ORDER PET PORTRAITS WITH PURPOSE
For the month of October, Greyboy Pet Prints is offering pet portraits with purpose by partnering with RedRover’s Relief Program which helps victims of domestic violence (DV) get to safety WITH their pets! Order any sized pet portrait etching (transforming your snapshot into fine art) or book a SoCal pet photo session in Oct. 2018 and 30% of the etching or portrait session is donated to RedRover!
TO SPREAD THE WORD, WE ARE OFFERING A FUN GIVEAWAY!
See at the bottom of this post the goodies to win and how to enter, BUT FIRST…
Two Real-Life Stories + How RedRover Helps
Read about two real-life stories of pets and their owner in a domestic violence situation (and my own story!) here in the interview conducted by Greyboy Pet Prints’ artist Mandi of RedRover’s CEO and President Nichole Forsyth.
Can you tell me what RedRover does?
Sure! A lot of people like to think of us as the American Red Cross for animals. We’re helping animals when they’re in crisis.
We’re there to help when people AND animals are in a crisis together – when people and their animals are most vulnerable. We’re also trying to prevent crisis from happening in the first place and strengthening the human-animal bond looking for ways to prevent animal abuse and cruelty.
How Pets Can Get To Safety Too
- Can you tell me more about the RedRover Relief Program and the types of grants you offer?
When a low-income individual or Good Samaritan or anyone is in a tough situation themselves, such as a veterinary situation that they cannot afford to pay for or when a domestic violence victim is trying to escape an abusive situation and they don’t know what to do with their pets, we offer grants.
SAFE ESCAPE GRANTS
With the domestic violence (DV) situations, we work directly with the DV advocate. If there is someone trying to leave their situation and they call the DV shelter or they reach out to some social services program and are concerned about their pet, the DV advocate will contact us and we can give “Safe Escape Grants.” These grants are for a boarding facility so the victim can go to a DV shelter and have their pet boarded. Clearly that’s not ideal because they get a lot of comfort if they are able to stay with their pet. They might experience a lot of anxiety not having the pet with them, but at least it gets them both out of the situation.
GRANTS TO SHELTERS
We work with DV shelters all over the country to try and help them figure out ways they could take in pets that is for on-site housing: in the room in a crate, or outside in a kennel, or whatever we can help with wherever they’re at. We provide help directly through the grants to the DV shelters.
We also have a website named SafePlaceForPets.org. That website is designed directly for the victim to put in their zip code to see resources in their area. Whether it’s an onsite shelter or another kind of program that can help them with their pets.
How YOU Can Help
- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Please tell us more about that.
Yes, Oct. 15th is the deadline for shelters to apply for the Safe Housing grants. This grant can help domestic violence shelters provide facilities or kenneling or whatever their solution is to be able to house the pets on-site. We have other start-up grants for developing programs to help the pets offsite.
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month we are also educating hairstylists about this issue. There’s some research that is really interesting which shows that hairstylists are the #1 person told (about abuse). So there are many states that are beginning to look at this and four states that are mandating beauticians to receive training in recognizing domestic violence. Illinois was the first state in 2017 to pass the law to require them to do the 1 hour training.
What we’ve done is create a little wallet card that someone can give their hairstylist. That way if the stylist is talking to someone and hearing that pets are the reason they aren’t leaving, the hairstylist can say, “Hey, I know about this resource,” and hand out this card. People can order these little business-card sized cards on our website at RedRover.org/DVAM.
- How can somebody donate to RedRover?
They can go to our website at RedRover.org. There’s a donate button there. Donating monthly is probably the best way to help because everyone saves on all kinds of paper and mailings and they don’t have to think about it.
- In addition to donating, how can someone help?
It’s DV awareness month. Someone can also help by doing these two things:
– HANDING CARDS TO YOUR HAIRSTYLIST. Go online to RedRover.org/DVAM and get free cards to hand to your hairstylist.
– WEARING YOUR SUPPORT. Go online to RedRover.org/DVAM and purchase a t-shirt with #petsarefamily on the front and on the back “Helping people with pets escape DV together.”
6. You guys do so many different things! Can you explain more please?
We have 3 main programs:
– RedRover Relief (our grants)
– RedRover Responders (utilizing volunteers to help care for animals in temporary emergency sheltering as needed: puppy mill takeovers, natural disasters…)
– RedRover Readers Program (trains teachers and volunteers to help educate on empathy)
7. How is RedRover unique compared to other non-profits?
The best way to sum it all up is our intersection between people AND animals in crisis. Most groups are only focused on people or only animals. Ours is more tightly knit. If you focus only on animal welfare, you might miss some of the issues harming animals if you’re not thinking about the people. So we are always thinking about both.
8. So, with the program Safe Escape, which case has touched your heart the most? Can you give us an example of how RedRover helped a specific case?
Story of Shari and her 2 dogs
For most of our cases we cannot share names, but with one of them we could: Shari and her 2 dogs. Watch and listen to her in this short video clip HERE.
She was in a unique situation where she COULD share her story of her and her dog. Because we don’t usually get to hear the names of the people or animals, this one was special. And it was so interesting to hear her tell how she didn’t even realize she was in this type of situation (DV) and how she seemed shocked that she found herself in this situation where she didn’t even believe it would turn into this DV act. She’s very credible, which as you know with DV, the victims are blamed or not believed, it’s downplayed and awful. So her video breaks all of that down, so people can watch that and feel empathy. She is not to blame.
