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Pets And Women's Shelter (PAWS) Program


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American Humane announces the Pets and Women's Shelter (PAWS) Program:


I am so proud to introduce the Pets and Women's Shelter (PAWS) Program Manual, which has been much of my life over the past 9 months. For many years, it has been a passion of mine to advocate for women and children to evacuate an abusive home with family pets and to encourage family violence shelters to allow pets to remain with the family. American Humane believed in my vision and we are proud to launch this national initiative. Many domestic violence shelters arrange for family pets to be safely housed at animal shelters or other off-site facilities. The PAWS Program is the first program to advocate for on-site housing of pets and to acknowledge the human-animal bond, which can be essential during a crisis. Keeping the family together (including the pets) when leaving a home is crucial to healing and recovery, as well as removing a target that can force a family to return to the abuser.

The PAWS manual was written to cover many of the questions that arise when housing pets on site and to demonstrate that the program can be a simple process, even during times when funding to shelters is stretched thin. To help answer any specific questions that arise, American Humane is offering free technical assistance for any shelter interested in implementing a PAWS Program. I will be handling those requests and anyone can contact me at PAWSprogram@americanhumane.org or at the phone/email below.

Please share this information with anyone and everyone who is interested, particularly with your local domestic violence advocacy groups, child welfare organizations, children's advocacy centers, animal shelters, veterinarians, medical/psychological providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges. The more shelters that can begin to accommodate pets on site, the more women and children will be able to leave abusive homes sooner. If you know of anyone that does not have access to a computer and would like a printed PAWS manual, please contact me at the phone number below and I would be happy to mail them a manual.

Allie Phillips, J.D.

Director of Public Policy

American Humane Association

206 N. Washington St., Suite 300

Alexandria, VA 22314

p = 703.836.PETS

f = 703.549.KIDS


Protecting Children and Animals since 1877

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Thanks for posting this, Marty. Wonderful news from the U.S.! I don't know if it could even be accessed for use in Canadian women's shelters, but I've sent out emails with this information to at least one women's shelter in almost each Province, regardless (some didn't have email contact info) and have asked them to forward it to any other agencies they might be partnered with. I do hope the Amer. Humane Assoc. will allow this package to go out to Canada as well, if requested, and can only hope and pray someone takes an interest here. They certainly ought to, but there's no accounting for bureaucracy. :glare: As I find time, I'll try to send it out to other key players as well.

I'd had to go through this scenario myself as a child and it was terribly traumatizing, not only for me, but especially for my poor birdie at the time....I still suffer guilt and anger about that (he was absolutely terrified by the time my Mother got us home again, so I'll never know what he was put through :o:( ), even though it wasn't really in my hands then, but we COULD have taken him along, as we stayed with family or friends, not in shelters - there weren't any back then that I'm aware of. I finally told my Mother that I wouldn't leave, ever again, unless we could take him with us, and thankfully, she complied. Hence, my guilt, as had I know that was all it would have taken, I would have spoken up right away, despite my young age! So I believe strongly in the importance of this issue and I'm excited that it's finally being tackled.

Today, I'd give my very life to save any animal baby of mine from abuse &/or death at the hand of an abuser, all the while worrying in tandem about what would happen to them if I wasn't there anymore (dead, or in jail myself!) to care for them....so it's a terrible, additional burden to place upon people who love their animal companions, on top of the stress of an abusive home situation and all that entails.

Way to GO, Allie, and American Humane Assoc.! :wub: And thank-you SO much, on behalf of the poor animals who get caught in the middle of these horrendous situations! It's about time they were protected in this regard!

Edited by Maylissa
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Maylissa, dear ~ thank you for picking up this important message, and for doing what you can to distribute it in your "neck of the woods." Please note that, since I posted the notice about it yesterday, Allie has forwarded the actual manual itself, which I've attached to my original post as a pdf file. If you save a copy of the file to your own computer, you can send it as an attachment to all those you've already contacted.


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Marty I will pass this around as I am involved in animal rescue working with quite a few rescue groups and this is a wonderful thing you have done. We also get alot of older dogs into rescue who's owners have gone into nursing homes which is very sad also . Congratulations and thank you so much for all your hard work!!!


Wendy :wub:

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Thank you for sharing that with us. It is such a wonderful and amazing thing that you and Allie are doing!!! I know first hand if after John died and we had to move that if my daughters could not take their dog they would have been devastated. I truly believe that he has been a huge help in their recovery from the loss of their Dad.

Hugs & prayers, :wub::wub:


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I'm so sorry, Marty. I'd read this wrong and didn't realize it was you who'd been working so hard on this initiative with Allie at the Humane Assoc.! Many kudos and congrats to YOU, too, of course, for being the driving force behind this!! I'm so glad you're another ally of animals! :wub:

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Oh my dear Maylissa and Wendy, while I am humbled by and grateful for your very kind words, please know that I became aware of Allie's important work via an e-mail sent to me by a colleague ~ I cannot claim any credit for doing anything more than what you two are doing also ~ and that is to do everything we can to spread the word about the PAWS program. We are all in this together, and as we all work together, look at the difference we are making in the world! How wonderful is that? I say Hooray for all of us :wub:

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