August 8th, 2023
By Katie Campbell, Director of Collaboration and Outreach
Members of our team just returned from New Orleans, Louisiana after attending the 49th annual National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) training event. We were joined by our friends at Greater Good Charities and the Purple Leash Project Purina partners to celebrate the official launch of our 25 by 2025 campaign to help ensure that 25% of domestic violence (DV) shelters in the U.S. are pet friendly by 2025.
The theme for this year’s training event was the “power of connection” and we can’t think of a better way to have kicked off our campaign. Our Director of Collaboration and Outreach, Katie Campbell, has attended this conference each year since 2016 and shared that this is “one of her favorite conferences to attend. The sessions and educational opportunities are top notch, but it’s the sense of community and connection that truly make this conference one of a kind.”
Thanks to our Purple Leash Partnership with Purina, we were able to raise awareness of the campaign, and our grants for shelters and survivors even further through their sponsorship of a coffee break, custom WiFi link, and cool swag. Additionally, Katie Campbell helped drive our message through her presentation, “The Power of Pets: How Pet-Friendly Domestic Violence Shelters Aid Healing, Build Morale, and Support Fundraising.” And our “Pets Are Family” t-shirt giveaways and sponsorship of Pet Partners’ Therapy dogs helped to drive the masses to our table.
As one advocate shared, “the power of connection is the power of community.”
Attendees were so excited to show us photos of their “pet family members,” and also shared stories about survivors they worked with (or are currently working with), who have faced the difficult decision between safety and their pets. They told us about the impact that pets have on survivors’ lives, how difficult it can be for a survivor to leave an abuser without their pet, and how hard it is to not have resources to offer for the pets of survivors. We were thrilled to discuss the variety of resources we and our partners, including DomesticShelters.org, can offer and they left our table inspired to share this information within their communities when they returned home. And, perhaps more importantly, they left our table knowing that we are committed to keeping survivors and their pets together.
At the center of the 25 by 2025 campaign is community – building, engaging, and supporting communities around the country to help keep more DV survivors with their pets. And we met so many conference attendees that were so excited to hear about the campaign!
While we’ll have to wait another year to celebrate NOVA’s 50th training event, we’ll continue to build upon these connections and more!