Monday, June 16, 2008

Paws for Courage--rescuing animal victims of domestic violence

My mom is a transporter--not quite the Beam me up Scottie! type but someone who helps move dogs from shelters to rescues. One day, years ago (before I was born) she transported some ferrets and then became famous in Ferrets USA magazine. Since then she has kept in touch with the kind ferret rescue lady. Now that lady has started up a new rescue for animal victims of domestic violence. She wants to contact as many shelters, rescues and foster homes as possible to get the word out and set up safe havens (in the US right now). Her new and beautiful website--still under construction is Paws for Courage.

Here is some information about her mission:

Almost 50% of those leaving domestic violence situations delay leaving their abusers. They fear for the lives of the pets they will have to leave behind. Beloved pets often become pawns in abusive relationships. A “thing” to be used to instill fear in their victims, to further control them, to punish them or show them what will happen if they tell about the abuse or get out of line.

It's this fear that keeps victims of abuse frozen with terror. They know that the minute they leave, their abuser will take their anger out on their pets by seriously harming or even killing them. By the time victims are ready to leave their abusers, their self esteem has been battered and they have been alienated from most of their family and friends; they don't think they can leave and more often than not, have no place to go. And the longer a victim waits, the greater danger they put themselves in.

When a victim is finally able to leave, more often than not, the domestic violence safe havens they seek refuge at do not allow pets to be brought in or do not have the appropriate facilities to house animals. There are many domestic violence shelters that have cooperative agreements with local animal shelters for temporary holding of animals while victims are residing at the shelter. Unfortunately, due to time constraints and limited space, animals can only be held for very short periods of time...anywhere from a week to 30 days.

Paws For Courage was created with the purpose of diminishing the high number of those who feel they cannot leave because of their pets. 50% is a VERY high number and a rather disturbing statistic. Time is of the essence in domestic violence situations; any delay could prove to be deadly. Paws For Courage is a network of shelters, foster homes, and transporters dedicated to giving domestic violence 'victims' a greater chance of becoming 'survivors'. Please read our Volunteer page and consider joining or supporting our cause. An animal's (and humans') life may very well depend on it. Just a note, some of our pages are currently under construction, so please remember to keep checking back...we're always updating! If you have any questions about anything on this website (or not on the site), please feel free to contact me at any time

8 sniff-Arooos:

Name: Mr. Hendrix said...

what a wonderful woman to do this. mommy volunteers at a shelter that sees many furry victims of domestic violence. it is terrible. every city should have this.

we will forward this to our shelter ( and others we know who work with foster agencies.

PS Cows in the woods? Sounds like dinner to me!

BrandytheGreat said...

Well, what can I say, She's definitely a very kind person!

Jan's Funny Farm said...

What a great post! This is such an important topic and one dear to Jan's heart. She would love to see one started here.

We're going to have to come back when we're awake and alert and read this again.

purrs and tail wags

Name: Mr. Hendrix said...

I posted about this on the cat blogosphere news page

animal abuse is a horrid thing and many of our owners volunteer at shelters and foster. this is a good resource.

River said...

Thanks so much Jan of the Funny Farm & Mr. Hendrix! Abuse affects all animals. PFC will hopefully help save a few and their humans.

love & wags,

Booker the Treeing Walker said...

I admire your involvement and contributions -- domestic violence has touched me personally, and it is a wicked, wicked place to be trapped. Many times a person who abuses another person started abusing animals and distributes the abuse among family members - human and animal. Awareness is so important.

Gus and Louie said...

We are so proud of your mom for what she is doing. She is very special in our book. Our mom wants to get a farm and do the same thing. She keeps asking Dad everyday if she can retire and start her farm...

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus and Louie

River said...

River's Mom note: Thank you for all the kind words. I am an old hippie cursed with idealism and crusader-like tendencies (even to learning how to use a rapier! haha). Age and illness have slowed me a bit. But these precious creatures are worth all the love we can give them. They have made my life worth living. So great to meet all the new friends here!