Pup’s love is a healer
WHEN you’re alone and living on the streets it can feel like no one cares.
But a small bundle of fur provided love and hope to Sydney woman Jai Jaru.
“I was struggling ... I was in a cycle of homelessness, unstable housing or hospital,” she says.
Jaru, now 37, ended up homeless at 18 after developing depression in her teenage years. She also suffers from a hearing disorder, making it difficult to hear sounds behind her.
But when she spotted Bella, the mini schnauzer toy poodle, in the window of a pet shop she knew it was meant to be.
“I had my eye on her, I would come by just to check and see if she was sold.”
Before taking on Bella, Jaru prepared for the dog and put money aside for desexing, food and bedding.
“I didn’t want to do anything that would harm a dog,” she says.
Celebrating their sevenyear anniversary, Jaru can’t imagine life without her best friend, who has saved her life more than once.
“My depression was so bad at one point, but Bella was there and reminded me that I had something to live for.
“We have a give/give relationship. I give her love and food, but she gives a lot to me, she’s my support.”
Jaru’s anxiousness about her hearing has also been helped with Bella now “onguard” at her side, providing helpful yaps when someone is close.
Each month the pair visit the Pets in the Park charity, a vet volunteering group, that helps with vaccines and pet care. “People make assumptions if you’re on the streets you don’t have the same love or care for pets … being a pet owner has made me want to be more and do more.” Jaru is now in a safe and stable long-term home with Bella. See Pets in the Park: petsinthepark.org.au
Jai Jaru’s dog Bella has been by her side during hard times on the streets. Picture: Carly Earl