Suppose a Home is Not a House? Keeping Pets With Their People, Even in Harsh Surroundings.
Buddy Nation was formed in Ventura, California to address the large population of homeless people and their beloved pets. These pets are often the only ones who love their people and give them affection, protection and companionship. They live in river bottoms, bushes, cars and trucks or wherever they can find shelter for the night.
The economy has forced more and more people to lose their homes and end up on the streets. Many are there because they won’t give up their pets.
The first street pet to be helped was Buddy, a grey and white Pit Bull who was hit by a motorcycle and left in the street to die. He was rescued by passersby and taken to a veterinarian for surgery, which resulted in Buddy losing his leg. Although the vet greatly discounted the surgical fee and care, there were bills to pay and after care needs.
Buddy Nation was initiated to provide the funds and follow up care for the person and her pet. A group of friends chipped in to pay the vet and a motel stay for after care.
The founder, Debra Reeves, started going around to the homeless encampments to bring food and bedding for the animals as well as tents, sleeping bags and tarps for their people. This evolved to include getting the pets to veterinarians for medical treatment and to work with the other animal organizations to provide spays and neuters, vaccinations, micro chipping, licenses, food, leashes, harnesses, toys and treats.
We work with social workers to re-home pets whose people have died, been evicted, are hospitalized or jailed. We foster pets who can return to their people and find new homes for those who can’t. We raise needed funds through donations, bake sales, yard sales, social media and through a high end artisans store that sells donated hand-made pet coats and gives a percentage of the store’s overall sales to Buddy Nation.
We work as a village of helpers … no one is Queen Bee … all are volunteers who just see a need and fill it. We work cooperatively with all the other animal organizations for the good of the animals.
By assuring that their pets are healthy and thriving, we are able to give some dignity back to people who really need it.
We have figured out what works in Ventura and have acted on it. We constantly evolve as we see needs and opportunities. We are currently working with the County of Ventura, implementing programs to get the homeless into temporary and/or full time housing, where they can keep their beloved pets with them.