Many of us have survival instincts for overcoming obstacles in our lives. Navigating the traffic on our morning commute, or knowing when to comment on the work conference call so we don’t talk over the other person but still get our point heard at the correct moment, or liking and sharing the appropriate content on social media.
For Jennifer living on the streets of Indianapolis for the past 10 years has not been easy. Recently she told us a story about survival instincts she has developed as a homeless person in the city, her obstacles can make ours seem a bit insignificant.
Her home is in the woods near the river where they get creatures and critters that wander into their space. Recently, one of her neighbors had a big stick he was using to scare away a persistent racoon who wouldn’t leave their camp. This neighbor was clearly afraid of the raccoon and his stick wasn’t working so he yelled over to her to get her dog.
Many of the homeless have dogs as a companion but also to help provide protection in the very vulnerable way they live. Jennifer’s dog has become the go to protector for their camp and has a few battle scars to prove his purposefulness.
Jennifer said her dog has scared away many creatures from their camp but raccoons are tougher, they are instinctive and can sense fear, which is what was happening with her neighbor.
Jennifer’s dog ran into the fight and immediately the raccoon wrapped his hands around the dog’s face in a death grip. Jennifer felt so desperate seeing her best friend in despair with no other options she said a prayer that she wouldn’t miss, she took her pocket knife in her hand and stabbed the raccoon in the side. The raccoon let go of the dog and ran off into the woods leaving the camp in peace, for now.
No one wants to hear about an animal being harmed but it is easy to understand that sometimes Jennifer may have to defend her home, her neighbors and even her best friend. No matter the reason why she is homeless she is still a human being and her life matters.
DE Serves is focused on working with individuals like Jennifer to help them transition out of homelessness and to make progress toward economic self-sufficiency.
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