Several years ago, our founder, Genevieve, and her husband visited New York City. They saw a homeless man with his beautiful healthy, mixed breed dog at his side. He wasn’t panhandling. She had always ignored the homeless but this time, something was different. She couldn’t get that dog out of her mind.
She tried to imagine what brought the man to be homeless. Was it drugs, alcoholism? That’s the conclusion most people make about the homeless. This man didn’t look like an addict, and she wondered why and how he got to where he was in life. And, what about his dog? It was obvious the dog was devoted to the man. He was not on a leash and could have run away at any time. She was confused about why anyone homeless, who could barely feed or take care of themselves, would even consider having a pet.
When she returned home, she researched the homeless with pets and came across the “National Coalition for the Homeless.” At the time, their estimates indicated that 3.5 million people in America were homeless and that between 5%-10% of homeless have dogs and/or cats. In some areas of the country, the rate is as high as 25%. Most people who experience homelessness are homeless for a short period and usually need help to find housing or a rent subsidy. Unfortunately for those with pets, it becomes more difficult, and many homeless are forced to choose between their pet and a roof over their head. Surprisingly, most choose to stay on the streets with their pets. Why? The answer became evident to Genevieve. Their pets are nonjudgmental; provide comfort and an emotional bond of loyalty. In some cases, they provide the homeless with protection and keep them warm.
Genevieve’s family has almost always had dogs and cats, which made her wonder, what would she do if faced with homelessness? Could she give up her pets? It felt equal to giving up her children. While they would possibly be better off emotionally, it would be a devastating decision to make because of the comfort and unconditional love they give.
It was one of those “ah-ha” moments when she realized that she could do something for those pets. And so began Feeding Pets of the Homeless®.
Donors have told us over the years that they feel such compassion for the pets of the homeless but were afraid to approach due to safety concerns and welcomed the opportunity our organization give for a safe and easy way to help.
That one day in New York changed Genevieve’s life. It created a passion she did not know she held that utilized her past education, life experiences, and careers to start this unique nonprofit. Each day, she looks forward to knowing that Feeding Pets of the Homeless® is providing pet food and veterinary care to the hundreds of thousands of pets that wander the streets with their owners. And she looks forward to each day knowing that we can assist the calls from the homeless or about to be homeless.
The homeless with pets are often desperate to find a shelter to go to that will allow their pets. They seek help to find an agency that will give them pet food. They are frantic to find emergency veterinary care for injuries or illnesses.
Next time you see a homeless person with a pet, think of Genevieve’s story. Please share it with your friends and consider donating to our organization. Such donations help pay for emergency care, wellness clinics, and pet crates for homeless shelters. Check to see if there is a pet food and supplies donation site in your community. If there isn’t, consider helping us to get one started.
Thank you for your interest and support,
Board of Directors
• Genevieve Frederick – President & Founder
• Renee Lowry – Chief Financial Officer
• Jennifer Rust – Secretary
•Michael Crossley, CPA, ABV, DVA – Treasurer
• Gary L. Ailes, DVM
• David J. Kowalek, BVMS
• Garrett Lepire
• Skylar Young, Esq.
• Laura Brown, Executive Director
If you wish to contact any of our officers or directors please use the form on the Contact Us page.
Senior Management Team
• Kristen Furleigh, MBA
Feeding Pets of the Homeless believes in the healing power of companion pets and of the human/animal bond which is very important in the lives of many homeless. They find solace, protection and companionship through their pets. They care for their pets on limited resources so they themselves have less. Our task, nationwide is to feed and provide basic emergency veterinary care to the pets and thus relieve the anguish and anxiety of the homeless who cannot provide for their pets.
501(c)(3) Documents and Annual Reports
Feeding Pets of the Homeless® is proud to display the transparency of the nonprofit by providing you with 501(c)(3) documentation, 990 tax returns and our Annual Reports.
How can I help raise funds for Feeding Pets of the Homeless®?
Thank you, we are grateful that you choose to spend time raising funds for us. You are the heart of our organization. It is important that you know how vital you are and the impact you have on pets owned by the homeless.
We wanted to take a moment to talk about monetary fundraising for Feeding Pets of the Homeless® aka: Pets of the Homeless. We want our volunteers and community members to raise funds legally and
ethically. There are a number of platforms that can be used but some of those go to an individual instead of directly to Feeding Pets of the Homeless® that is why we have provided an approved list of platforms.
Please click the following link for Feeding Pets of the Homeless® Fundraising Policies – http://www.petsofthehomeless.org/fundraising-policy-for-pets-of-the-homeless/
Why do the homeless have pets when they can barely take care of themselves?
Homeless individuals feel isolated, vulnerable and outcasts of society. They are often criticized for having pets and strangers sometimes offer to buy the animals or threaten to call animal control. However, contrary to the misconception that pets accompanying homeless people are not being cared for, veterinarian Dr. David Kowalek, a veteran of our wellness clinics, stated: “Their means of care may be different, or financially limited, but these pets are very clearly loved, attended to, and in some respects have a quality of life that is better than my own animals.”
The ASPCA has come out with a position statement that reads, “There is no data to support the notion that they [people living in persistent poverty] do not desire to provide the care for their pets’ needs…there is not a correlation between income and a pet owner’s desire and commitment to provide necessary care to her animal companions (Poresky & Daniels 1998: Staats et al 1996).”
Often people go into homelessness with a pet. Sometimes a stray animal will start following a person, or an encampment of homeless will have a litter and everyone adopts a cat or dog. These pets offer companionship, unconditional love, they are non-judgmental and provide protection especially for women.
Why Feeding Pets of the Homeless®?
3.5 million* Americans are homeless. Five to ten percent of homeless people have dogs and/or cats. In some areas of the country the rate is as high as 24%.
Who are homeless with pets?
Each homeless person has a unique story; they are people. Some have lost their homes and jobs, some have mental disorders, some are addicts, and some are parolees. Some are: families, disabled, elderly, abused spouses, teens, and veterans.
*National Coalition on Homelessness
I want to help but talking with a homeless person scares me, what can I do?
Generally, people want to help but are uncomfortable and scared because they do not understand the plight of homelessness so they choose to ignore the issue. We offer a way to help that does not put the donor in front of a homeless person or in a rough, sometimes dangerous area of their community.
What are some common misconceptions about the homeless?
The leading misconception is that the homeless are lazy and do not want jobs or the responsibility that goes with a job. With the economy today, one missed pay check, a medical diagnosis, or an abusive spouse can put someone into homelessness overnight.
What types of support do the animals provide their homeless owners?
Their pets are nonjudgmental, offer comfort, and provide an emotional bond of loyalty. In some cases they provide the homeless protection and keep them warm. Medical authorities have proven that pets benefit in many ways.
Pets boost mental health by alleviating stress and anxiety, improve mood and fight depression, reduce social isolation, and provide long-term help for those with mental health challenges. Pets improve physical health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, increase physical activity, buffer physical responses to stress and increase longevity.
I received a letter in the mail and the return envelope for donations does not match your website. Is it safe to mail donations?
Feeding Pets of the Homeless® has engaged a company to process some donations on our behalf. The address on the envelope should match what is below and is a safe and secure method of donating to our organization.
Feeding Pets of the Homeless
National Support Center
P.O. Box 905
Frederick, MD 21705-0905
Or if you wish, your donation can be mailed to our headquarters at Feeding Pets of the Homeless, 710 West Washington St., Carson City, NV 89703
WITH YOU BY OUR SIDE, TOGETHER WE SERVE BETTER
given in veterinary care, pet food & crates
pet food collected
donation sites nationwide