You’d be amazed at how many press releases we get promoting the darndest things.
Just read some of the verbiage from this press release promoting a holiday getaway for dogs:
â€œPooch Hotel Santa Monicaâ€ , we’re told, is a â€œfive starâ€ fitness center for dogs, complete with poolside cabanas, â€œpalaceâ€ suites, a spa, perfectly manicured grass, all enclosed by a white picket fence.
Amenities include DogTV, a custom swimming pool complete with floating dog beds, â€œPoochberry facials,â€ massage, aromatherapy, â€œpaw-dicuresâ€ and â€“ get this â€“ a 6-foot tall fire hydrant!
Pooch Hotel is a â€œluxury, best-in-class hotel that just might be nicer than a human getaway,â€ we’re told. This is where dogs receive â€œcelebrity treatment.â€
Now, maybe this gives some of you a last-minute gift idea, but it personally makes me sad: It’s true what they say in their press release: This place surely is nicer than many humans get to experience.
It has been reported in the news lately that homelessness is down, especially among veterans. The Cal State veteran retirement home on the VA campus is finally starting to staff up â€“ probably the beneficiary of Prop. 30 passing â€“ which will lead to filling the heretofore mostly empty rooms. Hooray!
And the VA campus will, by 2015, see an upgrade of Building 209, which will house 55 fairly down-and-out homeless veterans on the road to recovery.
This is all good news, but it’s hard not to think of homeless veterans as belonging to a special class. Many of these folks would probably be OK today had they not gone off to war, getting shot up in the process.
We can never forget that they did this for US. Sure, they knew the risks, but I doubt a single one ever expected to spend the rest of his or her life emotionally or physically disabled.
Their current condition is likely an offshoot of PTSD or some other mental health impairment that was brought about in a combat situation. And now, in an attempt to self-medicate, many have turned to drugs or alcohol. As they spiral downward, they end up on the streets.
This is an exceptionally tough problem, without a doubt. Many homeless are quite paranoid about coming in from the cold â€“ and resist legitimate help.
Robert Rosebrock, a Brentwood veterans activist, can be seen every Sunday in front of the VA gates, protesting what he and â€œThe Old Veterans Guardâ€ view as a lack of help for homeless veterans.
He points out that a tent city on the VA campus could provide a lot more shelter a lot faster â€“ and at a fraction of the cost â€“ than the rehabbing of Building 209 ever will.
Robert Rosebrock is kind of a pain, I know this first-hand. Once a year or so, he and I practically come to blows.
But agitators for social progress often are a pain. At the time, abolitionists, suffragettes, civil rights activists and, in recent years, those pushing for equality for gays or animal rights â€“ have all â€œirritated their wayâ€ toward a more just outcome. Over time, the new way of doing things simply becomes absorbed as conventional wisdom.
Just as people now have a hard time believing women couldn’t vote or black people were in chains, maybe, soon enough, people will be horrified that so many homeless veterans â€“ the men and women who fought for our country â€“ were left out on the streets for so long.
I look forward to the day when I get a press release showing that we have achieved housing and treatment for all homeless veterans who need it â€“ and not just a few lucky ones who eventually find their way into Building 209.
For now, we’ll continue to sort through an in-box full of press releases for dog spas and other such things. I don’t mean to depress anyone during the holidays. And I’m all for happy dogs. But during the holidays, we all need to take a moment to remember those far less fortunate than ourselves â€“ and our pets, even.