Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Lost family member

Homeless people are attached to their pets, just like the rest of us. When a dog dies, the whole camp suffers.

But what happens next is tragic. How can you properly dispose of the much-loved remains?

Last night someone in a homeless camp asked me if I could help in any way with the cremation. "Let me find out. Call me in the morning." I had to think about it. I got no idea what a cremation for a pet would cost. And wouldn't it be better to spend that $100 (or whatever) on the human needs I'm facing every day?

I started musing about the importance of pets to people who have lost nearly everything: home, jobs, friendships, sense of self-worth. But through thick and thin, a dog will provide comfort, loyalty, structure, and some level of accountability even though the rest of a homeless person's life may be spinning out of control.

The grief is real. I have to help.