This column article is in the Cedar Street Times this Friday… thanks to Wanda Sue Parrott
Wonder woofers and owners who won’t live without them
“Housing First!” If you were a homeless woman, or on the verge, housing would be your top priority.
Alas, affordable housing is so lacking in Monterey County, that “housing first” is the slogan all agencies, both public and private, use in dealing with affordable housing across the board. (Note: Cici and I wish this were true)
A special category of need exists that involves homeless women with pets, a few being cats and the majority dogs. The exact number of Monterey’s homeless pet owners is unknown.
Overnight dog housing needed
Landlords don’t want pets and agency-housing doesn’t usually allow them.
Homeless women don’t want to give up their dogs, so they sleep in their cars or on the street to be with their animals.
One reason for temporary suspension of the Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program for Women (I-HELP) was the fact female guests weren’t willing to give up their canine companions in exchange for food, personal amenities and shelter.
Suggestions have been made that an I-HELP for Pets program be devised through which pets can be sheltered at a designated location, then reunited with their owners during the daytime hours.
Between 400 and 500 homeless women were estimated to live on the Monterey Peninsula before the Soberanes Fire dislocated residents who were burned out over the past three weeks. Of this number, an unknown percentage includes pet owners who consider their four-legged friends as more than just canines. They’re their Wonder Woofers.
A few words about Wonder Woofers
Cici is a poster-dog for this column. She’s a loving Dalmatian-Pit Bull mix seen here celebrating her 10th birthday last month. Cici is a Wonder Woofer. Along with her Wonder Worker owner, Cici is homeless.
Since Cici can’t define Wonder Woofer, I’ll try.
A Wonder Woofer is a warm-blooded furry friend who speaks from the heart in arfs, ruffs and woofs we humans call barks. A Wonder Woofer is on the job 24/7, never complaining.
A Wonder Woofer likes to snuggle and wiggle and lick, as well as serenade his or her human with love songs sung unconditionally through squeals, whimpers, whines and hums.
A Wonder Woofer’s vocal range is extensive, also being capable of issuing protective warnings by yipping, growling and snarling if danger exists.
CeliaSue Hecht, Cici’s loving owner, is a former journalist who’s so devoted to her pet that she defines herself as a “dog traveler.”
Unlike many homeless women who don’t know where to turn or how to get started to solve the housing crisis, CeliaSue is a 66-year-old articulate activist. Despite having survived breast cancer and being in need of medical care and housing, CeliaSue is seeking solutions to the housing crisis. A current example is this ad in Craigslist:
RVs for Seniors with Dogs
If you live on the Central Coast of California and have an RV, camper, or trailer or know someone that does and would like to provide a home for a senior or veteran, please call CeliaSue at 702-225-8206…we have a list of those in need of housing.
Hundreds of senior women have been displaced with their pets. Single women without children, women who are not mentally ill, not drug addicts, not alcoholics, with low income, not working or cannot find work, veterans, and other seniors with dogs, over 50 years of age, some ill and whose health has deteriorated without shelter.
Thank you for your kindness.