When someone loses their home they are often faced with difficult decisions until they are able to get back on their feet, including surrendering their pets. Jennifer Lengel wants to help change that. With her program Homeless Hounds she is helping care for dogs while their owners search for a new home.
Lengel, who owns a doggy daycare and boarding center in La Crosse, Wisconsin, started the program six months ago when someone asked if she could temporarily house a dog that belonged to a homeless family.
“I found out this situation happens a lot,” said Lengel. “More often than we think.”
In the past six months a total of 27 pets have come into the program, and 16 of those have been reunited with their families. Two eventually had to be given up for adoption and the remaining dogs are still waiting for their owners to get back on their feet.
Typically the program houses 9 to 12 dogs at a time, but there isn’t a set capacity. On average the dogs stay about a month in the program. Owners of the dogs must check in and give an update on their search for work and a new home. While the program doesn’t put a time limit on how long a dog can stay, it isn’t a permanent solution.
The program relies on donations to help care for the dogs. In addition to food, the dogs are kept up to date with vaccinations and are spayed and neutered. When a dog is reunited with their family they go home with a bag of food, a leash, and a collar or harness. For many the reunion is emotional.
“I see a lot of tears,” said Lengel
A client of Lengel’s puppy day care and boarding facility, Puppy Palace, recently nominated Homeless Hounds to be granted one of the 3 wishes from the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Homeless Hounds is one of the 12 finalists for the 3 wishes contest. Voting will open on December 13th and more information on the 3 Wishes contest can be found here.