San Francisco is taking a novel approach in its never-ending fight to limit panhandling in the city: In a word, puppies. As the Chronicle explains, the city will soon start a program in which panhandlers get paid a small stipend, say $50 a week, to forgo their begging and instead care for a puppy from the city animal shelter. The idea is that the panhandlers would foster "problematic puppies" for a while and get them ready for adoption.
Participants will go through a screening process, and the homeless are not eligible. (Most panhandlers tend to live in low-income housing, says the city.) As envisioned, they'd get training on how to care for the pups and gain job skills and companionship along the way. The puppies, meanwhile, get the one-on-one attention they need. "I can't believe how lucky we both are," wrote one formerly homeless man to the shelter's director. He took in one of its troubled puppies before the program was conceived, ended up adopting it himself, and is now held up as an example of how the idea might help others.