Chico homeless pet project hopes to fill a void
There's another side to homelessness that's often overlooked, it has to do with separating homeless people from their beloved pets, and a pair of Chico women are starting a new project called Chico Homeless Pets Outreach that they hope will be a big help.
"Say a family with a little dog wants to go to the torres shelter they can't take the little dog, they have to give it up for adoption at the humane society, and that's just heartbreaking," says Robin Tripp, co-founder of the program.
Brad Montgomery, executive irector of the Torres Community Shelter, says that heartbreaking fact simply can't be avoided.
"We're not set up to accommodate animals at the same time," Montgomery says. "We know that some people don't come into our shelters because they can't find themselves separating with their animals."
For that reason, and for their love of pets, Tripp and fellow found Annie Cox came up with the idea for Chico Homeless Pets Outreach.
It's a big project based on a simple idea, finding foster homes for the pets of homeless people who need to go to shelters for help, and then reuniting those people with their pets when they get their feet back on the ground.
Montgomery at the torres shelter thinks it's a great idea.
"I think that it fills a need we've been looking at for as long as i've been at the shelter," he says. "And I know that other shelters have the same problem."
In fact, Montgomery remembers a pregnant couple who, because of their pet, waited until their baby was almost due to come into the Torres Shelter.
"That animal was such a part of their life that it just pushed that decision further and further down," Montgomery says.
Tripp and Cox hope Chico Homeless Pets Outreach helps alleviate similar situations and allows people to get the help they need.
They're just getting their program started and are in dire need of a lot of things.
"We need anything that anybody can think about that an animal would need," Annie Cox says, "particularly living out on the streets or in a foster home. If you can just think of your own animal, what does your own animal need, we need that."
Beyond supplies, they are hoping people will learn of their program and want to pitch in and they're already seeing people reach out to lend a hand.
"There's pretty much a job for everybody and I think it's going to take the whole community to get this up off the ground and running and well oiled," Cox says. "So right now we're just thrilled with the response."
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