Pet allergies are often the first concern when thinking about starting a pet program in a domestic violence organization. Thankfully, there are many ways to deal with them. If you’ve ever housed a survivor with a service animal, it’s possible your organization has already dealt with this situation. People with allergies have likely been dealing with them for quite some time, so they will know how to manage their symptoms. Be sure to ask about allergies on intake and consider having some common remedies, like allergy medication or sinus washes, on hand if possible. Keeping the areas where the pets are staying as clean as possible is the main way to keep allergens under control. You can also consider purchasing portable HEPA filter units for people with allergies, or consider installing a segregated split-air system in pet rooms.
For more detailed information on program set-up, visit DontForgetThePets.org, a collaboration between RedRover and Rescue Rebuild. Along with a lot of detailed information on building a pet program, Don’t Forget the Pets offers a training workshop and personal consultation through the coaching program.