By Katie Campbell, RedRover Director of Collaboration and Outreach
Are those red shirts I see?! Yes, indeed – our volunteers are back in action!
Last month, we welcomed a small team of RedRover Responders volunteers on a joint build project in Washington County, Maine, with Greater Good Charities’ Rescue Rebuild program. This build was made possible thanks to $54,000 in grants from Greater Good Charities and our Purple Leash Project partnership with Purina.
NextStep DV Project already welcomed pets into their shelter, but they requested our help to double their capacity in making those spaces more pet-friendly. We were thrilled to join together for this rockstar domestic violence organization – transforming resident rooms into welcoming pet oases and outdoor space into private play areas for dogs and their people.
Over a five-day period, we assisted the Rescue Rebuild team in putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls of resident rooms, installing pet-friendly flooring (luxury vinyl tile is an excellent and easy-to-install product!), and added pet enrichment to each room (have you seen Rescue Rebuild’s cat bridges?!). We also helped install privacy fencing, walkways, and poop stations in their outdoor space so that survivors can enjoy being outside with their pets while also staying safe.
As always, I was thrilled to help another domestic violence organization get ready to welcome in more pets, but this was also a special project for me: it was the first time we welcomed back volunteers since the COVID-19 pandemic! Words can’t express how grateful I was to see the red shirts again – to have volunteers donating their time, energy, and sweat to support people and their pets find safety and healing together.
With 97% of survivors sharing that keeping their pet with them is an important factor in deciding to seek shelter, and 92% of survivors indicating that their pet plays an important role in their ability to survive and heal (source: URI PALS Report), more pet-friendly shelters are essential around the country. We’re excited for upcoming potential projects and hope that you’ll join us in supporting our efforts to get 25% of domestic violence shelters in the U.S. to become pet-friendly by 2025.
Thank you to our volunteers and donors for continuing to support this important work to keep people and pets together. Thank you to the advocates and organizations who remain flexible and vigilant in their efforts to support survivors in communities across the country. And thank you to the survivors who find a way to survive each and every day despite the many challenges you face.
We’ve got a lot of work left to do, but together we’ll stay the course.