John and Kelly

Soup Kitchen Stories: 2013

Voice of a Guest: John


When a pet and her person are both homeless, how do they stay together?  For many people, a pet is the only source of comfort when they have lost everything else. For some, these four legged companions not only offer a rich quality of life but also crucial health benefits.  That is what John’s dog Kelly has given him for many years. And John has provided Kelly with care and protection, a friendship instead of a kennel at an animal shelter.  John’s friendship with Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen goes back several years too, as a guest and as a volunteer carpenter,  and it was that history which helped him unite with Kelly after  tragic circumstances separated them for several months.

John had been living in a mobile home in Upper Manhattan when a snowstorm hit the area, forcing the two once again out on the streets. To stay protected from the harsh weather, John sought refuge at a homeless shelter where pets are not allowed. Kelly ended up with an  organization that cares for homeless pets and while in their care it was  discovered  that she was ill with Cushings Disease. In order to be cared for, they required that she be fostered with people who had reliable, permanent housing. Separated from his one companion, and uncertain of her whereabouts,  John was heartbroken. He appealed to the Department of Agriculture for help. The representative fielding John’s request found a story we had  posted  about John and Kelly on Facebook in 2012. The story included pictures of  the two eating lunch together and the podbike John had built for Kelly using his carpentry skills. With this background and documentation, the representative contacted a soup kitchen counselor who remembered John well. The counselor continued the dialogue with the agency in charge of Kelly’s care, and  advocated on John’s behalf.

Today, Kelly and John are happily reunified, and the counselors at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen are looking for more ways to help guests  know about pet care resources they can access during challenging times.