First priority

Veterinarians care for pets of homeless.

While some may criticize the notion of the homeless having pets, Lem argues that the bond between human and companion animal is so strong that it provides benefits for both two- and four-legged friends.

“I think within socially marginalized populations, not just the homeless, the human-animal bond is often much more significant or stronger,” Lem says. “For individuals who don’t have social support (friends and family) the pets provide emotional support, companionship, so they can have a definitely more significant impact on the lives of their owner.”

The pets often become the owner’s first priority, she says. “I think most people have heard, you know, people will feed their dogs before they will feed themselves.”

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