Updated: Aug 17, 2018
I spent this past Tuesday with Constance Swackhammer of Faithful Forgotten Best Friends - an amazing organization that provides education, pet food, and basic veterinary care to the low-income and homeless families in the Columbus area.
Of the many families that were seen that day the one that continues to haunt my thoughts is the mother and daughter pictured below. They walked from their homeless camp to the FFBF center with a young, injured Shepherd puppy that they had rescued from an abusive situation in the camp. The pup's leg had been broken by one of the men in their camp.
The mother and daughter waited patiently to see one of the Ohio State Veterinarian College vets that serve the Tuesday clinics. The initial diagnosis of a broken leg was confirmed by an x-ray taken at the OSU faculty.
The treatment would be expensive and long. The pup could be treated at no cost, but only if the family agreed to give up their animal - a policy that has been put in place by many animal care facilities. Their pup would be put up for adoption in one of the Columbus shelters - most likely healing while in foster care.
The family did not have the financial resource to pay for the care, and even if they did, a homeless camp, with the abuser still living there, was no place for the healing pup. The family tearfully gave up their dog.
The homeless panhandling at busy intersections were once invisible to me. Yet this mother-daughter family that felt the need to rescue a puppy, seek medical help, and choose the best outcome for the pup, even if it meant giving her up, are more than worthy of our acceptance and notice. They are caring people with lives equal to ours, just lived differently.