For National Make a Dog’s Day, we’re celebrating our partnership with PetSmart Charities: Pets with a Promise
Nearly 70 percent of American households own at least one pet, and most pet owners consider these furry, feathered, or scaled critters members of the family. Families testify to the joy pets bring to their lives. But for a family facing homelessness, a pet can be an overwhelming burden.
Homeless shelters don’t typically permit animals, so families are often forced to forsake their pets or leave them to animal shelters that may or may not practice euthanasia. Other families are discouraged from seeking shelter, choosing to live out of their car or in other unsuitable situations so they don’t’ have to surrender their pet. Either way, the family pet is lost. This is especially traumatic for children who are already struggling with the loss of their homes.
Through a partnership with PetSmart Charities, Family Promise developed the Pets with a Promise program to ensure families don’t undergo additional suffering due to the loss of their beloved pets. Program grants enable Affiliates to accommodate pets onsite, at a PetSmart PetsHotel or other boarding facility, or through a local fostering program.
Keeping All Family Members Together…
Sixteen-year-old Tasha’s dog, Roxie, was more than a best friend. Tasha experienced sudden seizures, and Roxie had learned to detect a seizure onset and alert the family for help. Without Roxie, Tasha worried about her own wellbeing. When the family came to Family Promise, the Pets with a Promise program meant Roxie could be fostered at a nearby home, and the family visited their dog regularly. When they moved into housing three months later, Roxie was right back at the foot of Tasha’s bed every night.
GerriAnn’s family wouldn’t be complete without their two dogs, Tazzie and Hershey. Before finding Family Promise, the family chose to live in their car because they couldn’t find a place that would shelter the entire family, including their pets. The Pets with a Promise program kept Tazzie and Hershey safely lodged at a local veterinarian’s office while the family focused on regaining independence and finding new housing.
The first week after the Gaines family lost their home they lived out of their car with as many of their possessions as they could fit, including their beloved Boxer, Sterling. Although relieved to be together, it was a cramped situation, especially for a large dog that needed regular exercise. When the family came to Family Promise they were thrilled to let Sterling loose in the Affiliate’s on-site dog run, and Sterling was clearly happy to run and play with his toys and his family.
…And Sparing Cherished Pets from an Uncertain Fate
In addition to keeping the entire family intact, Pets with a Promise keeps pets out of overcrowded animal shelters which may resort to euthanasia if a pet isn’t adopted within a specific time frame.
In a single year, Pets with a Promise ensures dogs, cats, and other cherished pets remain part of the family from the moment they lose their home until the family regains housing. Since the program was implemented in 2012, hundreds of family pets have been able to stay with their families, sparing children additional trauma and keeping all family members together.