Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Homeless Are Human

Downtown today I saw a young homeless man that I have seen before, sitting on a bench outside a store with his sign. When I came out, I went over and greeted him and geve him a dollar. He smiled and said "Thank you! I haven't seen you for awhile." I answered "That's true. How are you?" A shadow seemed to cross his face. "I'm O.K." He paused. "Last week was kinda hard." He seemed to be making an effort to keep control. "I had to put my cat down...with my own hands." I was horrified. "Oh, that's awful! What happened?" "She was so badly injured, she was dying, and I had no money for a vet."

It was all I could do to keep my composure and not cry. I have lost and wept over many cats, but the thought of having to put one out of its misery myself was too horrible to contemplate. "I'm so sorry that happened and that you had to do that," I said. His face, though as close to stoic as he could manage, showed the pain of that decision, that action, and that loss. I spoke to him for a few minutes, told him how sorry I was, wished him well, and then I had to go on my way.

As I walked to my car I deeply wished that more people could see the humanity of the homeless, the suffering they go through, and the hardships they face just to eat, to stay alive, to keep warm, to find a place to wash, or even a place to sleep that is safe.

I've heard people comment that since they are homeless, why are they so foolish as to have pets? But what else could give them the unquestioning, unconditional love that they must sorely need in such a dire situation?

If only I were rich, I would help every one that I could.

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