July 18th, 2023
By Savannah Verdon, Development and Engagement Coordinator II
Ava* thought she was simply doing her friend a favor when she agreed to temporarily pet sit their pit mix, Theo. The day they were supposed to return came and went, and she hadn’t heard a word from her friend. Ava soon had to accept that she would be responsible for the poor, abandoned dog.
Her heart broke for Theo to be left behind by the person he trusted. As much as she had come to love his sweet face and personality, she just wasn’t in a position to take him in as her own. But each time she had the opportunity to rehome him, she couldn’t go through with it. He didn’t deserve to lose another person, but more than that, her five children had already fallen in love with him.
Three years later, Ava was in the midst of an abusive relationship. When the time came for her to leave and protect her children, they were very fortunate to bring Theo with them, an opportunity not every survivor gets. She was working with her advocate to find employment and safe housing for her family, but her time at the domestic violence shelter was coming to an end. She would need to find another shelter where her whole family would be protected.
As her search for a job and home continued, Ava and the kids transitioned into another shelter, one that wasn’t able to welcome Theo too. He was having a difficult time with all of the change, becoming less trusting of strangers, but to leave the shelter now so they could all be together would jeopardize the progress she’d made and put the family in danger. Even though being separated would be another stressful change, Theo would have to be boarded until Ava could find a home for all seven of them.
Even though the shelter couldn’t welcome pets, her advocate knew they could rely on the RedRover Relief Safe Escape grant program. Her children settled in while Ava worked with her advocate to submit an application. Before the day was over, her grant had been approved and Theo was checked in at a local pet resort. Now that she could breathe easier knowing her boy was safe, Ava could focus on her next steps and her family’s healing.
Before long, she had secured a comfortable home where they would be free from violence and the only change Theo would have to contend with was finding a new spot for a midday snooze. On her way out of the shelter, Ava made sure her advocate knew how important it was that he had a safe place to go:
“While my client is not currently with me, she has spoken to me many times about how incredibly grateful she is that RedRover was able to support her through this insanely difficult time. The client has a large family to take care of, each of them incredibly invested in Theo’s well-being. The client admitted that she isn’t really a dog person, but Theo won her over with his gentle spirit and love for her kids. Theo is a family member to them, and without RedRover’s help, they would have had no choice but to rehome their little 70-lb light and hope.”
Thank you for your commitment to making happy, peaceful lives possible for survivors and their pets! As 25 by 2025, our campaign to help 25% of domestic violence shelters nationwide become pet friendly by 2025 gains momentum, we are grateful for compassionate hearts like yours.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy