A few weeks ago, I shipped one of our In Her Shoes training kits to an animal shelter in California. In my year and a half of doing product sales, I’ve never seen an order from an animal shelter. As a big-time animal lover (seriously, don’t ask me about my dog unless you want alllll the details), I was curious. Turns out they have a special program (the Animal Safehouse Program) for fostering the pets of domestic violence survivors, giving their furry friends a safe place to stay so their human can get safe. The animal shelter is planning to use the training with other shelters and animal control officers, who often witness domestic abuse. Many studies have shown that abusers also abuse pets as a means to control, punish, and frighten victims.
This warms my heart to no end. Many domestic violence shelters do not allow pets—which is understandable—but that’s often a deterrent for someone worried about their pet. When I think about the connection I have to my dog, I know there’s no way I could ever leave him behind.
If you love animals and want to help support survivors, you can do something to make a positive impact in your community. Does your local domestic violence shelter allow pets and/or work with animal shelters to coordinate services? Does your local animal shelter or veterinarian have a temporary foster program for survivors of abuse? Find out and get involved!