August 4th, 2023
By Savannah Verdon, Development and Engagement Coordinator II
As soon as her husband left for work, Sydney* fled their home. She had woken up alone after he strangled her until she lost consciousness. At that moment she knew that if she didn’t take this opportunity to leave, she might not have another one. And if she didn’t take her cat Patch* with her, she may never see him alive again.
Sydney was staying in a hotel paid for by a church until she could enter a domestic violence shelter. She called her local shelter’s hotline the morning after she fled, hoping that not only would she have a safe place to stay, but that Patch would too. If they couldn’t both be safe, she would have to go home to her husband to protect Patch. He had already hurt her baby and left him with just one eye. Handsome pirate kitty though he was, Patch was almost certain to be hurt further or killed if Sydney went to the shelter without him. Her love for Patch was so great that her husband was likely to punish her for leaving by harming him. Sydney was willing to put her life in danger for Patch. At the very least, they would endure together.
While her local shelter wasn’t able to welcome pets, Sydney’s advocate knew that her options didn’t end there. Together they applied for a RedRover Relief Safe Escape grant so that Patch could be comfortably boarded while Sydney stayed at the shelter and searched for their new home. Once her application had been approved, she could finally exhale and put the past 24 hours behind her.
She had hoped that they would only be apart for two weeks, but it would be nearly two months before Sydney found a safe home for them to share and could leave the shelter. It was hard not seeing Patch, but she would have waited two years if it meant they would both be safe and reunited in the end. Holding her baby again and knowing that only peace lay ahead of them was worth it.
Sydney’s shelter advocate witnessed from start to finish how vital it was for Sydney to know that Patch was protected and had the satisfaction of seeing them through to their next chapter. After Sydney had left the shelter and picked Patch up from the boarding facility, her advocate reached back out to RedRover to share how meaningful a Safe Escape grant had been for this little family:
“She said that it meant having peace of mind knowing that Patch was safe and no longer in any danger. That she could rest at night without worrying whether she was ever going to see him again or hold him in her arms. She thinks of Patch as a very important part of her family and would not be able to cope with her situation if she did not have him for support. Without your services, she might not have been able to keep Patch and that would have been a horrible thing to deal with. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you!”
Thank you for your compassionate heart and for your commitment to making happy, peaceful lives
possible for survivors and their pets! You can visit 25by2025.org to learn more about our goal to help 25% of domestic violence shelters nationwide become pet friendly by 2025 and how you can join the pet-friendly movement.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy