Haibun: My Friend, My Rock

a black whippet in a multi-coloured jumper sitting beside his bed on a red carpet floor

My friend, my rock. Many people feel this way about their dog, including many homeless people.

Last Friday was the funeral of a homeless man called Nick. A homeless man who loved to read books and could often be found in London’s Strand near the Adelphi Theatre, his trusted dog Scarper by his side. Scarper is one of many dogs receiving free veterinary care and support from a charity called Dogs On The Streets (DOTS). In addition to veterinary care DOTS provide collars and tags, toys, dog coats, blankets and food. They provide support for their human companions too and will take the dogs into temporary foster care at their sanctuary when their human needs hospital care or rehab treatment. Ultimately, they aim to help both the homeless person and their dog into permanent accommodation.

seeing
through rising and falling mist
the first swallow

Β© Xenia Tran

a blue and white whippet in a multi-coloured jumper resting her chin on her pal, also wearing a multi-coloured jumper

As some of you may be aware, when Nick passed away on the street, his dog Scarper would not leave his side. It was through the DOTS tag on her collar that Nick’s identity could be established. She was taken into foster care and has now been re-homed with Nick’s family.

DOTS is one of the charities we support through Sharing Our Horizon. We believe in the work they do and the crucial role dogs play in the lives of homeless people. For most, these dogs are all they have. They spend 24 hours a day together and provide their dogs with the kind of companionship some dogs in big houses may never know.

People can end up living on the streets for all kinds of reasons, especially in light of the current welfare system. Many have turned down offers of accommodation when they’re not allowed to bring their dog with them. These people have no desire to abandon their best friend, their rock.

If you want to find out more about the work DOTS do, are interested in volunteering or want to support in other ways, please check out their website.

Wishing you all a beautiful Tuesday,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Pananonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/2.8 – 1/6 s – ISO 200 and f/2.8 – 1/40 s – ISO 200.

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #78: Swallow

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Rock

Author: whippetwisdom

The stories, poems and photographs on this blog are the original creative work of Xenia Tran. Inspired by life in the Scottish Highlands and in awe of nature she gives voice to the wisdom of her two adopted whippets Eivor and Pearl.

82 thoughts on “Haibun: My Friend, My Rock”

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words dear Cathy, they do a wonderful job and also find loving homes for the dogs when they are left behind πŸ’œ Hope you are having a good day and much love to you and Finn from all of us here πŸ€—πŸΎπŸ’–πŸΎ xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words dear friends, DOTS do a lot of amazing work πŸ’œ The Mercer Clinic for the Pets of the Homeless in Sacramento also has a volunteer outreach service and some of their work features in Leslie Irvine’s book ‘My Dog Always Eats First – Homeless People and their Animals’, which highlights similar issues in the US πŸ™‚πŸ’–πŸ• xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a moving post. We too have many homeless people who also love their animals. DOTS sounds like a very good cause to support. I am going to see if we have something like it here in Toronto.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words dear Jackie πŸ’œ I think Community Veterinary Outreach (CVO) have a programme in Toronto and there may be some other charities too πŸ™‚πŸΎπŸ’–πŸΎ

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  2. When I read James Bowen’s book “A Streetcat Named Bob” it really opened my eyes about the life of a homeless person. I have read all the Bob books now and i will never look at a homeless person the same way again.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Start with “A Streetcat Named Bob”. It is a wauick and easy read. I read it on a flight from Florida home to Toronto one time and laughed and cried all the way. I love all the books but start with that one. I think you will like it. It is not just acute cat story. James Bowen was a recovering addict and he rescued and was rescued by an injured street cat.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A moving post that brought tears to my eyes. We are too quick to judge harshly. No mystery at all why homeless folks choose their dogs over a home. I’m guessing that for many, the dogs are the most steadfast companions they have ever had. No wonder we love those dog buddies!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. RIP NickπŸΎπŸ’œπŸΎ

    πŸ’œgentle nose nudges πŸ’œto Scarper🐾

    DOT sounds like a wagnificent organization 🐾
    Thank you for bringing our attention to their org.

    We will share so more people will know & hopefully support their wooftastic work🐾

    πŸ’œnose nudgesπŸ’œ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear Annabelle, it’s thankfully part of human nature to reach out and help as much as we can, raise awareness and campaign for changing the system into something that will support the vulnerable people and animals in our society πŸ™‚πŸ’–πŸ• xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The story about Nick is sad and heart-warming at the same time. A dog is a β€œman’s best friend” and that is certainly true for homeless people. Most of these men and women we encounter have a dog as their trusted friend. And, the animals always look healthy. I’m glad Scarper found a new home. Thank you for all you do, Xenia!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words dear Liesbet and I’m glad to hear the animals you see always look healthy πŸ’œ In the US there are now more vets and outreach services providing free veterinary care, food and support too while the campaign to allow more pets into sheltered and rented accommodation continues πŸ™‚πŸ’–πŸ• xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank You, on behalf of those that cannot speak for themselves, to DOTS, and other organizations that look beyond the labels and walls of our world to care for one another regardless of circumstance.
    Thank you, too, Xenia, for featuring such information, and all the other good works you do for our furry friends.
    FYI- Here in the U.S., Best Friends Animal Society (bestfriends.org) has a program for homeless (feral) cats.
    They are trapped, spayed & neutered, and vaccinated, then returned to their free and wild lives.
    It’s human nature to want to put animals and people into boxes. Houses, cages, animal shelters.
    Some people and animals prefer to live outside the box in a literal sense.
    It’s not always easy to see their choice as rational, but it is easy to accept if you think of it as freedom, liberty.

    Blessings to all of our caregivers, and those they care for.

    Paz

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and your blessings dear Paz πŸ’œ I love the work Best Friends do with the dogs and the many volunteering opportunities they offer. I wasn’t aware of their feral cat programme and it sounds like a great idea to support these free spirits – thank you so much for sharing this! Wishing you a blessed day and much love from all of us here πŸ€—πŸΎπŸ’–πŸΎ

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words dear Julie, it’s so sad to see anyone pass away on the streets and Nick was still young and a friend to many. We’re grateful for all the good work DOTS do and that Scarper now has a loving home with Nick’s family. She feels like ‘a part of Nick’ to them and hopefully, in their own way, they’ll feel like a part of Nick to Scarper too πŸ’œ xxx

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