The Daily Pip

Promoting rescue, adoption and second chances for dogs, cats, bunnies, and their peeps

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ghosts Among Us


Ghost was found alone and hungry in an alley in Chicago. Friendly from the start, he was definitely not feral. He did not have a chip and there were no signs that anyone was looking for him. Like thousands of other abandoned dogs and cats, Ghost was probably a throw away pet left behind to fend for himself on the city streets. 

But Ghost had other plans. He chose his humans carefully; walked right up to them as if he had known them forever, helped himself to their chicken sandwich, and adopted them on the spot.


Ghost is one of the lucky ones. He has a family who loves him, showers him with affection, feeds and shelters him to the best of their ability. They belong together, care for each other, and share a bond so strong it might move mountains. Ghost and his family are also homeless.  


John, Sarah, and Ghost live in a tent at night and spend their days panhandling in downtown Chicago. I first noticed them on my way to the train each night. Ghost sleeps calmly in Sarah's lap, belly up, as thousands of commuters rush by, cabs and buses rattle and honk while trains screech in the distance. Remarkably, Ghost remains unimpressed and unfazed by the chaos around him.

Ghost remains on a leash and harness at all times even though it is clear he would never stray far from his family. While this is certainly not an ideal situation for Ghost or his humans (especially with winter approaching), this is a cat who loves and is loved. He was abandoned and then rescued by a family who does their best to care for him under difficult, if not impossible circumstances. And such a beautiful and rare bond should be celebrated. 



I asked Sarah how people respond to them. Many are kind, some indifferent and a few cruel and judgmental. People bring food and toys and even a carrier so he can now travel safely on public transportation. Several folks have demanded that they give up Ghost, take him to a shelter, or simply surrender him immediately to the nearest stranger. Although I am sure they meant well, these suggestions are not helpful in this situation. 

Ghost has a family just not a home, but in this case, his family is his home. Is this situation ideal? No, not for Ghost or his humans. Is it better than the thousands of abandoned dogs and cats who die alone on the streets or in shelters every day? Absolutely. 


When I asked Sarah what they need and how others can help, she answered without hesitation - I need a job. She has office experience and in the past has worked in collection departments as well as in other business environments. She's been looking for a long time but without a home base or regular access to a computer it is challenging. She hopes to eventually go back to school and maybe even some day work with animals.

And so, I'm putting it out there into the universe ...if you have a Chicago area business or organization who would like some good karma and want to help keep this family safe and together please email me at thedailypip(at)gmail(dot)com. 

I share this story as a celebration of the strength and hope of the human animal bond even in the most extreme situations. Please do not make assumptions or cast judgment on this family. As the old saying goes, don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in their shoes
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74 comments

Oz theTerrier said...

A sad and heartwarming story all at the same time. I sure hope the family can find work and a permanent place to live. I am thankful that Ghost has found a family who will love and care for him even in their dire circumstances.
Oz

Madi and Mom said...

My goodness Ghost is a lucky fella having and receiving love each day. I sure do hope Sarah can find a job...
Hugs madi and mom

Two French Bulldogs said...

Ghost is such a beautiful kitty
Snorts
Lily & Edward

Inger said...

What a wonderful tribute to a loving and caring couple and a very blessed kitty. The photos of him will make this Ghost stay in my mind and memory forever. Please keep us updated on this family and if there are any responses from any businesses. I will worry about them when winter comes to Chicago.

Lola The Rescued Cat said...

Mommy is crying and needs a tissue. What a moving post! We will share this on our FB page and we want to make a donation. Please let us know how. (lolatherescuedcat@gmail.com).

Marg said...

Oh goodness, that is such a great story. I am so glad you told this story and it needs to be passed around. It would be so great to get on something like the Ellen DeGeneres. I sure want to help anyway I can. I don't have any money right now but will in a week or so. Am emailing you right now.

Bocci said...

Thank you so much, Kristen, for writing such a beautiful post. Ghost is a gorgeous and sweet kitty who has found his forever family. Here's hoping that one or both get a job. I will give your post shout-outs and contact you directly soon.

By the way, as of this Monday, I'm no longer working for the Puccini Foundation....so I'm looking for additiopnal employment..

Cathy Keisha said...

What a special blog post! Ghost is a beautiful cat. I hope this family’s luck turns around so Luck can receive medical care when he needs it and get a roof over his head. Are there shelters in Chicago that allow cats for the winter?

