless Action has been there to help for several years now in the London area.
In December 2004, they organised their usual Open Christmas for people unfortunate enough to be homeless. What makes this event different from almost all the others of this kind is that they welcome companion dogs too.
We know how much the homeless depend on their dogs; not just as companions; they are perhaps their only friends and a means of protection on dangerous streets, but also as a reason to be more motivated; the dog needs care and attention too. With the input of a Westminster Friend, veterinary services are available, when needed, under the Dogs Trust Hope Project and from the Blue Cross. However, it has been found that these dogs are generally in very good condition; they get a great deal of exercise and are certainly not over-fed.
QCA is also involved in this scheme. Two years ago, the committee decided to give money to feed the dogs over the week Open Christmas ran. A member of Birkenhead Meeting also generously contributed to the fund this year.
The numbers of dogs in the shelter varied from day to day. There were generally about 4 at any given time, but around 10 used the shelter in total over the week. Some of the dogs were attended to by vets, who administered de-fleaing and de-worming treatments, as well as tending to any wounds they had. The dogs were provided with food and water throughout the day and collars, dog toys and basic grooming equipment were made available to guests with dogs.
So we are happy to say that some homeless dogs swelled the numbers and enjoyed a pleasant Christmas. We’re sure that they were peaceful and Quakerly in their behaviour too!
QCA is a group of committed people who intend to continue being of use to all animals in need. Please let us know what you are doing to help too; drawings and photos are welcome!