Adopted Dog Helps Family Facing Homelessness Get Back on Their Paws

After an eviction left his family living in their car, Meaty’s love helped them find a fresh start.

Robert + Meaty

When Robert adopted Meaty, he had no idea they’d both become homeless. Luckily, Meaty’s love helped them find a fresh start.

"I rescued Meaty when he was homeless, and he rescued me when I was homeless. "

When I adopted Meaty, our life was in a great place. My partner and I had a nice home, a beautiful dog, and we were having so much fun. But two months later, all three of us were homeless after being evicted.

Adopted dog helps homeless family

My partner works for the county, and I have a master’s degree and was looking for employment, but finding a place that would rent to us after the eviction was almost impossible. We were forced to get rid of most of our possessions and live in our car for two months. We couldn’t cook food, and anytime we got out of the car, the mosquitoes were terrible. Each night was a struggle to find a safe place to sleep.

Adopted dog helps homeless family

At night, temperatures dipped below freezing, and the only thing keeping me warm was Meaty lying on my chest. That was one place where he really saved my life: he kept me from freezing to death. It was a grave situation—I felt hopeless and helpless. There are homeless shelters and low-cost hotels, but none of them take pets, and there was no way I was going to abandon my dog or leave him in the cold—he’s my hero and we’re partners forever. But it didn’t feel right putting him through that lifestyle. I remember the night I had to give Meaty a loaf of bread for dinner, and I felt horrible.

Adopted dog helps homeless family

So the next day, I brought him to the Front Street Animal Shelter where he was adopted, and asked if they could board or find a foster home for Meaty while I got back on my feet. The amazing staff at the shelter made a video of Meaty and me telling our story, and posted it on Facebook. The response was overwhelming. In just a few days our video had over half a million views and over $5,000 had been donated to keep our family together. Another extremely compassionate viewer had a spare home that she wasn’t using, and she allowed us to move in so we could get a fresh start. This was all because of Meaty! His face, smile, and personality drew everyone in, and people were inspired by how inseparable we were.

Adopted dog helps homeless family

Fast forward six months, and we’re in a totally different place. We have a beautiful home and a roof over our heads, and Meaty has a huge yard where he gets to be a dog. We’re safe, happy, and healthy, and it’s all thanks to our adopted dog. I rescued Meaty when he was homeless, and he rescued me when I was homeless. He didn’t just change my life, he saved it.

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Robert won Front Street Animal Shelter in California a 2018 Holiday Wishes award.

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