Random Felines said...

wish we knew someone in Chicago....but we are sending goods vibes - these are the people that need the help the most.

Jans Funny Farm said...

What a beautiful white cat! And what a beautiful though sad story. We will share this on FB even though we don't know anyone in Chicago. Homeless people love their pets just as much as anyone! To tell them to give Ghost away is cruel. We will be praying Ghost AND his humans will soon have a home and a job.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Bravo bravo for the courage of this story!!! I am adding Ghost and co to my POTP booklet with the prayer for work and accommodation for them all... Blessings to all... YAM-aunty xxx

Earl Lover said...

He is absolutely stunning!

Austin Towers said...

I read about Ghost on another blog but didn't know the whole story! I am so moved by this and will share far and wide ! Thank you for your love and concern for this family xxx

Savannah's Paw Tracks said...

I will be in touch. Ghost needs sun screen as he is in the sun far too much and all white. Skin cancer is in his future if they don't get him into shade as well as some feline sun screen. I ant to make sure they can purchase it for him. Speak soon

Cheri Wildcatwoods said...

Having nine white cats myself I was drawn to the story. I will Tweet and post on my cat pages. I do hope people will come together to help this family.

Kitty Cat Chronicles said...

Wow... I am deeply touched by this story. How very sweet and sad all at the same time. I would like to make a donation. Please tell me how - kittycatchronicles at gmail dot com. I will share this as well.

Julie said...

What a gorgeous cat Ghost is
Paws crossed fur this special family
Loves and licky kisses
Princess Leah xxx

Bouncing Bertie said...

Here's hoping Ghost and his adopted family find a stable home and future very soon.
Paws crossed.
Toodle pip!
Bertie,

The Island Cats said...

Thank you for sharing Ghost's and his humans' story. We purr mega purrs that Ghost's humans can find the help they need.

BoSoxAmy said...

I shared. I hope Ghost's family can get back on their feet soon.

BoSoxAmy said...

I shared. I hope Ghost's family can get back on their feet soon.

Tails from the Foster Kittens said...

Thank you for making a difference.

Dolly theDoxie said...

Are you familiar with Chicago Area Pet Business Networking Group? I know some of the people and have been to one event, couldn't make the last one because I was out of town. Anyway, a lot of them are entrepreneurs that are sometimes looking for a little help, maybe you could try them. I lost my job in 2008 and have never worked full time again, I would probably be on the streets right now if I didn't have a husband with a good job. Working downtown for all the years I got very jaded about panhandlers but not all of them are pros like this family. I always worried about the pets when they had one too, but Ghost is lucky to have them.

Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady said...

What is sad to me is that many of the judgmental people are more concerned about Ghost's welfare then the people who love him. That is terrible. As a society (the same things happen in Canada) we need better supports for people and animals and people with animals who are homeless.

Bella Roxy & Macdui said...

What wonderful people. Down but not out....yet. Hope they can find a stable home soon, just like the one they're providing for Ghost!

Idaho PugRanch said...

Prayers for this family that they can get the help they need.
hugs
Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

da tabbies o trout towne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
da tabbies o trout towne said...

oopz....we forgetted ta add....

...we troo lee hope every thing ternz round for ghost & his peepulz & we hope itz soon ...... & for de veree best oh de best ♥♥♥ purrhaps if de local tee & vee stay shuns, ray dee oh stay shunz... ore news paperz hurd or saw thiz storee...it wood help sum how ??

Jackie Bouchard said...

I hope the universe hears and helps this woman find a job. What a hard situation. I'm glad they have each other. People can be so cruel! Thanks for sharing their story. Come on, Universe! Do your thing!

Robin Mudge said...

This is a perfect example of houseless, not homeless. I wish I had some way to help, but I'm not even in Chicago. Humans are horribly judgmental creatures. I'm glad that Ghost has found his family. I will keep them all in my prayers.
-Purrs from your friends at www.PlayfulKitty.net

Murphy said...

That is pretty dang neat that you posted this and we hope it produces results!! Ghost is handsome and that blue looks good!

Your Pals,

Murphy & Stanley

Chef Sasha said...

What a beautiful and special kitty!! I will cross paws and hope for the best for the family and Ghost.

Ziggy Out!!

Millie and Walter said...

We hope Ghosts mom can find a job soon. We're sure it meant a lot to them that you took the time to talk to them and listen to their story.

Sometimes, Cats Herd You said...

