Two people named Glenn Greenwald and David Miranda have developed a new model for an animal shelter – one that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.
Both of them are dog-lovers who have been working on animal rights for years. They pick up, foster, and adopt a lot of dogs that deserve a better life than they would have had on the streets, wandering alone.
Above all, they were touched by the special bond between homeless people and their dogs. They say that most of us judge that bond way too quickly.
“At first glance, this situation can seem grim and depressing: Many assume that animals who live on the street with homeless companions are mistreated or deprived,” Glenn wrote in a piece for The Dodo.
However, Greenwald says it is the exact opposite and that the bond between homeless people and their pets is stronger than anyone can imagine. Of course, unless they’ve experienced it or seen it up close.
Greenwald says their mutual need results in intense devotion to one another that is absolutely inspiring.
“The compassion, empathy and self-sacrifice defining the relationship between those who are homeless and their pets is extraordinary. It is difficult to explain how affecting it is to watch a hungry, homeless person receive a desperately needed meal and, without a second thought, instantly divide it in half to share it with their hungry dog or cat.”
Their new shelter will do all the same things that traditional rescue shelters do – it will take in animals in need, provide care, and search for suitable families for them.
But the difference between this shelter and other ones is that Greenwald and Miranda intend to staff the shelter exclusively with homeless people who live on the streets with their pets “and thus have a demonstrated affinity for caring for animals in need.”
Based on the compassion they know these men and women have developed towards animals along with other social services, they will provide employment that will help the homeless people get back on their feet.
The pair hopes that their model spreads across the world once they show its success:
“The goal is to simultaneously empower and improve the lives of as many homeless people and homeless animals as possible. We hope — and genuinely believe — that the success of this project can serve as a model, a template, for inspiring similar shelters in other cities around the world.”
Greenwald had written a piece about him and his husband when they wanted to adopt a young boy, but found out he had two siblings that needed a home. The pair decided to adopt all three of them and made it work.
David was raised in poverty by his grandmother, which Greenwald says “made him naturally suited to understand the plight of the Brazilian poor.”
His eagerness to help three boys in need, combined with his skill set as a construction supervisor, along with met all the requirements Greenwald and Miranda had for a project manager.
A man named Lucas is the first employee of the shelter. Greenwald met while walking through the ritzy city of Ipanema.
Lucas was with his friend when they found a sick puppy in distress. They watched wealthy people walk by pretending not to notice. They decided to scoop up the dog and traveled from vet to vet until someone finally agreed to treat him.
Sadly, the puppy’s condition was fatal, but Greenwald said “the puppy’s tragically short life was made so much better by the constant love and attention she received from two people who often have difficulty feeding themselves.”
Lucas is 20 now and he has an adult dog. His employment has enabled him to rent his first apartment.
With the help of people like this along with a team of volunteer vets and nurses, the shelter is now up and running. They’ve also partnered with an agency in Rio called CREAS that will “provide temporary housing, clothing and counseling services to all homeless people hired at the shelter.”
Now, the new shelter needs more public support than ever.
They’ve even set up a GoFundMe page to help with costs and are halfway to their goal of $200,000.