*This is an update of sorts to a previous story we did about the unfolding difficulties that pets and people are facing in the northeast area of Kansas City.
Of all the gifts that our pets bestow upon us, hope might be the most powerful.
It stems from their dedication to and love for us, regardless of how we look, what we smell like, the emotional traumas we endure or the financial struggles we face.
A pet doesn’t care.
Having that level of unconditional love helps smooth out the bumps in life. If a pet can see the struggles we face – whether internal or external – and still show up and care, that can be the inspiration those of us on two legs need to keep trying.
For a lot of the people we work with, it has to be.
Take our friend, Hani.
Due to the pandemic, his situation has gone from bad to worse. He lost his job, his home and all his belongings. Now he lives behind a kindly neighbor’s house in a tent our outreach team got for him and then erected in the only open spot there was.
You’d never know his situation if you didn’t see it personally. Hani is positive and kind, never openly laments his circumstances or acts concerned in any way. As he told me the first time I met him, as long as he has his cat and three dogs, he has what matters most.
At first I thought, “sure, I feel the same about my furry friends.” Then I came back to our clinic and saw the picture below and it hit me. His whole life, the hope that fills his heart, everything, all of it is pinned to his animals. And without them, I’m sure, his ability to stay afloat – his will – would fade.
But for a guy in a situation like that, resources are essential. That’s where our outreach team steps in. They’re out on the streets of KC all the time, looking for people and pets to help, responding to calls for food, parasite prevention, vaccines, whatever is needed so that pets can stay with the people who love them.
Of course, Hani’s situation is extreme. And the team is glad to help him and others facing tough times. But more often than not, it’s something less dramatic though never less important. Take, for example, the call we received from Emily, who was frantically trying to find food for her cats, Calvin and Annie Belle.
“You know if a car were to just suddenly brake and stop in the middle of the interstate, and all the other cars crashed behind it? That’s what happened to me,” she told us. “It’s one thing if I don’t have things. But when I don’t have things for my cats … that makes me feel like a failure.”
For Emily, that was a little cat food and some litter. And that freed her up to worry about other things and not even have to consider relinquishing her cats.
That’s the idea behind a lot of what we do. Give people the resources and they can keep their pets. It’s simple, it works, and it beats the alternative, which is more homeless pets, and more animals in shelters waiting for someone to love them.
And that’s simply not an alternative we care to entertain.
Pets are a lifeline
If you read the stories and social posts we put out, you’ll see this as a theme to quite a few of them. There’s a reason for that. Almost weekly someone we’re working with tells us in no uncertain terms, “if not for my pet, I wouldn’t be alive.”
That matters. It means everything to that person, maybe someone elderly who has no one else, or someone like our friend, Josh, who has his own struggles and leans heavily on his best friend, Lucy. Of course, it’s the same for us here at PRCKC. We’re pet parents and we love and cherish our four-legged family members, too. So we get it when someone says, “she is my everything.”
That’s why all of us are here. We understand the power of pets.
They give us the love we need when we need it, no questions asked. They don’t care what we’ve been through, who we are or what our future holds. All they care about is that we love them back.
And that’s how they fill our hearts with hope.