After they lost their rental to an owner move-in, a family of four resorted to living in their car while they searched for an apartment that would accept them all. All included Carol, Peter, two young adult sons, 16 year old mixed breed dog Canella, and Rocco, an eight year old American Bulldog mix.
Carol first contacted us to learn if we could help her with a muzzle for Rocco. She knew that animal control would likely take him away if he got into trouble with loose dogs while living on the streets with the family. We offered free training to instill enough handler confidence to help them avoid the need for a muzzle and that connection soon turned into a broader commitment to assist the Devias during their housing search.
Thanks to the Devia's willingness to share their story in social media, tens of thousands were exposed to the difficulties of finding a pet friendly rental. They never asked for a thing beyond the muzzle, but still, readers were moved to help them. An outpouring of donations including monetary gifts allowed us to cover their costs for a hotel room and later, a small rented room in a house. Donated food and gas cards kept them going while they poured hundreds of dollars into application fees for rentals, only to be turned down again and again.
We introduced their story in our BLOG , and later updated with some of the frustrations including bedbugs and the high cost of landlord rejection. Their story was picked up by the Huffington Post and then their good news shared by Huffington Post again as well as ABC National News .
Nearly six months later, a property owner who'd also attended our training classes offered the Devias a small apartment and Carol glowed about cooking her first family meal in months.
Media interest in this story attracted a strong reaction from readers. Most showed great empathy, while some expressed bitter criticism, blaming the Devias for their situation. They held their head high though and never complained about their circumstances or their critics. During their ongoing search, Carol continued to bring Rocco to BR's weekly Pit Ed training class where his comfort level with people and other dogs improved so much that he moved on to Canine Good Citizen prep class. He's never needed the muzzle that first brought Carol to knock on our door for help, but we're grateful that she cared enough about her dog's well being to reach out to us as they were getting ready to live on the streets.
Thank you to everyone who helped us provide relief for the Devias during their long search for a home.