The very best things happen when two non-profit organizations come together to help their “clients.” Such was the case when two organizations — Austin Street Center and Operation Kindness — held a private get together for homeless two- and four-legged types. Open arms were filled with tail waggers. Here’s a report from the field and we apologize for the quality of the photos. Unfortunately, the pooches were just too happy to hold still:
“On Tuesday, August 18, the homeless men and women at Austin Street Center were visited by volunteers of the four-legged variety. Along with their pals from the team at Operation Kindness, pups Rosemary, Merlin, and Little Bear spent the afternoon soaking up plenty of love—and gave plenty back.
“Austin Street Center and Operation Kindness share a goal of keeping the most vulnerable off the streets, so when Austin Street’s Director of Operations, Laura Gorecki, found out that her favorite place to volunteer was looking for a way to give back, she knew the Operation Kindness team would be welcomed with open arms at Austin Street.
“Laura said, ‘I just know how much joy dogs can bring, especially to folks who are facing difficult times. It felt like a natural match.’
“Daniel Roby, executive director of Austin Street Center, said, ‘As we work to create a healing environment for our guests, we recognize the unique ability of animals to provide a therapeutic element in helping some of the most isolated members of our society, rediscover what a healthy relationship looks like.’
“Operation Kindness also served lunch and dropped off donations of clothing, shoes, and toiletries they had collected at their shelter.
“Jim Hanophy, Operation Kindness CEO, says, ‘It was very touching to see people light up when they interacted with the dogs—they told me stories about their dogs, some of which were sad, but overall they really enjoyed getting to share their memories.’
“The Operation Kindness team had a wonderful time, and plans to return to Austin Street later in the year—this time with kittens.’
“Jim concluded, ‘At Operation Kindness, we are so grateful for the support we get from the community, and we believed that it was important for us to give back to the community in some way. What better way to do so than sharing the unconditional love that our animals have with the fine folks who benefit from the support of the Austin Street Center.’”
* Photos provided by Austin Street Center