Project aims to help homeless people and their animals
SANTA FE, N.M. — Fixed address or not, dog is man’s best friend.
“It’s quite the thing, the need to have an animal that is so loving and so caring,” Robert McCollum said.
McCollum and his dog, Tarzan, have an unbreakable bond – valuable as they’ve been through a lot together.
“Because of my depression and stuff, it makes everything so much better when we have animals to help out with things, you know?” he said.
The duo have had to brave the storms life and the weather throws at them. They call the streets of Santa Fe home, no matter rain, snow or shine.
Keeping Tarzan warm, fed and cared for, though, is not really an issue. That is thanks to the Street Homeless Animal Project.
“Our mission is to alleviate suffering and keep human-animal families together and that is vital for our families because they are families,” Karen Cane said.
Cane founded SHAP and serves as the executive director. With the help of volunteers and other organizers, her organization has helped provide street families in Santa Fe with food and harnesses for 25 years.
They even provide vet care from Smith Veterinary Hospital.
‘We see pets any time they need anything and we also do emergencies so we see some trauma cases. So really it’s a full spectrum of care that we’re able to provide for the SHAP program,” said Dr. Kelsey Dobesh, a veterinarian.
The care is where their biggest costs come from. They always welcome donations to keep that going.
“Homeless folks who come in with their pets, love their pets just as much as you and I do, if not more. I find that a lot of time they give each other a reason to live,” Dr. Dobesh said.
“It means a lot because if I can’t do it, I just feel hopeless but she helps me a lot. And I appreciate it a lot that she does that for us,” David said.
Their goal will never change. Keep families together, regardless of an address.
The program is looking to get a cargo van to carry necessities and to help transport families to vet visits. If you’d like to help, click here.