Heartbreaking for All
For decades, families in Denver public housing neighborhoods have been isolated. Adding to the daily struggles of living on the other side of privilege are new ones that come with animals – hiding unregistered pets; seeing their neighbors keep animals in situations of neglect; watching animals trying to survive or dying on the streets and in sewers; and finally, the never-ending litters of puppies and kittens. If these situations are tough for adults to stomach, just imagine what it’s like for children who are learning that this is normal. But one day things began to change . . .
Child by Child, Family by Family, Animal by Animal
Children began asking for help for animals. We brought children to vet clinics where they observed surgeries and learned about animal needs and animal careers. Next a public housing maintenance worker asked for help with stray and dumped cats. They were all spayed/neutered and some were adopted. He told a resident and we did the same for the cats she was caring for. A public housing manager asked for help with enabling residents to keep their pets and comply with public housing pet policies. We provided free veterinary services and the public housing vet certificate they needed to register their pets and keep them. Soon, word began to spread throughout all of Denver public housing by the people who live there – to large row neighborhoods, high rises, senior living, etc. In time and together, we forged an animal health care program that is operated on a daily basis ever since by the people who live and work in public housing. Here we are years later, with over 400 families taking care of 600 animals and entire neighborhoods changed by the people who live and work there - mothers, grandmothers, fathers, children, aunts, uncles, cousins and managers, service coordinators, administrative assistants, maintenance workers.