I decided to pay it forward to close out National Pet Month, by doing a donation drive for Noah’s Animal House. Noah’s is a 501c3 non-profit that helps victims of domestic violence and their pets by creating pet-friendly women’s shelters so that women don’t have to make the agonizing decision to leave their beloved pets behind when fleeing an abuser. Their flagship location is in Las Vegas, with a second location in Reno, and they’re planning to go beyond Nevada, as well.
I’m not exactly sure how I stumbled upon the story of Noah’s Animal House, but it was several years ago and I’ve been a cheerleader for them ever since. Noah’s founder, Staci Alonso, realized how many women would not leave their abusers and head for a shelter if they had to leave their beloved pets behind. The majority of women’s shelters cannot accommodate pets. Can you imagine having to choose between daily violence and having to leave your pets behind, likely to suffer abuse themselves as retaliation? Agonizing!
50% of domestic violence victims won’t leave their abusers because they can’t take their pets with them. This statistic breaks my heart! Noah’s Animal House is working hard to change that!
Here is the actual story of Noah’s founding, taken from their website:
As a Shade Tree Shelter board member in Las Vegas, I received a call in 2005 that changed my life and the lives of many voiceless victims. The Executive Director asked if I could come immediately to the shelter to speak to a new client that would not check in to the facility. Awaiting me was a young woman with all of her possessions in her hands – a garbage bag filled with clothes and most importantly, a cat carrier holding her only loyal and true friend in life.
After a history of abuse that begins in her early teenage years with a trusted adult, she finally had the courage to arrive on the doorsteps of the shelter ready to take a healthy and positive step forward free of abuse. Her courage was slipping away because she was told that while she was welcome, her best friend, who just happened to have four legs, could not enter the facility with her. She was ready to turn back and felt that the life that she knew must be a life that she deserved.
Later that day, I left with her most loyal companion to serve as a foster parent so that she could receive the safety and support she needed to start a new life. I was humbled by her trust and faith in me to care for her pet and vowed on that day to remove the “no pets allowed” sign on the doors of domestic violence shelters, starting in Nevada.
Noah’s Animal House in Las Vegas is a full-service boarding facility on the grounds of the largest women & children’s shelter in Nevada. It was built in 2007 as our flagship operation after recognizing how many other arrivals at The Shade Tree Shelter were desperately seeking the same safety and protection for their pets. After operating for over a decade, we have cared and protected over 1,900 pets for more than 100,000 boarding nights for the women and children at The Shade Tree. What we now know is that women won’t leave their pets behind to be abused as payback and with Noah’s Animal House, they no longer have to make that choice.
As a result of all our work in Las Vegas, NV, we recognized the need to replicate our original model in Northern NV in partnership with the Domestic Violence Resource Center (DVRC). With these two locations, we have served clients from over 34 states in the US. Victims driving thousands of miles, driving past other women’s shelters in neighboring states for one reason only – their family pet needed to be part of their fresh start.
We hope you will play a role in their fresh start as well.
Women travel far and wide to not only escape their abusers, but be able to bring their pets with them. There are only so many women’s shelters that allow pets. Leaving beloved pets behind is not an option for most, so they stay where they are, risking pain, injury and even death.
What would YOU do? Risk being beaten and possibly killed in order to love and protect your pets, or leave them behind, having no idea what’s to become of them, likely even the same fate? If you count yourself among the lucky who will never have to make this agonizing decision, it’s time for a gratitude check-in. If you’d like to be the light in another woman’s life who IS facing this decision, check out https://noahsanimalhouse.org/donate-now-2-2/ to donate today! And reply to this email to let me know you donated!
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