Deborah and Jonathan Vaughn chose homelessness over giving up their beloved cat, Wubdabewy.
According to Dallas News, the couple recently relocated to Texas to be closer to family. However, they had no means for lodging and shelters, refused admittance because of their cat.
Wubdabewy, pronounced like “rub the belly” if said in baby talk, is a cherished family member, for one thing. But furthermore, he provides critical emotional support for Jonathan, a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and a recovering addict.
Felines, of course, provide judgment-free compassion and companionship.
For the Vaughns, giving up their tuxedo-colored domestic shorthair was a deal-breaker, even if it meant going without a roof over their heads. They pitched a tent and kept Wubdabewy.
Downtown Dallas Inc. Stepped Up To Help
One day, Jonathan saw a woman interacting with fellow homeless veterans outside a resource center. Her warmth and compassion led him to believe she might be someone who he could trust to help with their situation. As it turned out, he was correct.
When Samantha Moran, Assistant Manager of Homeless Outreach for Downtown Dallas Inc., heard the couple’s situation, she knew she could help. Moran’s team uses an approach called “relate and refer” to connect vulnerable citizens with essential services.
“They were willing and wanting to do anything and everything to get off the streets,” Moran explained to Dallas News. “It was just the barrier of their cat.”
Homelessness & No-Pet Policies
No-Pet policies enforced by shelters is an obstacle Moran’s team comes up against often.
Dallas News states that it “can be the difference between someone getting back on their feet, or a life on the streets.” This is something that Downtown Dallas Inc. actively finds solutions for by partnering with animal welfare agencies like the SPCA.
Such solutions include providing temporary fostering for animals.
While a homeless family or individual gets their feet under them, their beloved pet is examined, vaccinated, and kept safe by a foster. Updates from the foster are provided, visitation is allowed, and eventually, everyone is reunited.
“Keeping pets in homes with the people they love is one of our pillars,” says Maura Davies, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the SPCA of Texas.
“So, when Samantha mentioned, ‘There’s a family with a cat,’ several of us said, ‘Say no more,’ before she could finish her sentence,” Davies continued. “A bunch of folks here at the SPCA of Texas went to work.”
The Vaughns Did The Work & Reunited With Wubdabewy
Taking full advantage of the opportunity, the Vaughns attended classes, took part in training and counseling, and were introduced to housing resources for veterans.
All the while, they kept tabs on Wubdabewy.
Then, just before Thanksgiving, they left homelessness in the past and acquired their own apartment. Finally, they were able to reunite with their beloved cat.
Dallas News reports that the Vaughns are hopeful that sharing their story will encourage others in a similar situation to “put in the work.” They want everyone to have a home and a life-changing story.
“God bless everyone who has made this possible,” says Jonathan. “This is going to be home.”
“These partnerships are everything,” Moran urges.
“I can only do so much. The shelters can only do so much. It’s a collaboration of everybody working together for the ultimate ‘happy-ending story’ of getting these people stable. It’s really important that we all work together to serve these people that are in need.”
If you’d like to help people and pets too, here’s a complete list of everyone who came together to help the Vaughns recover from homelessness and reunite with their cat. Volunteers are always appreciated.
- SPCA of Texas, 214-742-7722
- Downtown Dallas Inc., 214-744-1270
- The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, 214-671-2067
- Dallas Life, 214-421-1380
Would you refuse a home if it meant you had to give up your cat? Are you happy to see the Vaughns getting the help they need to stay with their beloved kitty? Let us know in the comments below!