During the course of my morning ritual of perusing the local and regional news, amid all the chatter about today’s elections, I stumbled across this article in this morning’s Boston Globe titled “Partnered in the Struggle for a Place to Call Home” , about the therapeutic value of partnering orphaned dogs with homeless individuals.
Anya was neglected, and finally abandoned. Most of the two years of her life was spent locked in a garage. When humans approached, the large, gentle Leonberger-golden retriever mix cowered in fear. .
Stewart Thorpe spent 30 of his 55 years on Boston’s streets, bundled in depression. He used to sleep in subways and on sidewalks. When Pine Street workers eventually reached out to him, he was too fearful to look them in the eyes.
These two homeless creatures – man and dog, both shadows in life – are finding that they have a lot in common – a history of abandonment, trauma, and distrust….read on…
Having worked at Pathfinder/Safe Haven in my previous employment life, I saw first hand the value of having a pet on the premises. The men that were housed at Pathfinder, took a shine to the program cat and would all take part in caring for her and their interaction over time with the “Cupcake”, would serve to erode many of the defenses these guys had built up over decades, enabling us (the treatment team) to engage them and move them onto healing and independence that much sooner.
I hope you enjoy the story as much as I did.