Another amazing thing about her story is we were able to meet her in person and her two humongous pit bull mixes who were super goofy and drooly. The whole staff came out of their offices to meet Shari and her two dogs. To see the amount of empathy that our staff showed just felt amazing. I’m very proud of the way our staff shows an immense amount of empathy for the animals and their people. We helped her with a Safe Escape grant. Her dogs went to a boarding facility and she went to a local DV shelter. The nice thing is now that shelter is a lot more open to having pets there. We actually gave them a grant and they are starting to figure out how they can have pets there now.
Story of Kitty Louie
We do have another story that is a little bit sadder. We don’t normally get to see the pets but a recent case happened to also be local. This woman was in a DV situation which was very complicated. The two cats had to be left behind. The lady eventually realized they had to go back to get the cats.
Turned out the abuser had locked the one cat in a room without food or water for four days and hadn’t been taking care of it prior. The lady got her cat to the vet. We were helping raise money to pay the vet bill. Her cat seemed to be doing better. The staff got to go see the cat, Louie. He took a turn for the worse. (Tears were shed during this part of the interview.) It was just breaking everyone’s heart that he didn’t make it. So, what was amazing was the empathy and compassion everyone felt for this cat. We felt bad that we shared this story with our donors and then we had to tell them he didn’t make it. What was amazing was the donors coming back to us feeling the genuine grieving we were all going through…it’s a hard issue.
9. It is! And how do you guys handle that? Self care must be important to you guys.
Right. What helps and why empathy is such an important thing for us, is that science shows when you really connect with someone is when you’re feeling empathy. If something horrible has happened to someone, the person grieving feels horrible, but you’re sitting with them connecting with them. If you feel empathy you feel a little of their grief, but the feeling of connection is really positive. It feels good you’re experiencing that emotion. It sounds counterintuitive. Sympathy is more of a distancing emotion but in your head you’re thinking more about how that makes you feel and drives you away from that person with an element of distress. Compassion fatigue is really distress: thinking you cannot believe people do this to pets and how that cruelty is affecting you as a person. If you’re really connecting with the emotions someone is going through in the moment, a feeling of connection should override distress. That’s what we focus on: the benefits of connecting with someone in a genuine way far outweighs the situation they’re going through – to feel like you’re there for someone and a common sense of humanity. Our staff is very supportive. The culture here is safe and connected. We call it compassion resilience. The best way to be resilient is to develop empathy. When you build empathy and compassion it’s like a recipe for resilience.
We have some resources on our website for compassion resilience. RedRover.org/compassionresilience. It’s just a little bit more about it. It’s a long article but I feel it’s really helpful. There’s some recommended books. The article appeared in an animal shelters magazine.
Places to Get Safe WITH Help For Pets Too
10. How many states have a DV shelter with some way to help the animals too?
There are only 6 states left that don’t have a co-shelter (where pets and their people can stay together in some form): Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and West Virginia.
There are 172 DV shelters nationwide that house pets (purple pins on map). We’ve given grants to a vast majority of those. We’ve given 73 grants (purple and yellow markers on map).
(THERE ARE MANY MORE RESOURCES AND INFO ON THE REDROVER WEBSITE.)
Well thank you, Nicole. We really appreciate your time and learned so much!
WHY do I care so deeply about this issue?
This was me 14 years ago. Me, my 3 year old son, and my cat Jake, aka Greyboy (etching pictured below) needed to leave an abusive situation. Luckily, I had somewhere safe to go for all 3 of us, but not everyone does.
From Red Rover: Research clearly shows that offenders of domestic violence often have a pattern of abuse involving all members of the household – including children and pets. When survivors of domestic violence seek to escape their abusive homes they’re not only faced with the challenge of finding shelter for themselves and their children, but also for their pets.
Unfortunately, many shelters do not have the means to house companion animals and many survivors are left facing the difficult decision to either leave their pets behind or remain in the abusive environment. Sadly, many survivors stay in abusive homes for fear of subjecting their animals to continued abuse, if left behind. Equally disturbing, animals are often left with their abusers to face torture or even death.
That’s why I care so much about this and know what a grounding force these furry friends are. Sometimes they feel like angels in disguise. Agreed?
ORDER YOUR OWN PET PORTRAIT WITH PURPOSE
LET’S HELP REDROVER GET MORE PETS AND PEOPLE TO SAFETY! Order any sized etching or purchase a SoCal photo session and RedRover will use 30% of thedonation to give more domestic violence relief grants to victims in need and women’s shelters in need of a safe place for these pets!
Want to win one of these fun goodies?
– A MINI ETCHING (like the kitty muzzle etching shown below)
– A Starbucks GIFT CARD
– A RedRover “Pets Are Family” T-SHIRT
HOW TO ENTER OUR GIVEAWAY:
– Simply email me and say “I’m in!”
– Share this link on social and tag @GreyboyPetPrints and @RedRover. Take a selfie of you and your pet in purple for DV awareness if you want!
Multiple winners will be chosen in random drawings throughout the month of October!
SPREAD THE WORD! 🙂 Order a pet portrait etching handcrafted from your snapshot for yourself or for a gift. They make terrific gifts AND you know 30% goes back to help RedRover assist DV victims! Every pet owner needs to know about RedRover’s help for DV victims and their pets! If it’s not you that needs help, I’d guess one of your contacts might and they probably won’t announce it, so SHARE! This could save a life: 2-legged and / or 4-legged!