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'I knew I couldn’t leave him there;' Volunteer organization helps women fleeing domestic violence find safe place for pets
An organization that helps find safe homes for pets is trying to raise awareness before the holiday season.
SafePet Ottawa is a volunteer run organization that fosters companion animals for people who need to exit from domestic violence into the safety of local shelters.
Jennifer Rose is on the Safe Pet Ottawa board of directors. She says, “In times of high stress, Thanksgiving, with Christmas coming up, and even winter, people get down.”
Rose says, “Household stress goes up and things happens and people reach a breaking point, where people are ready to go and we see an influx of pets that come in.”
The organization says they are meeting current needs but are asking for donations and support if and when the needs increases.
The Safe Pet network includes veterinary clinics, fosters, behaviourists and volunteers.
Once a victim has found safe housing, the organization reunites owners with their pets.
Dayna Desmarais knows about the unconditional love between pets and owners. She tried for years to escape an abusive relationship. But it wasn’t until her dog Taco was at risk that she decided to leave.
Desmarais says, “(My abuser) started threatening my senior dog who is now 15... He says was going to leave the door open.. Or not feed him dinner if I didn’t come home.”
She says, “I knew I couldn’t leave him there... but I don’t know what he would have done if I had.”
She says not everyone is lucky enough to have a place to go. Only one shelter in Ottawa allows women to bring their pets.
“I was fortunate to go to family with my dog and we were both safe there together but not everyone is as lucky to have that connection with their family… not everyone is.”
To help Safe Pet Ottawa click here. The organization is holding a fundraising ball on November 2nd.