Recently I witnessed an amazing sense of community which was truly inspirational. A few weeks ago, a Good Samaritan reached out to Beautiful Together Animal Sanctuary (BTAS) about a homeless family living in their car outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. Sadly, homelessness is not a unique issue where we live, but this family was because in and around their car home were 13 dogs and puppies. They refused to leave any of them behind when evicted from their housing. A mama and her 5 puppies lived on top of the car with an upside-down cardboard box as shelter. I cannot imagine how hot it was on the roof of that car. The temperatures were in the lower 90s. But what a creative way to keep the mama and pups safely contained in such a difficult situation.
The Good Samaritan who discovered the family got both the human and dog family members food, and started reaching out to local animal rescues to see if any of the organizations could take the 10 dogs and puppies the family was willing to surrender. They were adamant that none of them would be surrendered to the animal shelter. Jane Howard, the director of dog rescue at BTAS, immediately went to work to secure fosters for the 10 dogs and puppies, but the other thing she did really demonstrated the power of community when some of its members are in need. She set up a fundraiser for the Good Samaritan, who is a single mom currently not working due to medical issues. The goal was to raise money to reimburse her for gas and the money she spent getting the family food. The outpouring of support for this fundraiser was so great that the Good Samaritan decided to use the funds to purchase a camper for the family. She found one on sale for $2000 but when the seller was told what it was going to be used for, he sold it for $800. A pet-friendly campground was located, and it was all set.
When Jane Howard went to pick up the first dogs and puppies being surrendered, it was total chaos. It was clear the owners truly loved their pets and had a hard time saying goodbye. A local vet offered free vetting services for all the dogs and puppies coming into rescue. A local tire store donated tires for the camper.
This story had a happy ending, but sadly most families living with financial and food insecurities cannot keep their pets and do not have Good Samaritans to advocate for them. In most situations, families either have to abandon their pets or take them to animal shelters. With North Carolina ranking third in the United States for highest rates of euthanasia, it is not where pets need to go.
I started thinking about what resources were available for families with food insecurities and immediately thought of the local non-profits that provide food to families in need. What if one of the Beautiful Together Community Service Clubs being launched this fall could be the springboard for offering food and other supplies for the pets in these families so that fewer animals are abandoned or taken to shelters? I pitched the idea to a student at Chapel Hill High, and she is ready to make it happen. Check back for updates on this new initiative.
Seeing so many people in our community, from all walks of life, come together to help a family in need was inspirational. My heart needed this in a big way. So thanks universe for making it happen.