Household Pets Flee Violence, Too

Household Pets Flee Violence, Too

Cleaning supplies, sheets, garbage bags and cat beds. Doorways has a wish list for the occupants of their Domestic Violence Safehouse which includes the residents as well as their pets. Doorways is the only shelter in Virginia and one of nine in the country who offer safe shelter for people and pets fleeing violence. The all weather kennel has heat and air conditioning and indoor and outdoor areas.

“We know that leaving a pet behind is a barrier to fleeing domestic violence,” says Joy Myers, Doorways chief development officer. She adds Doorways also partners with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington which can help with veterinary care, training and behavioral care and in some cases short-term foster families. She remembers a giant German Shepherd who enjoyed breaking out of the kennel. “We worked with AWLA on a safe space for him while his person was in the shelter.”

Currently the shelter houses a cat named Mena and a dog named Gloria.  The playful Border Collie and chihuahua have moved out. In addition, several of the families in the Safe Apartments have pets. Some of the most urgent continuing needs for pets are cat litter, litter boxes, dry and wet cat food, pet beds and cat scratchers. In the longer term Myers says they have some larger repairs and renovations to the kennel and are accepting donations toward the $20,000 project.

Doorways offers shelter from domestic abuse to women, men and those who identify as LGBTQIA+. In addition, Doorways provides supportive and educational wraparound services to help families and individuals begin a new life of dignity and self sufficiency. Doorways operates an emergency temporary shelter as well as a shelter for homeless families. The family home has 10 bedrooms with 22 beds and houses 6-9 families.  About 60-80 adults and children in imminent danger are helped each year with safe temporary housing in the emergency shelter. 

More information including how to help:

24 Hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline 703-237-0881.