Any pet owner will likely tell you that their pet is a member of the family. People experiencing homelessness are no different. For many homeless people, their pets provide love, companionship, and sometimes a reason to get through the day. According to advocacy group Pets of the Homeless, five to ten percent of homeless people have dogs or cats, and in some areas of the country that percentage is as high as 25%. Unfortunately, many places that offer services to this population do not allow dogs that aren’t registered service animals.
Peter Ewald, a long-time volunteer of the Corvallis Day Time Drop-in Center, noticed that many people experiencing homelessness are continuously faced with a decision between receiving much-needed services and leaving their cherished companion animals behind or going without. After seeing this problem play out one too many times, Ewald knew there had to be a better way to help this population.
Together with a group of dedicated volunteers, Heartland Humane Society and other partnerships, Corvallis K9 Care-a-van was formed. K9 Care-a-van is working to construct a mobile kennel unit where pets can have a place to stay while their humans stay in a shelter, get medical treatment, have a hot meal, or go to a job interview. Heartland Humane Society will oversee the health aspect to make sure that the van is a safe and healthy place for pets to stay. A trained volunteer will be on staff in the unit to care for the animals during their brief stay with K9 Care-a-van.
“The current plan is to equip the van with 16 to 20 enclosures of various sizes for dogs, with additional accommodations for cats and other small animals,” Ewald says of the completed unit.
Upon its completion, K9 Care-a-van will be the first mobile kennel unit of its kind to help serve this demographic. “We hope it will be a model for other communities to consider,” Ewald says.
At the moment, the project is still in the fundraising and planning phases. On September 10, there will be a fundraising event at Papa’s Pizza in Corvallis from 11am to 12 midnight to help raise money for the construction of the mobile kennel unit. For each person who brings in a flyer for the fundraiser, Papa’s pizza will donate half of the food sale mount to K9 Care-a-van.
To help pets of the homeless AND get your pizza on, visit: www.papaspizza.net and download a flyer. On September 10 from 11am to 12 midnight bring your flier to Papa’s Pizza in Corvallis at 1030 SW 3rd St. Half of the sale from your food purchase will be donated to K9 Care-a-van.
By Erica Johnson