Raising Arizona's Homeless Children with My Canine Companion (Commentary)
Social Work 2010, July
Debra J. White
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Homeless children face problems besides severing community ties and changing schools. They often have to give up the family pet. In some cases, family members or neighbors step up and care for the pet while the family finds permanent housing. Other times, the pet is surrendered to a shelter. This commentary describes pet therapy through Gabriel's Angels with homeless children at a family shelter in Mesa, Arizona. On January 6, 1994, a car hit me while I was walking my two dogs after work. Disabling brain and other injuries ended my social work career. After a lengthy recovery, I reinvented myself as a writer, animal shelter volunteer, and pet therapist. Now I teach kindness, compassion, and empathy to Arizona's homeless children with my dog, Luke, a wiry-haired mutt I adopted in 1999. We're part of Gabriel's Angels, whose philosophy is to break the cycle of violence in abused and at-risk children through pet therapy.