Veteran Chooses Homelessness Over Giving Up Therapy Dogs

Jeremy very much wants to work (and has office skills), but first a home must be found so the dogs are not cooped up inside of a scorching van all day.

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Jeremy, a US veteran, lost his home, but could not accept assistance offered by the government because it would have meant giving up his dogs.  They’re his family, and he refuses to part with them.  Thankfully, many have stepped up to help, but he is still in need of a job and a home (in the Northwest Valley area of Arizona) that will allow four well-trained Belgian Malinois.

 

This comes from Michele Cervantez:

 

On January 16th I saw a post going around on Facebook about a US Veteran in Surprise, Arizona that was losing his home and being evicted in a few days. He has 4 beautiful Malinois dogs and options were limited because he wants to keep them. I’m active in the dog rescue/homeless advocacy community and I wanted to do something, but it seemed there were a few options and that he had some help.

 

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Several days went by and I decided to reach out to Jeremy directly and ask if he needed food for his dogs. He responded and said yes. I met him and the dogs in a parking lot on January 27th. Someone donated a van to him and he is a living in it with the dogs. He is humble about getting help, but he still needs it.

A nice woman is allowing him to park at her house at night but it is not feasible for him to have a room in the house as initially offered, as she has many dogs, as well. This is not an easy way to live on an ongoing basis, especially for the dogs. I gave him two large bags of dog food for Junior, Buddy, Olive & Dale. It would be nice to get him a motel room now and again so they can all stretch out and wash up and get them out of these tight quarters. 

On January 28th I assisted him in taking the dogs to the Stand Down event and the dogs got shots and a check-up. One of the dogs had some dental issues and another a possible ACL condition. It would be nice to get them ongoing care and follow up, as they are ages five through nine. He is returning to the Stand Down event today, to see what help is available for him, since we got the dogs taken care of yesterday. It can take several days or weeks to receive any help, if anything is even available for him.

 

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Much of the assistance out there for vets is for the humans only. If someone is unwilling to give up their pets, assistance is greatly limited. He does not want to give up his pets, as they are the source of some happiness and purpose to him. I totally get that. Someone who bravely served our country should not be living like this. It is not known yet if there is any housing assistance available. It would be nice if someone knew of a rental home or townhouse with a yard or fenced patio that allowed a veteran with 4 dogs. They are well behaved and of course potty trained. Goal amount may later be changed depending on what he finds out about housing. 

Many people have asked about helping and asked if I would set up a GoFundMe for him and the dogs. Please know Jeremy did not ask me to do this. Will you help me help Jeremy, Dale, Junior, Buddy and Olive? What the funds can be used for:


*Further care, treatment, food and supplies for the 4 dogs (Including current ID tags, harnesses, microchipping, joint supplement for Dale)
*Bottled water for all of them
*Use of laundry mat to clean bedding and clothing
*Gas, insurance, update tags, maintenance for the van
*Storage unit so that the van isn’t so cramped with clothing, belongings and dog supplies. He lost/left many things at the house, but still has some personal items.
*Cell phone upkeep so he has a way to receive calls about possible assistance.
*PO Box, so he has an address to receive mail about assistance.
*Food, vitamins, toiletries, wipes, hand sanitizer, clothing, etc. for Jeremy
*A removable rug for the van that can be taken out and vacuumed at a car wash (living with the hair of 4 dogs!)
*Possible play time at indoor dog park for the dogs (outdoor dog parks have not worked well)
*Whatever other needs arise!

I am not a 501c3 charity. I am just a regular person trying to help another human being and his dogs.

 

 

Generous donors to the gofundme page set up for the group have already given thousands of dollars to get them a home.  Here are some of the updates:

Thank you for your continued support and donations, everyone! I have been out of town for a few days for work and just got back last night at midnight. This morning was the first time funds were available to use from GFM. I will be meeting Jeremy today to switch the dog food to Earthborn. Poor Olive has not been feeling well a couple days, going to see if this will make a difference. I will also get another gas card. Jeremy has an appointment this afternoon to check into housing. Not sure how that will go with the 4 dogs. Hoping for the best, I will let you know! Some of you have asked what kind of work he will be looking for. Yes, he wants to work, but he will need a place to live before he can get a job. He ideally would like office work, and yes he does WANT to work. He is uplifted by our support and that we care. 

 

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When I saw them today, Olive looked so much better that Jeremy had reported she was feeling yesterday. Today he said she is doing so much better. That is so great! He thinks she was having tummy trouble. Part of the problem is that that are mostly in the van and get out for potty breaks several times a day. We need a safe yard they can stretch out in and walk around a bit at least a few times a week. There have been a couple offers, but we want everyone’s dogs safe without getting hurt. Let me know if you have any ideas!

 

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Does anyone have a yard, side yard, lot, etc… where a temporary chain link fence dog run could be put for Jeremy’s dogs? A nice lady is offering to buy a structure if a place can be found for it. Ideally this would be somewhere in NW valley.

 

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Here is the pack this morning! They now have sturdy harnesses, name tags and are microchipped! Jeremy was given funds for gas and to get a PO box. 

