DASF Safe Haven Program
Guest Blog Author: Katie McFarland
In almost the two years that I have served on the Board of Directors for the Denton Animal Support Foundation, I have witnessed truly amazing acts of the heart. As an impassioned animal lover and rescue avantgarde, it’s easy to fall deeply in love with the actions and goals of the Animal Support Foundation. I have seen capital campaigns and fundraisers large and small to fund low cost vaccine clinics, emergency medical support for unfortunate animals and their owners in need, outreach education to local schools all in the name of helping our community furry friends.
Quite early on, I found myself falling into what I quickly realized was not only a unique program for our Shelter Foundation, but for the entire North Texas area. I have never heard of a program like this one here in Denton, though Denton natives won’t necessarily be surprised. In true Denton form, the compassionate minds of the Board of Directors saw a niche problem and sought out to fix it. Niche may be misleading, because while it may not be something even thought of on a larger scale, it is still of the greatest importance to it’s recipients.
The Safe Haven Program funded by The Denton Animal Support Foundation, is aimed specifically towards helping the women (and children) of domestic violence and their pets. It’s an overlooked yet alarming fact, that 60% of victims experiencing domestic abuse will not leave their dangerous circumstances out of concern about what will happen to their pets if they do. Domestic abusers are well known manipulators and what better chess piece than a family pet? It sounds like an unbelievable statistic, but any animal lover fortunate enough to not find themselves in such an unimaginable situation, could probably relate to the drastic lengths we would go on a normal day, to ensure the safety and survival of our beloved pets. I know I would. Unfortunately, most outreach shelters do not allow for women and children to bring along their animals. Which leaves a victim with two choices. To stay or to forsake. In addition to the seemingly insurmountable amount of emotional and physical strength it takes a victim to finally leave their oppressor, having to leave your animal behind should, at least, not have to be the abhorrent “cherry on top.”
So here is what we did. DASF reached out to Denton County Friends of the Family and together they set up a program that provides funds for the transportation, safe boarding (at an undisclosed location) and any grooming or medical needs for any pet a woman brings to the doors of DCFOF upon check-in, for the duration of her stay. The pets are then reunited with their family safely and discreetly when they are ready to start their new life, free from their abuser. Since the program has been in action, we have safely cared for, vaccinated, groomed and released 27 pets owned by women and children who have taken shelter at Denton County Friends of the Family. It’s the very least we could do for these brave women, their children and their beloved pets and we are overjoyed to provide for these families of domestic violence in this way.
This program is primarily funded through grants sought out and applied for by the Denton Animal Support Foundation. The constant nuisance is maintaining the influx of money as grants do have a shelf-life and run out. We are always accepting donations to the Safe Haven Program to keep providing this sometimes life-changing comfort to women and children of domestic abuse. If you have any questions, would like to make a donation to this program or see other ways you can help The Denton Animal Support Foundation, please do not hesitate to contact the Denton Animal Support Foundation at (940) 765-1550, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/DentonASF/