Dogs are as much a part of the family as anyone else. They provide emotional support and love, and their humans greatly appreciate them – but if their mom is a female veteran facing homelessness, all that could be taken away.
Stereotypes may have us believing that most homeless veterans are older men, but the fact is that female veterans, many single parents bringing their children along, are now facing this reality. Advocates for homeless women veterans have worked hard to bring awareness to the low amount of housing resources available to them, but even less are accommodating of pets.
This fact can prevent these women from deciding to go to a shelter; how could they want to leave their pup behind? On top of that, research has shown that women who have histories of trauma may avoid shelters due to their predominantly male dynamics, and much more likely to fear separation from their pets who provide them with comfort.
In 2015, a survey conducted by The Huffington Post found that out of 400 women veterans, more than 60% had pets, and nearly 75% of those women would have chosen to stay with their pet over going to a shelter. HuffPost conducted a second survey in 2017 that received responses from over 2,500 women veterans, and of this group, more than 25% of those facing homelessness had pets, and nearly 65% of them would not choose a shelter over their pets.
This evidence would suggest that it is necessary to consider female veterans with pets who would not want to leave them behind when creating solutions to combat veteran homelessness. What do you think about this data? What solutions would you propose? Let’s get a conversation started to find a solution!