It takes several days before funds are available, but we are hoping to be looking for a place very, very soon and pay several months upfront as well as utility deposits. Insurance for the van will also be paid this week.

 

 

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Met up with Jeremy and the pack today! The dogs got new Kong leashes with the easy control loop, some Honest Kitchen fish skin treats , a grain free dental bone each and a cooling mat. Jeremy was given a gas card for Kwik Trip and a laptop. The laptop will help him dust off his resume, help me find them a place to live, research jobs or any other assistance opportunities, as well as just help with life in general. I reached out to 9 rental listings in Surprise yesterday and have not heard back from a single one. Please let me know if anyone is aware of a possible rental opportunity in Surprise or Peoria that would allow four very trained and behaved dogs. Please continue to share their story: https://www.gofundme.com/jeremyand4dogs

 

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42 thoughts on “Veteran Chooses Homelessness Over Giving Up Therapy Dogs

    1. Therapy dogs are dogs that are taken into places like retirement homes, hospitals, courts for the benefit of the resident/patient or the latter for victims testifying in a trial, esp. kids.
      Emotional Support Animals are NOT service dogs and do not have public access rights but DO have rights under the Fair Housing Act that allow someone with an ESA to housing in no-pet homes.
      Service Dogs are protected under the ADA for public access and housing and must meet certain criteria in order to qualify, including being trained to mitigate their handler’s disability via specific tasks (such as picking things up, sensing oncoming seizures for epileptics or blood sugar drops in diabetics, guiding the blind, medical alerts, psychiatric dysfunction, mobility/balancing assistance and more). There is no such thing as a “registered” or “certified” service dog because there is no Federal registration or certification in place at this time.
      This man’s dogs are pets, unless any of them meet the definition of above.

  1. How ridiculous that you can’t have your pets.that is his family.I don’t blame him.thank God someone is stepping up and showing compassion to this vet and his only family rather it’s a dog or human.

  2. considering they give their life for us this is a disgrace to our soldiers. He SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO KEEP ALL HIS DOGS. It’s a disgrace that the veterans are being treated with shame from the government. If it wasn’t for the soldiers we wouldn’t have our freedom.

  3. Where is the VA? They need to get him housing and one where he can have his dogs. This is another example of political bs. If he can hold a job, help him find one. No, an non English speaking illegal will get the job, the housing and move people in. A sad state.

    1. Please use the correct term. You probably mean emotional support animals which are covered under the Fair Housing Act, but NOT the ADA for public access. Most situations with ESAs require a doctor’s note, if I’m not mistaken. I know more about SDs than ESAs.

  4. If this weren’t a veteran, if this were just a homeless person, people would be very critical of him not accepting help. The VA is offering to help him, he is declining because their help doesn’t fit his needs. You have to take care of yourself first before you can take care of others, including pets. Give up the dogs, take the assistance from the VA, get a job, THEN get your pets.

  5. That’s what you get for your service to our country! It’s really sad but nice to see so many folks willing to step up. Need more awareness. Maybe someone will come forward with a residence for Jeremy and his fuzzy pack. ? Live long, and love dogs?

  6. I’m homeless with three labs. People tell me to give them up. I have had several false promises on jobs and I am not sure how much longer I can keep feeding them. The tough part is friends have already helped so I can’t ask for their help. Organizations to help the homeless all say the same thing … get rid of your dogs or we wont help you. The state agencies say the same thing. I am glad to see he is fighting for his dogs … mine are not official therapy dogs. But they do more to keep me sane and give me a purpose to keep pushing forward. I do have a gofund … I actually have a decent temp job that will start in a week. But getting to the paycheck three weeks out is questionable. I probably shouldn’t say / ask … but if anyone can help … really dont need much. A couple hundred to keep gas in the truck … food … and cell phone till this job pays. Anything will help. I will pay it forward to a local group helping homeless with dogs or dogs. In fact the job is helping a dog rescue that needs some construction done. They know I’m homeless but not that cash is this tight … I cut my hourly in half to help them afford the work. So if anyone wants info just reply to me here. Thanks and to everyone just remember that life is short … your family whatever that is matters most.

  7. Life With Dogs, PLEASE STOP PERPETUATING THE CONFUSION BETWEEN THERAPY DOGS, EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS AND SERVICE DOGS!!!! THEY EACH HAVE DIFFERENT DEFINITIONS AND ACCESS RIGHTS! EDIT YOUR TITLE ASAP!

  8. Follow where happiness leads you.. that is feeling complete despite of nothing.. where happiness is having these simple wishes.. it is your therapy anyway. Go for it:)

  9. PLEASE GOD YOU FIND A PERSON THAT HAS A HEART YOU SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO KEEP YOUR DOGS THEY ARE YOUR FAMILY . ALL THE PEOPLE THAT BELIEVE IN GOD READ DOG BACKWARDS GOD BLESS YOU ALL

  10. The dog’s are his therapy dogs and his family from being a vet in the wars. I wish you well and God Bless You and your Dogs and Good Luck.

  11. I don’t blame him – those dogs are family and more … besides the fact that dogs are less destructive than most people I know

  12. Therapy dogs are not service dogs. But I have a service dog that is also a therapy dog. If my dog was a pet I would live homeless before giving him up

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