Connecting with children in underserved neighborhoods
The children in the neighborhoods where Charm City Companions works inspire our team. When we pull onto the block, sometimes dozens of children of all ages, flock to the spay/neuter transport van bombarding us with all kinds of stories and propositions. “I’ll give you $5 for that cat…with the cage.” or “I’m gonna have 12 dogs and 17 cats when I have my own house.” Many of the kids just want to see the animals and ask questions, giving us a stage for sharing information about the importance of vaccinations and spaying or neutering pets. It’s through these children that we’ve been able to build long-term relationships with many pet families.
One of our favorite, young pet advocates is Harmony. She is eight and believes she’s in charge of her grandmom’s dogs. Harmony is precocious and at times ‘tests’ all the grown-ups around her, but she has extended our reach into her grandmom’s home. Our relationship started with a series of phone calls from Harmony, telling us to call her now! She left 13 messages one day, each no less than 60 seconds.
When we spoke to Harmony’s grandmother, Ms. Lisa, we found out one of her four dogs was pregnant. We were able to help by neutering her three male dogs and planned to have Snowball spayed after she had the litter and was finished nursing. Sadly, Snowball died two days after delivering three puppies. Ms. Lisa had no idea what to do with the puppies and was feeding them cow’s milk. After two of the puppies died, Harmony told her grandmom she wanted to call Charm City Companions. Harmony left another series of messages telling us the full story, and again, commanding us to call her immediately. Since then we’ve been able to support Ms. Lisa and Harmony by providing in-home veterinary care and guidance, food for them to nurse their orphaned puppy, puppy shots and four months later, Harmony has called to remind us she needs to get her puppy, Ruffy, neutered.
We’ve also had other calls from people who’ve said Harmony told them to call. We hope when she’s older she’ll officially volunteer for Charm City Companions, although Harmony is already doing an admirable job for animals in her neighborhood.