Pets play a major role in a person’s life. Apart from the fact that they make great companions, they’re also good at providing their beloved owners emotional support in times of need. This is why having to leave a pet behind is not one of the easiest things to do.
Staci Alonso, a former board member of a women’s shelter, witnessed first-hand the significance of pets in a person’s life. During her stay at the women’s shelter, she discovered that women who sought shelter after suffering from domestic abuse often have nowhere to go because most of the women shelters do not accommodate the pets.
This is unfortunately common in many places, including the United States. Most of these shelters don’t have any program that include pets. In fact, only less than 10% of women shelters have something close to a pet service. They usually ask the women to bring their pets over at a nearby foster home or an animal shelter, thus being separated from their beloved pets.
Alonso was surprised to know that because of this ‘limitation’ some victims of domestic abuse choose to go back to their abusive situation, just so they won’t be separated from their pet. This inspired her to build a shelter of her own, one that will address this recurring circumstance.
“We can’t make it this hard for a woman to leave an abusive relationship just because she has a pet,” Alonso said.
In 2007, Alonso established a pet shelter called Noah’s Animal House, which is a pet shelter built especially for the pets of domestic violence victims in Las Vegas. It had all the pet essentials —food, cat condos, dog runs, a grooming station, and a vet station.
“They check in to the women’s shelter, and the pets are right next door at Noah’s,” Alonso said. “And they’re free of abuse and safe.”
Noah’s Animal House also has a space called the “cuddle rooms” where they can bond and spent time with their pets in a pleasant and safe space. It’s also important to note that these pets are taken care of by volunteers and staff when the owners have to be somewhere else.
“You know the power of the pet when you watch the woman come through the doors and you see the anxiety on her face — and then they see their pet. You look back at the woman and all of the stress is gone,” Alonso said.
Women who needed this type of accommodation traveled from state to state, just for their pets to have a safe space. Jennifer, a domestic abuse victim took a four-day bus ride with her cat just to get to Noah’s.
“My abuser told me if I leave I was never going to make it. I had been playing that dangerous tape in my head, and I’ve got to get rid of it,” Jennifer said. “My cat helps me with that. He lets me know that I am wanted, and I am loved.”
When Alonso realized the importance of her initiative, she also opened a second branch Noah’s Animal House in Reno.
To learn more about this compassionate and unique sanctuary for humans and animals, watch the video below from CNN:
If you wish to help Noah’s Animal House’s worthy cause please GO HERE.