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Photo: YouTube/Field of Vision
Karollyne, who works at the dog-rescue nonprofit founded by Glenn Greenwald and David Miranda in Brazil, is shown with one of the homeless dogs she cares for in an abandoned building.

Nothing humanizes homeless people more for us than seeing them interact with a pet. The panhandler who used to set up a blanket with his dog near Providence’s Kennedy Plaza always seemed cheerful whether he got money or not, and many passersby stopped to pat the dog and exchange a few friendly words. I haven’t seem him lately and can’t help wondering if his dog helped him to get it together and move off the street.

Consider a couple articles I’ve been reading on homelessness and the power of a pet. In the first article, reporter Candace Pires gathered the stories of four homeless people for the Guardian.

Heather, 22, told Pires, “Before we found Poppy, I didn’t feel like I had anything to wake up for. I was going through a rough time in my life and didn’t care about myself. I’d been homeless since my parents told me to leave our family house in June 2016 and was so miserable in my situation. Everywhere I go people shun me and tell me to leave.

“Then, last March, I was walking around downtown Seattle with my boyfriend when we saw a group of guys with two dogs. They were yelling at one of them and she was shivering and obviously scared. I went into a store and when I came out my boyfriend had the dog. I was confused. He said to me: ‘I made a life choice without you; we’re keeping the dog.’ He’d paid the guys $5 for her. …

“We moved from sleeping in a doorway to a tent. I stopped stealing food from stores when we were desperate; I didn’t want to go to jail for something dumb and risk losing her. I’ve applied for food stamps and now have a case manager helping me get on a housing list and get Poppy registered as a service animal so that we’re protected from being split up. …

“She wakes up so excited every morning and gets so happy about the littlest thing, like rolling around in the grass or even just the weather being nice. Seeing her like that reminds me to stay happy for simple things too. In my mind she’s a little angel that saved me as much as I saved her.”

Pires wrote up three more stories by homeless pet owners in America here.

Meanwhile, the journalist Glenn Greenwald has written at the Dodo about the dog-rescue nonprofit he and David Miranda founded in Brazil, where homeless people who love dogs are hired as caregivers.

“In the last two years,” Greenwald reported, “our work with animals has taken on a new focus: working with homeless people who live on the streets with their pets. 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.

“But, far more often, the truth is the opposite: The bond that forms between homeless people and their homeless pets is often [more] strong, deep and more profound than many can imagine. The mutual need, and resulting intense devotion, that homeless people and their animals develop for one another is inspiring and can be unlike what one might find in any other context.

Leslie Irvine, a sociology professor at the University of Colorado, has devoted much of her academic career to studying this unique relationship, and even named her book on the topic, ‘My Dog Always Eats First.’ ”

Greenwald wrote more here.

Did you ever see a person you thought you couldn’t relate to until you saw the person’s relationship with a pet? I’d love to hear stories.

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I am utterly tickled with the updated website for Suzanne’s birthstone-jewelry company Luna & Stella, the company that is behind this blog.

I really hope you will take a look — both for new products like stacking rings and a star pendant and for the wonderful pictures customers submitted showing warm  family and friend relationships.

Suzanne says, “We had so much fun with this contest we decided to keep it going. Send black & white vintage or recent family photos to contest@lunaandstella.com and you could win a $100 gift certificate if we use your photo on the site!”

Suzanne has given me such a free rein with this blog that it’s possible some readers don’t realize it’s a Luna & Stella blog. So I’m thrilled that the new website is up today. It gives me the opportunity to remind everyone that Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May.

(One of the many perks of being a grandma is that I get a new Luna & Stella charm or ring every Mother’s Day that there’s a new baby in the family.)

 

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We are gearing up for Mother’s Day around here. It’s an important time of the year for Luna & Stella. For one thing, it gives us a chance to share our enthusiasm for all those who take on the role of mother — whether or not they are actual mothers.

The nurturing person, the rock in someone’s life could be an aunt or a big sister. I have heard of a neighbor playing a mother role for a lonely kid. What about a loving grandpa?

Luna & Stella, as you know, has many birthstone-jewelry offerings, and not just for women. Check out L&S cufflinks if your grandpa was like a mother to you. Why not? Suzanne and Erik may think I’m crazy to suggest cufflinks for May 13, but hey, I’m just the blogger!

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