What a special story. We are purring that this helps Ghost's family find a little assistance to get them safely together through the upcoming winter.

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

You made our Mom cry. So sad and so beautiful all at the same time.Lots of prayers headed to Ghost and his family.

Woos - Ciara and Lightning and Mom

Sully said...

Prayers for Ghost and his family.

Aroo to you,
Sully

lyon de clarasvals said...

Thanks for befriending this family. I shared on FB, I pray all our shares end up in the right place.

meowmeowmans said...

What an amazing story. We are purring and praying for Ghost's family.

Tweedles -- that's me said...

I am sending prayer too- for Ghosts family!
love
tweedles

Mitch and Molly said...

What a loving story. We hope that Miss Sarah gets her job!

Love ya lots♥
Mitch and Molly

Mark Muller said...

I hope for a job for Sarah and I cross my paws for her and John an Ghost. And I will share this post, maybe it helps to find a way and a job...

Jenna,Mark Drady said...

Oh my dog! What a story! He is so gorgeous too!
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

stellaroselong said...

We are going to share this story on our facebook page also...you just never know what could happen. Bless their hearts for having so much compassion even though they themselves are facing a hard road. That is hard to find nowadays.....stella rose
ps. thank you for posting this.

KB Bear said...

I hope your message gets to someone who can help. I can tell how loved and cared for Ghost is... I think for all our pets, it's true that their people are their home - not the physical house where they live. You are a good soul to do this post and look for help for Ghost's family.

Jean Dion said...

This is beautiful. Thank you for stopping and talking and reaching out. So many people treat the homeless among us as invisible entities, walking by as if they don't exist. You've made a difference here.

Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

Melissa, Mudpie and Angel Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and Meows) said...

What an amazing story. I pray that this precious little family gets the help that they need quickly.

Amy Boyer said...

Best wishes to Ghost and his family. I am one who thinks homeless people can be wonderful pet parents, even in the face of all the challenges and obstacles. (There's a lovely book called "Timbuktu" that drove that point home for me.) I hope a job materializes for their family.

onespoiledcat said...

Ghost is gorgeous.........and bless his homeless family for taking on the additional challenge of feeding him in addition to themselves on whatever they can panhandle every day. Life is so tough on the streets - they are doing the best they can but we are sending BIG PRAYERS that Miss Sarah can find a job and that these three souls will have permanent shelter and food forever and ever...............together.

Hugs, Sammy

Janet Keefe said...

What a beautiful cat and such a beautiful story. I agree, Ghost's family is his home. I hope they can all find a physical home soon. Sharing.
Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

M. K. Clinton said...

Thank you for sharing this story. A few years ago we visited New Orleans and was surprised at the homeless people that had dogs on the street with them. It was there that I came to the realization that when it looks like you have lost everything, having the love of your pet gives you a reason to carry on.

Mishkat said...

Sending many purrs and good thoughts to Ghost and his human! We are not in Chicago, but would love to make a small contribution if appropriate - please let us know.

Angel Ginger Jasper said...

A beautiful kitty and a beautiful family to do this together. I so hope someone steps up and gives this family a chance of a better life together.

Cathy Keisha said...

Can you keep us updated on Ghost and his family? Many are pulling for them and sharing.

Hannah and Lucy said...

This has made Mum cry to think of them living as they have to. We are from the UK and do not know where they are but we would like to have sent them a few dollars to help out especially as winter is drawing closer. Does anyone know if we will be able to do this?
Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

Alasandra, The Cats and Dogs said...

Oh, we so wish we could help Ghost and his family. Especially as we know it will be a lot colder in Chicago than it is here, this winter. We has our paws crossed that somehow some way Ghost and his family we have a warm shelter this winter. Purrs of love and hope.

Sweet William The Scot said...

Bless you for stopping. So many just keep going and never notice those in need. Family is your home and definitely Ghost is loved. Praying that your post gets attention and that Sarah gets the job she needs so that they can have a warm place to stay this winter. Keep us up-to-date please. These lives matter.
Thanks for being a friend
Sweet William The Scot

LP said...

We are glad you stopped to listen to their story when so many others look the other way; often because they sincerely don't know how to help or know what to say. We hope someone else hears their story and can help Sarah and John find jobs so that they in turn can continue to care for Ghost. Our thoughts are with this family in the hopes that they will be off the street and into a warm, secure home as quickly as is possible.

the critters in the cottage xo

Brian said...

