AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Nextdoor post that garnered significant attention in Austin has now resulted in hundreds of dollars raised and a new home for a dog that belonged to a man experiencing homelessness.
Kylee Mohr says Zeus, a happy-go-lucky dog, and his owner, lived near her apartment complex and that she became worried about the dog’s well-being. She decided to post on Nextdoor to see what could be done to help.
“I had seen the power of the internet before in getting things done and I’ve been on Nextdoor for a while so I thought well maybe somebody on there would have some ideas on what we could do,” Mohr said.
A lot of people had ideas and suggestions, including Lauryn Myers and her boyfriend, who just so happened to have a relationship with the homeless man who owned Zeus. Through conversations with that man, Myers learned he was willing to give the dog to someone who had more resources.
“He’s one of our neighbors and building up a positive rapport with him and the dog, I think led to this being a very positive solution because there was trust,” Myers said. “He knew that we were going to help this pup have its very best life to be happy and safe and healthy.”
Zeus has since been taken to the veterinarian and been given a clean bill of health. He is being fostered for adoption by an Austin family with kids who are in love with their new furry family member, Myers says.
In the meantime, Myers and her boyfriend still check in regularly with the previous owner of Zeus to provide him pictures of Zeus’ new home and continue their relationship with him.
“We promised him that we would follow up with him and know that this isn’t the end, that we very much care about him as well and his well-being,” she said. “As much as he has expressed that he misses his dog, as one can imagine when it’s your companion, he just knows at the end of the day that if Zeus is happy then he’s happy.”
Genevieve Frederick, founder and president of Feeding Pets of the Homeless, a national nonprofit that provides pet food and emergency veterinary care to pets that belong to people who are experiencing homelessness, and partners with the Austin Animal Center, says pets staying with their homeless owners can often be critical to that person’s well-being.
“These pets that are with their homeless owners provide them with unconditional love, they’re non-judgmental, they provide them with protection especially if you’re a homeless woman,” Frederick said. She also says most people go into homelessness with their pets.
Feeding Pets of the Homeless provides resources for those people’s pets but is seeing a startling increase in inquiries as the pandemic continues to target people’s ability to work and pay rent. Last year the organization took more than 8,000 inquiries for help. This year already, they’re at more than 6,000.
“If you are a pet owner you know that human-animal bond and how much that means to your personally, people that don’t get that, it’s because they probably never had an animal look in their eyes and give them that love,” Frederick said.
Feeding Pets of the Homeless has the Austin Animal Center listed as a partner on their website. They are looking for more partners like food banks, veterinarians, shelters or other homeless outreach groups. You can get involved with Feeding Pets of the Homeless on their website.
If you need assistance, the number to reach Feeding Pets of the Homeless is (755) 841-7463 or you can use the ‘find resources near you’ page on their website. A case manager will do an interview, verify homelessness and connect you to resources.