Acts of Kindness: Urban Underdogs

Local News

Every Monday, attorney John Parris closes his downtown Las Vegas law firm and heads to the grittiest parts of the valley.

And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Monday afternoons are my favorite day of the week,” said Parris, “This is the one chance I get to give back to the community.”

On one afternoon in early April, Parris and Cynthia Miyamoto drove a gray van to a homeless encampment near the Las Vegas Strip.  In the back of the vehicle, hundreds of bags of dog food.

“There’s a lot of cool people down here, “said Miyamoto, “They’re nice and they truly care about their animals.”

In a camp tucked into a flood channel, Miyamoto and Parris see MooMoo, Melanie and Crystal, three dogs as homeless as their owners.

“That human experience we’re having is kind of amazing,” said Miyamoto.

Three years ago, Miyamoto started Urban Underdogs.  The non-profit helps feed the pets of the valley’s homeless, low-income and senior citizens.  Parris is one of ten volunteers.

“Overall,” said Parris, “People take very good care of their animals despite the financial disaster they find themselves in.”

Last year, Urban Underdogs helped feed more than 750 animals in homeless camps and shelters.  It also assisted with the spay or neuter of 50 animals.

It’s a vital resource.  Frequently, homeless pet owners devote more time, energy and food to their animals instead of taking care of themselves.

At the same time, Parris noticed, pets are all many who are down on their luck live for.

“It just gives me a sense of peace to go out and help people that I know definitely need it.”

Parris is a receipent of KLAS’s Acts of Kindness award, which includes a check for $800.  He said the money will go toward buying more food for Urban Underdogs.

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