Tuesday, January 06, 2009

homeless by will

after visiting ah ma’s place on saturday, the woman was brought along to visit a homeless mother and son who lives on the streets with their dog and a lame bird. their plight is unfortunate but up to a point, the woman became strangely unmoved.

two years ago when they owned a flat, the thirty year old son and his mother adopted a stray dog with a history of abuse. the story of the recovery of the dog under their care is a remarkable one.

then for reasons unknown, they sold their flat. to keep their dog who has a deep mistrust of people, they rented an apartment to themselves for a hefty $1300 per month. that depleted their savings completely and they were not yet eligible for the government rental flats.

options were given by the MP and by friends and relatives for shelter but none allowed the dog to stay with them. they opted for the streets.

our hearts go out to them who rather face the streets than to abandon their dog in a crisis. but just as unsettling as the deplorable lack of options for animal caregivers, especially poor animal caregivers, is their own stubborn, imprudent and reliant attitudes.

besides looking out for a cheap pet-friendly place for them to stay, Jaime found a sponsor willing to put the dog up at a farm. she is also scouring for job opportunities for the son who is currently unemployed.

but the mother did not want to leave the dog. when a job opening came up, the son said his mother could not handle being on the street on her own. by the way, they had nothing to eat, could Jaime come bring them some food?

this is classic circular defeatist reasoning. because you aren’t working you are living on the street. and because you are living on the street, you can’t work. to his credit, the son did make it to his first day at work and we hope he will keep it.

as for the dog, living on the run from residents, from authorities and other roving homeless people with existing claims on park benches and pavilions is no way to overcome his deep-seated emotional problems. being on a farm with experienced animal caregivers with regular visits from his owners may in fact save his sanity, if only the mother and son can see past their overwhelming need to keep it by their side.

quite frankly for a thirty year old man and his fifty year old mother, it is far too early to let go of their self-sufficiency, their dignity and their good sense. they are not a doddering 70 year old who can't be called upon to do much for herself.

but if they were a little wiser, they would not be in the predicament they are in now. what do you do?

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