Are Pets Better Off Without Their Homeless Owners?

written by: Amanda Webb

As my friend and I boarded the train with celerity, we quickly searched for available seats away from other passengers and with luck we managed to find a couple near the door which led to the next car. As I took in my surroundings, I noticed a pit bull sitting near the door next to its owner. The dog was at the point of emaciation. The dog was incredibly thin, from where I was sitting I could make out the poor canine’s uncomfortable state. The pitbull lacked muscle, it looked frail due to the bones poking under its skin thin enough to make out its skeleton from head to tail.

When we arrived at Powell, the dog’s owner yanked the dog with him off the train, using the rope that was tied around its neck. I felt the urge to yell at the homeless individual for not showing concern for the dog as it stumbled forward, struggling to stay on its feet. That was the first time I have seen a dog near the point of starvation and pitied it. I didn’t pity the owner, the thought of what the owner had been through and how he lost his home and job never came to mind. I never even bothered to wonder, “How many meals did the owner have to give up in order to keep his pet alive?”. Instead, I thought that the animal would be better off in a shelter or with another family.

When my family and I took a trip to the Punta Cana, we decided to take a trip out of the resort and eat food that was made and eaten by locals. When we arrive, I took an infinitesimal scoop of food knowing from experience that wasting food is offensive in other countries (in America not so much). Meanwhile, my family proceeded to take large portions of food as if they were familiar with the restaurant’s menu. Long story short, a small swarm of wasps invaded the restaurant, stung my mother and scared my cousins into giving up their food and leaving. My cousin, and I who took Spanish classes and therefore could translate, had to be the ones who had to apologize on my family’s behalf for wasting food. My younger cousin decided to take a to go box, not wanting to feel bad for wasting food.


Look at how happy he is!

During our ride to the town, I couldn’t help but think about the homeless people back in America and the dog I had seen on Bart. If I had wasted food like that at home, I would have to bear with the embarrassment of being caught throwing food away while receiving a lecture about children in America or Africa, and how they’re starving and would have eaten what I couldn’t. I was surprised I hadn’t seen any dogs walking on the sidewalk like I was told by my classmates and friends who said I would.  

We finally arrived at a beautiful and old church which had open doors, near the gates was a white piebald laying down. It was impossible to look away from the dog because it reminded me of the one I had seen on BART, only this dog was more frail and alone. When we stepped closer, I could tell this dog has been alone for quite some time. Based on the way the dog’s ears perked up and it’s tail slapping the ground it was more than happy to see us. At that moment for the first time I wanted to cry in public. Then that is when I remembered that one of my cousins had saved food. After chivvying my cousin to give up his food and importuning him about morality and the paragon of goodness he would feel after assisting a starving dog. He finally gave up his food to the dog who eat the shreds of chicken blissfully.

When I was in Panama, I was perusing an article I have downloaded and saved onto my phone about a destitute woman living on the streets with her dog. The article told a story about how the woman was sitting on the sidewalk with a sign in her hands when she changed her sitting position, to the dog seemed to be perturbed by how quickly she moved. The canine immediately sat up, now aware until the woman pats the dog, reassuring it that there is nothing for it to be alert for. I have heard and read stories about women and the disabled are homeless and that they were attacked, robbed, and harassed. The dog that was sitting with the woman was not only her friend but it was also a working dog, protecting its owner.

This article not only made me realize that the pets are not better off without their homeless owners but they’re better off with them. The pets are reading the article, I realized that my views on pet ownership by the homeless population has changed. I thought about what I would be like had my stepfather not adopted the dog for my mother and how much the dog has influenced our lives.

The dog that sleeps with me and lays with me when I’m ill and shows the analogous affection as the dog from the article. Homeless individuals deserve to have the right to own pets because destitute pets have a purpose and that is to keep homeless individuals company when no one else will. Like their owners, they are unable to care for themselves like the dog I have seen in the Dominican Republic who didn’t have an owner.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Latimer Smith says:

    This was a lovely story to sit down to and read, and it shows that you care a lot about animals and your topic.


  2. felicityjones17 says:

    Just seeing that dog on the sidewalk broke my heart but I’m so glad your cousin gave up his food. I hope the dog is ok!!


  3. Tina says:

    This story made me happy I’m so glad that your cousin gave the dog some food


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