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JoAnna Lou
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Mass. Dogs Help Homeless Shelter
Pups find a foster home while aiding Bostonians

I think that dogs have an innate ability to bring out the best in us. Over the last year, I’ve written about dogs calming humans testifying in court, putting patients at ease in the doctor’s office, and even helping people meet new significant others. Now, dogs are helping residents open up to staff members at a Boston, Mass., homeless shelter, while increasing their own adoptability in return.

About a year ago, Barbara Davidson, head of a homeless shelter and support organization in Massachusetts called Pine Street, was working with a man who suffered from paranoia. He refused treatment, but knowing he loved dogs, Barbara began volunteering with him at the local animal shelter to help him feel more comfortable. He loved the work so much that he asked Barbara to let him bring one of the dogs back to Pine Street.  

Barbara soon found that having a dog at Pine Street helped residents to open up and build trust with the staff. Now, Pine Street fosters six dogs.

The residents at Pine Street can relate to the homeless dogs, developing a strong bond. They also provide the dogs with socialization and training, making the pups more attractive to adopters. A very cool win-win for all involved.

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Screenshot from Boston.com.

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