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A place to call home for men and dogs

From TODAY correspondent Jill RappaportIn the South End of Boston lies a very special shelter that not only gives homeless men a roof over their head, but provides a safe haven for abandoned dogs as well.   It's called Pine Street Inn's Stapleton House, the nonprofit facility responsible for this innovative "first of its kind" program that has provided a loving home for the animals and
Jill Rappaport / Today

From TODAY correspondent Jill Rappaport

In the South End of Boston lies a very special shelter that not only gives homeless men a roof over their head, but provides a safe haven for abandoned dogs as well.   

It's called Pine Street Inn's Stapleton House, the nonprofit facility responsible for this innovative "first of its kind" program that has provided a loving home for the animals and at the same time is giving these men a second chance for a life.

This idea first came to fruition when Barbara Davidson, the house manager, realized that dogs were very therapeutic and were real "icebreakers" with men in the house who were withdrawn. She started bringing in one dog at a time to be part of the house family, and the results were incredible. As she says, "People who have lived on the street know that you have to show that someone cares. They try to understand the dog rather than just training it. They just don't judge them." And it seems to be the same for the dogs! It's as if they too understand where these men have been, and have an immediate connection because of their similar past. In the year that this program was started, 13 dogs have been part of the shelter, and every one of them has gone on to find permanent loving homes. And it is the hope that these men will one day find a lifelong home, too. In the meantime, they have learned to overcome trauma, distrust and abandonment through the dogs, really giving special significance to the phrase "man's best friend."

In this case, they are their saviors.

Click here for more info on Pine Street Inn.