The Story of Robert and Jaxx: understanding what living homeless in the Snoqualmie Valley can be like

Recently, Jennifer Kirk – Snoqualmie Valley Shelter Services Director (SVSS) – shared a story with us. She said it is a story many in the community don’t often get the chance to hear about the clients they serve.

Jennifer commented, “It really gets to the heart of what living homeless can be like.”

The story is about Robert & Jaxx, who in the short time they have been at the SVSS Winter Shelter, have left a big impression on many people.

Jennifer wanted shared their story and said even as she typed it up to for the SVSS Facebook page, she “felt emotions welling up in her throat.”

The story of Robert & Jaxx, as shared by Jennifer Kirk

“Robert came to us a couple of weeks back. He appeared anxiety-ridden and somewhat defeated. A gentle man with a very sweet personality, he explained that his 6-year old dog, Jaxx, had been placed with King County Animal Control while Robert was receiving an infusion at the hospital. Living in a building not meant for habitation, someone called during Robert’s absence and had Jaxx detained.

It quickly became obvious that our very first step needed to be reuniting this man with his dog. So, we hopped in the agency van and headed to Kent. On our drive, I learned a lot about Robert and I listened to his story. I learned about his family, his disabilities, his lifestyle, his love of cooking. He was ready to burst from excitement at seeing his dog, but was also terribly worried that Jaxx would think he had abandoned him. He talked a million miles an hour, anticipating everything that could go wrong.

Seeing the two of them kiss and hug is something I won’t easily forget and it took everything in me not to ugly-cry right there in the KCAC waiting room. And, thanks to the Client Services funds this community has raised for our agency, we were able to cover the $115 fee to release him from the care of Animal Control. Jaxx whined a sweet cry the majority of the ride back and couldn’t get enough loving.

He’s settled into our shelter since returning “home” and has quickly become loved by all. He is as sweet and well-natured as his owner, and has come to love sleeping next to another guest of ours. Every night, he hops up on his mat, one that’s pushed right up against hers, and falls asleep. Robert jokes that he has always had a love for the ladies.

These are the stories and experiences many don’t have an opportunity to see first hand. Stories about the vulnerability of living homeless and the criminalization that often occurs. Because I have a home and a door I can lock, no one will ever remove my loved ones from my care while I’m having a medical procedure done.”

Snoqualmie Valley Shelter Services is made up of community members who have a passion for helping those experiencing homelessness and poverty and connect them with the care and services they need. They provide emergency shelter, social services, and connections to permanent housing. SVSS believes deeply in the power of relationships and work to meet people exactly where they are.

The SVCC Winter Shelter is operating out of the Sallal Grange in North Bend, 12912 432nd Ave SE, until March 16th. The SVCC Resource Center is open year-round.

To learn more about, donate or volunteer, visit Snoqualmie Valley Shelter Service: www.svshelterservices.org.

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