Dogs make the homeless 'feel human when society dehumanises them', says director

Homeless man and dog

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The director of a series of films about the relationship between homeless people and their dogs has said it is a "massive misconception" that the animals are kept to help with begging.

Roland Kennedy, who has directed a documentary called 'Home is where their dog is', about the reality of keeping pets while homeless, said: "We all notice it walking around the city - a huge number of homeless people have dogs.

"There's a massive misconception that this is to do with begging and it's quite clear that it's about companionship."



The director told talkRADIO's Eamonn Holmes that the bond formed between man and dog was "invaluable", and one that often helped people struggling with addiction get on the road to recovery.

"It's a routine, it gives a structure, it's a responsibility and it's a regular contact with another living sentient being," he said.


'The cynicism towards it is ludicrous'



WATCH: Documentary subject Wully shares his story.

Mr Kennedy has partnered with animal charity Mayhew to make the films, which are published on their website, and cited an example of how the charity had stepped in to help one of the subjects of his docu-series.

"In the scenario of Wully and his dogs, he had a big alcohol problem, and Mayhew do this programme where they foster the dog for a few months until the human and animal can be reunited," he explained.

"The sort of cynicism towards it is ludicrous - it's an invaluable relationship to these people."



Homelessness in the UK is continuing to rise, with government figures showing that the number of people sleeping rough has more than doubled since 2010.

"I think homelessness is a terrible indictment of where our society is at right now," Mr Kennedy added.

"It almost takes an animal to make them feel human, when so much of society dehumanises them."