Here at Soopa, we love spreading the word and supporting groups that dedicate their time and effort to help dogs in need.
You may not have heard of DOTS (Dogs on the Streets), so let us tell you more about the amazing work they do.
DOTS is a UK Non-profit organisation that heads out into the streets in all weathers to help improve the well being of dogs within the homeless community. It’s an aspect of the homeless crisis that isn't much discussed, and goes largely ignored.
For those that are homeless, a dog can be their only companion through tough times.
The DOTS outreach programme was launched back in 2016 by animal lover Michelle Clark, but an encounter Michelle had with a homeless man and his dog a few years earlier would be the beginning of her journey to help dogs of the homeless community.
Michelle recalls seeing the homeless man with his dog "I went to a market and asked a stall holder if I could have one of those cardboard boxes that mushrooms come in. I then bought some treats, toys and a blanket from a pet store.(1)”
Michelle returned to where the homeless man was and offered him the dog treats she had just bought.
"I was so naive about homelessness. But I had to do something to help. The man was so grateful, he couldn’t stop thanking me as his dog nuzzled the box and wolfed down the snacks. I decided to start doing everything I could to help street dogs"(1)
It was after this encounter that Michelle set out on her own free time traveling around London to help those she could - this time spent helping others made Michelle realise how much support was really needed.
The genesis for DOTS would just be around the corner...
“Via Michelle’s extensive work in this area, the true inspiration for DOTS came in the waggy tailed shape of a very special street dog called Poppy who changed Michelle’s life forever. Poppy’s homeless dad was taken very ill and having heard about Michelle’s work made contact to see if she could help with Poppy’s welfare while he moved into accommodation to try and better his health. Michelle took Poppy on, welcoming her into her family (including numerous other furbabies!) like one of her own. And it was this bond that was formed with Poppy that sparked the desire in Michelle to do even more than she was for the homeless doggy owning community, to provide a more permanent and regular service.”(2)
DOTS now operates weekly in London and has other services around the UK. Head over to their website to learn more about this truly amazing group of people, the work they do, and how you can help.