November 15th, 2022
By Ketia Johnson, Community Outreach Coordinator
As RedRover’s Community Outreach Coordinator, much of my work involves assisting domestic violence shelters and animal shelters in creating their own pet housing programs by offering support and helping them to establish important collaborative partnerships in their communities. So when I was offered the chance to join the RedRover Responders volunteers and the Rescue Rebuild team in Rhode Island to help create pet-friendly living spaces at a domestic violence shelter, I was incredibly excited. After learning and talking about this process, it was so rewarding to experience firsthand the transformation of a space into one that welcomes pets.
This particular domestic violence shelter needed to renovate multiple rooms from top to bottom and install fencing to create separate play areas for dogs and children. Renovation projects included:
Despite not having any prior construction or remodeling experience, I contributed in meaningful ways towards the finished product. The RedRover Responders and Rescue Rebuild teams were excellent teachers, always patient and great at communicating how to complete a task. After receiving training and assignments, I could even complete projects on my own. The team leaders extending that trust to me allowed me to develop confidence in my construction and renovation abilities and feel a huge sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.
In addition to contributing to such a meaningful cause, there’s a lovely bonus in joining a RedRover Responders deployment, and that’s how many friendships you collect along the way. I was able to meet people from all over the U.S. and from all walks of life. Getting to know the volunteers – folks who have generously donated their time and expertise – was a special and memorable experience. I appreciated the variety of our backgrounds and the important shared values that brought us together: we love animals and care deeply about protecting the human-animal bond for people and pets in crisis. Deploying to a construction build is not the easiest work, but I would do it again in a heartbeat: This is work that directly supports keeping families together.