Ghost sure found a very, very special family.

jmuhj said...

I encounter the fallout of the economic crisis every day in my online advocating for cats in need of loving forever homes in NY and elsewhere. SO MANY are "surrendered" because their families are homeless, evicted, arrested...the list goes on. We don't even always get to know the reasons. But I DO KNOW that there are many, many people and families whose hearts have been broken because they have had to give up their beloved feline family members. I am one of these people. And I have seen this situation in L.A., where I was born and have lived most of my life. A society that does not protect and provide for its most innocent, blameless and vulnerable FIRST AND FOREMOST is a society on the bottom. And no one can tell me there isn't enough. THERE IS. The billionaires who delight in rubbing our faces in their *expletive deleted* by shoving it down our throats how much they spend on their clothes, their cars, their houses, their vacations, their NAIL POLISH, for heaven's sake, have more than they will ever know what to do with. But never enough to spare for those who are suffering and dying every day. I'm not political -- neither major party has proven itself worthy of my vote or support -- but I am imploring those reading this, who care, to get involved on a grass-roots level with organizations doing positive things for animals, such as Alley Cat Allies, Best Friends Animal Society, and smaller, localized rescues, sanctuaries, shelters, even ACC's. DO SOMETHING POSITIVE. HELP. PLEASE.

Sxanuxa Kitsinaka said...

Gosh! There, but for family, go I.
Nellie's Mommy

♥Mona + Prissy + Angel Weenie♥ said...

My heart goes not to this family and a true family it is based on love. I wish them the best.
They are in Mommy's prayers and all our paws are crossed for them.

Mommy's girls

The Green Dogs said...

Amazing story. I wish both humans and cat all the luck in world. :)

Jo's World said...

Such a beautiful Ghost! My prayer is a job will materialize soon and with it a comfy little apartment where they can all live together. I, like others can send just a little money this month (thanks to our Property Taxes) and a little more next month if someone will let me know who is gathering donations.

FiveSibesMom said...

Ghost is so beautiful...and what a story! I think it's wonderful you took the time to not only notice, but get to know this family with a huge heart and share their story. I hope that a job offer comes soon followed by a warm, safe home for Ghost and his family.

K E Mallory said...

Thank you for sharing this heart warming and also sad story. Every living being deserves respect and a chance to peruse happiness.
I pray the family and Ghost find it.

Ruby said...

Oh, this is so bittersweet. I am sendin' lots of prayers and keepin' my paws crossed that things can look up for Ghost and his family.
Kisses,
Ruby ♥

Kerry said...

Thank you for this post! I work right on the corner where Sarah sits and have given cat food and human food to her a couple of times and have spoken with her about her circumstances. As a cat owner, I can't imagine giving up my pet even in the most dire circumstances and ghost is so amazingly well behaved. Please let me know what, if anything, additional I can do to help. Sarah told me you took photos of ghost and that she almost cried when she saw them. So happy to know there are others out there and that she knows that she is not just alone and forgotten.

The Daily Pip said...

Hi Kerry, Please email me at thedailypip(at)gmail(dot)com and I will fill you in. Thanks!

Joanna Szarapo said...

Hi Jo's World. Please email thedailypip(at)gmail(dot)com and they will fill you in about everything. Thank you!

Siku Marie, White Dog said...

You are simply awesome! And this post is so spot on. And we are using our strongest White Dog energies to ask the Universe to bless this family.

Timmy Tomcat said...

We love this story and will share it to help spread the word

sprinkles said...

This is such an amazing post! I am very very close to living in a similar situation if I can't find a job STAT, so I cannot judge. I'm so glad that businessman stepped in to help. I wish nothing but happiness, success to them. I will keep the family in my prayers.

Deb Barnes said...

OMG - I was let go from my job at 55 years of age a couple weeks ago, but despite that, I still have a lovely home, a roof over my head, food to eat, and a warm bed to sleep in. I also have the love of my seven cats who I would go to the ends of the earth for. My heart aches for Sarah - what an incredible woman she is. She is not angry or feeling sorry for herself, she just wants a job. Ghost is very lucky to have such a caring family and he is clearly a harbinger of good karma - my prayers all will work out. Ghost is exactly where he belongs. Purrs from Deb and the Zee/Zoey Gang.

Lisa Velez said...

Have stopped to pet Ghost and have donated items (for cats/people) to Brandon as well. They hang out in front of my work in the morning (Lyric Opera House).

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