My Dog is My Home is a national organization dedicated to preserving the human-animal bond in circumstances of homelessness. Due to a general "no pets allowed" rule within social services, people experiencing homelessness are often asked to decide between their companion animals or shelter. We don't believe this is an ultimatum anyone should have to face. 

 

OUR Mission

My Dog is My Home's mission is to increase access to shelter and housing for people experiencing homelessness with companion animals. By securing their ability to maintain their most important relationships and find adequate shelter, we ensure every family’s right to build a home.

 

Our Vision

We envision equitable access to home for all people and all families.


A dog gives you somebody to talk to—I mean my dog is my home—he keeps me warm when it’s cold and gives me somebody to talk to when I’m walking down the highway.
— Anonymous, Capacity for Survival: Exploring Strengths of Homeless Street Youth

How we work towards our mission

By using a capacity building approach, we promote the creation of systematic, macro-level responses to homelessness and animal companionship. Our activities normally fall within one of the following categories: research, technical assistance and consultation, and training and education.

Our Programs:

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Tell Stories.

Expertise isn’t just about knowing the data and trends. It’s also about the lived experience. The people who have the most to gain have the most to share and are our greatest sources of information.


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Share Data.

Community collaboration is key to change. Open source and access to information are integral to any effective social justice movement.


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Change Systems.

Systematic approaches that are creative and grounded in evidence are not only possible but necessary to address complex and intersecting social problems.


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Change Lives.

Animals and people share a social environment. Helping animals helps people, and helping people helps animals.


I feel grateful that I have had the opportunity to work with My Dog Is My Home. When organizations come to me with questions that I am unable to address about co-sheltering and preserving the human-animal bond, I feel confident knowing that I can connect them with My Dog Is My Home. My Dog Is My Home’s mission is an important one, and it will take a diverse and interdisciplinary team like theirs to make it a reality.
— Rebecca Poplawski, LMSW Program Coordinator, University of Tennessee Knoxville, Veterinary Social Work

OUR IMPACT*

Tell Stories:

  • Our 6 short films have been viewed 2,688 times (that we know of!).

  • Our multi-media exhibition has traveled to 6 unique locations since 2016, reaching an audience of at least 500 people.

SHARE DATA:

  • We shared data collected from 4 community service fair locations with the local providers with whom we partnered to serve 70 households (with 86 animals between them).

  • 5 homeless service organizations received a customized workforce development training on co-sheltering practices. 55 employees' learning was assessed, anonymized, and reported back to management with further training recommendations.

  • We have partnered with 2 large homeless shelters to assess the behavior training needs for residents with dogs. The assessment will be used for tracking and outcomes purposes, which will be reported on publicly through our website.

  • 1 emotional support animal program evaluation manuscript is being prepared for publication in an open access journal. The study uses a case study approach to highlight strengths and weaknesses of the emotional support animal protocol of an anonymized permanent supportive housing provider with whom we partnered for the program evaluation.

  • 12 participants of our dog behavior training program tracked for progress in animal handling and better group living behavior.

CHANGE SYSTEMS:

  • 1 government department partnership has been developed to provide consultation and technical assistance regarding county-wide homeless services animal accommodations policy.

  • Advisement and technical assistance provided to 5 emergency and bridge housing providers in a county funded grant program awarded to improve animal accommodations.

  • 63 homeless shelter workers were trained in co-sheltering practices.

  • 2 policy recommendations were submitted to major metropolitan city/county governments departments regarding homeless services' animal policies.

CHANGE LIVES:

  • 2 dog behavior training programs for homeless shelter residents with animals are being implemented to promote safe and effective dog handling in shared shelter spaces.

  • 12 human-animal households are participating in the dog behavior training at two large homeless shelters.

 

*Last updated July 2018.