With the uncertainty and the rapidly changing issue of the coronavirus, we at Feeding Pets of the Homeless will continue to help the pets of the homeless to the best of our ability. All of our staff are now working from their homes.
Medical researchers say the people currently homeless across the United States are more susceptible to contracting the disease caused by the coronavirus because of the cramped quarters in shelters, the sharing of utensils and the lack of hand-washing stations on the streets.
Chronically homeless people often have underlying medical conditions and lack reliable health care, meaning that, once infected, they are far more likely to get very sick or die. One study last year found that 30 percent of homeless people had chronic lung disease.
Many of you may have seen news reports concerning a dog living in Hong Kong that was tested positive for COVID-19. The dog lived with a human who has been ill with confirmed COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that animals can spread coronavirus or infect humans; however, this situation is being carefully monitored.
January 2020 - Hector lives next to the railroad tracks in San Jose, CA. He has been homeless for 15 years. He collects cans to be recycled as his only income. He has a bicycle for transportation. His dog, Gordy, an 8-month-old female Pit Bull Terrier was crying out in pain and losing weight. He found Feeding Pets of the Homeless™ on the internet and called us. We verified he is homeless and approved an exam at partner hospital in the area.
After the examination, the veterinarian called our Case Manager and recommended sedation, x-rays, bloodwork, fecal test, and urinalysis. We approved a basic blood panel and x-rays. Nothing was found in the testing. Gordy was given an appetite stimulant, pain medications and antibiotics. The vet said Gordy was not eating much, not vomiting, pooped normal, owner says barely walking, painful in back area, phlegm, but that the bloodwork is OK, pet losing weight, is 50Lbs. X-rays - lower spine, changes, minimal, hips fine, kneecaps OK. Chest, mild allergic bronchitis, not enough to cause pain & weight loss. No infection, no anemia, kidneys normal, no evidence of tic borne disease. We assisted with $578, which included blood sample collection, biohazard waste disposal, 7 x-rays, sedation and IDEXX blood work. We also helped with $77, which included medications and appetite stimulant.
Gordy was not getting better. Our Case Manager was communicating with Hector via email as his English was very broken, but he could write clearly. He wrote, “I’m devastated, sad, angry and I feel like I failed her. In 30 days, my 75 pound, strong, happy, loved, lovely puppy, became a sad, weak, lost skeleton with skin, dying puppy.”
We approved a second opinion at a hospital in Silicon Valley. We gave them our Case Manager’s cell phone number for the after-hours visit. Hector took Gordy in on a Saturday, and unfortunately, the message of our cell number was not relayed. They tried calling the office when we were not in. A good Samaritan helped that day by paying $303 for meds, x-rays, and pain management. Gordy was diagnosed with pneumonia.
Our Case Manager followed up to see how Gordy was doing.
Hector responded that he “just got another ticket from the police for living in the rail road and gave me 48 hrs. to move away or I'm gonna be arrested, she's not gonna survive with this cold living outside, she is barely making it under this roof, so I'm not gonna exposed her to the cold to die, I'm gonna be arrested and deported, they already told me that in the last court. Again thank you, you did your best and I appreciate so much your help, I'm gonna keep her alive and with me the longer I can. Thanks.” Hector
A few weeks later, we also asked how Gordy was doing. Hector responded, “She's not doing well, she keep losing weight, the pneumonia hasn't improve, again she had conjunctivitis and some other issues but the weight is really impressive. I keep giving her the medicines but if she keeps worsen her condition, I'm gonna have to take her again to the doctor. The sheriff didn't showed up to kick us out, so she is sleeping in a warm place. I'll let you know how it goes. Thank you so much for your humanity. I'll never forget your help. Thanks.” Hector
We urged Hector to take Gordy back to the vet and approved a recheck.
After the exam, the veterinarian said Gordy’s eyes and respiratory were worse, she was not eating, was weak, and not responding to the meds. She was not feeling well at all and had a fever. The vet recommended hospitalization, chest x-rays, ultrasound. He also mentioned she was thin, lungs bad, and recommended supportive care with a low estimate of $5,000 and high of $6,000. We approved $400 in remaining funds towards this treatment.
We assisted with a total of $808 for Gordy. We believe Gordy has passed over the rainbow, as we have not had contact with Hector.
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