WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Allyn Sweet lost her Mount Airy home in June 2016, but she was more concerned about what would happen to her six pets.
With a lack of pet-friendly homeless shelters and the costly prices of pet-friendly hotels, Sweet decided to sleep outside with her animals.
“The shelter system is set up for people with families," said Sweet, "not people with pets."
She spent the summer camping in a tent and with the help of an acquaintance has taken shelter in a hotel through the end of the month.
But colder weather is coming and she is hoping to find something a little more permanent.
Sweet and her six pets – two dogs, two cats, a parrot and a fish – are hoping to raise enough money to buy an RV before the cold weather kicks in.
Sweet says due to her depressive disorder, she’s unable to work and her disability stipend wasn’t enough to keep up with rent and food expenses for her, her 20-year-old daughter and their pets.
Cindy Alderton saw Sweet’s YouCaring page on her Facebook feed and just knew she had to help and reached out to Sweet. She’s since been helping spread the word in hopes of getting Sweet and RV as soon as possible.
“We are getting into really cold weather and I literally cry when I think that she and her daughter and pets might have to suffer through the cold in a tent,” said Alderton. “[Sweet] strikes me as a ‘glass half-full’ kind of girl… every day I wake up hoping that will be the day she finds some good, positive news.”
She said a homeless shelter would force Sweet to board her animals, which would be too expensive for her and she prefers to keep them with her anyway.
“They’re a huge support in terms of my mental health,” Sweet said. “Some days I don’t want to get out of bed, but I have to walk them to take care of them. I need them.”
When others ask Sweet how she can possibly choose her pets over a shelter or affordable housing, she said, “I know a lot of people choose to re-home pets if they’re in this situation, but it’s a personal choice. It’s a mental health choice.”
“There’s no back up plan for me right now. I’m running out of ideas,” added Sweet.
You can help Allyn Sweet raise money for an RV for her and her pets by sharing or donating to her YouCaring campaign.