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Honoring the Homeless

Honoring the Homeless

“I minister to the underbelly of society” was the response I got when I recently asked a woman what she did for a living. She leads a church in one of the toughest communities in central Ohio, and many of the people who attend are homeless. I was a bit surprised by the comment, because I believe she is caring for some of the most spiritual humans on the planet. And they are equaled in grace by the pets that stay by their side, day and night.

I marvel at the way these animals watch over their human companions who have fallen on extremely hard times, or who are unable to accept help. It is the canine who is the guardian in the relationship. The homeless person and pet take the human-animal bond to an entirely different dimension.

Why do I believe homeless people and animals are spiritually advanced? The entire answer is beyond the scope of this writing, but a few reasons come to mind. They have endurance that I can’t imagine. They require that we look beyond our own needs, and open up our hearts. When we help someone else, we become better people. It is they who heal us each time we buy them a cup of coffee on a cold morning, serve them a meal, or donate to an organization dedicated to relieving their suffering. In fact, it may not be about helping them at all, but about honoring and respecting them.

This year, try and slow down a bit and look around you. When you can’t see the suffering of others this holiday season, or ignore the ringing bell and red bucket, know that it is really you who is being hurt by closing your heart. Thank goodness people in need are being looked after by a higher power, and sometimes that higher power has four legs and fur.

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Susan Wagner

Dr. Susan Wagner is a board certified veterinary neurologist whose pioneering work acknowledges the bioenergetic interaction between people and animals. She is an advocate for change in the area of interpersonal violence and animal cruelty, and works toward a greater understanding surrounding the health implications of the human-animal bond. Dr. Wagner is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University Veterinary College, a Level IV Healing Touch for Animals practitioner and co-author of Through A Dog’s Ear.

306 comments

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2:58PM PST on Nov 27, 2013

Thank you. Helping others is a blessing...for all involved.

2:23AM PST on Dec 31, 2012

Being homeless isn't their choice so please respect them

6:17AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

Susan, you have an amazing heart..... you will be blessed for that

9:31PM PST on Jan 30, 2012

True I have seen homeless with their furry loyal friends,and yes we should always help the less fortunate because everything get rewarded in many ways.

9:38AM PST on Dec 9, 2011

Always help in anyway you can!

8:01AM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

Thank you for a wonderful article. Sometimes I have a hard time looking at those on the street because I feel so bad for them (and I don't have anything extra to give to them, money wise) and wonder why does anyone anywhere have to suffer?

10:50PM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

interesting

3:53AM PDT on Apr 20, 2011

Amazing article, thank you!

1:46PM PDT on Mar 14, 2011

The only thing they need is love.. Thanks for sharing.

5:49AM PST on Feb 21, 2011

And why is is so that every time we're approaching the holidays of November and December it's so very essential to give to those who have not? There are 365 days in an ordinary year and the people and animals in need are in need all those days. Every single one. Why not do something for one person? Help one person get back on its feet with a job and a home? Why not help someone to help themselves? Why not make it into a project to help one person at a time? If ten people got together and used their resources to help someone without resources. And another ten and another ten and so on. That way we could rid ourselves of seasonal charities and handouts. There are several homeless people that want to get out of their situation and there are several that have come into their present circumstance for reasons other than drug abuse, mental illness and criminal behaviour. There are several that have become homelesss due to unemployment, divorce, natural disasters, etc. Why not come together and start out by helping them to a job and a future and when we have done that, take care of everyone else who wants to be helped into a future of self reliance and independence? I am willing to help out the best I can but I won't do it through charity. Only through helping person to person directly. Anyone else want to join me?

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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