Dogs on the Streets: helping homeless pets and their owners

A team of volunteers helping those on the streets look after their animals’ welfare

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It was seven years ago that Michelle Clark noticed the man and his dog. She was naive about homelessness in those days. She used to wonder, driving through London’s Crouch End, why she always saw the same man and his staffie, hanging out in the same place. One Christmas, she impulsively got hold of a mushroom box (“you remember the old boxes with handles?”), decorated it with tinsel and filled it to the brim with canine luxuries: blanket, treats, a little toy. Still, she hesitated. Perhaps this man was “chilling, watching the world go by”. Eventually, she plucked up the courage to speak to him (“What a beautiful dog! I see you here every day”) and confirmed that he and his dog were homeless. They loved her gift – and it started her thinking.

She noticed more homeless people with dogs all over London. She launched herself on a one-woman mission – went into mushroom box overdrive – she knew about pets because she ran a pet toy and accessory business. She also distributed double sleeping bags, roomy enough to accommodate owners and dogs together. Then, in 2016, her initiative changed up a gear. A homeless man collapsed in the street and refused to be taken in for treatment unless Clark agreed to look after his dog.

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

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