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South Australia working to provide temporary pet fostering
“It is a really horrible situation that these people find themselves in. They have a pet and the pet is being used in a manipulative way, and they need to get themselves and their pet out.” -Peter Ferguson, RSPCA

Recently, Domestic Violence agencies in regional South Australia have noticed the growing need to provide temporary pet fostering for victims. Unfortunately, domestic violence shelters in Australia usually are not set up to take in pets, and most animal shelters cannot provide services for short-term situations. In South Australia, the RSPCA has stepped in to help this need. They run a program called Safe Kennels and they are looking to expand that program and hopefully foster more pets.

This problem does not only exist in South Australia, it is world-wide. It is clear that programs like this one are extremely helpful.

Read more here.

January 25, 2017
Indiana Recognizes Pets Matter to Domestic Violence Survivors
“If I had been in an abusive situation, I wouldn’t have left if I didn’t know that my dogs, that I could either take them with me or make arrangements for them to be taken care of,” Becker said. “You know your animals are like a part of your family; it’s not just a little thing.”

Indiana bill would protect pets in domestic violence cases
Kaitlin L Lange , [email protected] 2:39 p.m. CT Jan. 19, 2017 | Updated 7:52 a.m. CT Jan. 20, 2017

Local Senator Vaneta Becker proposed legislation that allows courts to give victims possession of pets.

(Photo: Frank Espich/IndyStar 2004 file photo)

Organizations supporting domestic abuse victims have heard countless tales of animals being harmed or used as a tactic for getting victims to stay with abusers.

Oftentimes, those tactics work. Catherine O’Connor, the president and CEO of The Julian Center said they get calls from people in violent relationships concerned about their pets at least once or twice per week. .

State Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, has proposed legislation that would allow courts to give victims possession of pets and to protect those animals. Senate Bill 314 would also direct police officers to retrieve an animal from the house for the victim after the fact.

Up to 40 percent of the time, victims said they delayed leaving out of concern for their pet’s safety, according to the Beacon of Hope Crisis Center, and other studies reported higher numbers.

On Wednesday, various animal advocates and domestic violence organizations spoke in support of the bill during the committee hearing, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

“Victims of family violence are often left deciding whether to stay in an abusive situation or to go and leave behind their beloved pet,” said Vicki Deisner, the Midwest legislative director for ASPCA.

She cited an example of a colleague whose father broke his beagle’s legs. The mother and child continued to stay in the abusive home until the dog died.

Sandra Ziebold, the CEO of Beacon of Hope Crisis Center had similar stories. Recently they responded to an incident where a pit bull was stabbed after getting between an abuser and the victim.

“Those are accounts as a CEO of our community, but also I’m a survivor and my pet was harmed in 2002,” Ziebold said. “Having had this would have been immensely helpful.”

Beacon of Hope Crisis Center offers a foster pet program, but sometimes acquiring the pets either takes too long or they don’t have enough foster families to take the animals. She also said the portion of the bill that enables law enforcement to retrieve the pets is extremely important, because of how often victims ask the center to help get their pets back.

Becker has worked on legislation concerning domestic violence since her initial session in the Indiana House. In 1982 she presented legislation that enabled married couples to file for protective orders, even before divorcing.

Her mom had been threatened by her father when Becker was a child, so the issue is a personal one as well for Becker.

She has never been abused herself, but understands the love people have for their pets. Pictures of her dogs sit on her desk in the Statehouse.

“If I had been in an abusive situation, I wouldn’t have left if I didn’t know that my dogs, that I could either take them with me or make arrangements for them to be taken care of,” Becker said. “You know your animals are like a part of your family; it’s not just a little thing.”

December 7, 2016
How Daisy Empowered Me
Growing up as an only child, there were often times where I was lonely since i didn’t have a sibling to play with. My parents would get in arguments from time to time, nothing too bad, just typical marriage arguments, but it would affect me negatively. During these times I’d notice that my dog was also sensitive to the arguments due to my parents’ tone of voice. i would find my dog, hold her, and we would comfort each other until the argument ended.

Thank you Danielle for sharing an inspirational story of #HowPetsEmpower you!

December 2, 2016
How Carly Empowered Me

“I got Carly 7 years ago as a birthday present. I had wanted a dog for so long and had this new furry ball of happiness in my life. Now, 7 years later, she’s a hugely important part of my family. When I was in high school I was always quiet, kept to myself, and overall didn’t have much in the way of confidence. When I started college I realized that I had anxiety, and though Carly doesn’t have a medical degree, she quickly made herself a part of my treatment. She seemed to always sense when I wasn’t having a good day or when I was feeling down. She would follow me around and sit with me. She would bring me her toys, almost as if she thought the things that made her happy would do the same for me. My anxiety is much more under control now, but on my off days having her around always makes things better.

I’m not the only one in my household she unknowingly helps – she is also a companion for my 97 year old grandmother. My Nana lives alone on the first floor of our house, so when my parents and I would go out somewhere, we would leave Carly with her. We never expected them to hit it off since my Nana had never been a huge dog person, but before we knew it they were the best of friends. Like she does with me, it’s almost like Carly senses that my Nana sometimes needs an extra friend. She sits with her while she reads, follows her around the house, and is a great listener, as my Nana likes to talk to her when they’re spending time together. When we ask Carly if she wants to “go see Nana,” she wags her tail and heads over to the stairs. I’m so grateful to have Carly in my life – I knew that having a dog would make me happy, but I never could have imagined just how much joy she would bring into my life, my parents’ lives, and my Nana’s life.”

Thank you Katie for sharing an inspirational story of #HowPetsEmpower you!

November 21, 2016
How Duke Empowered Me
My father brought me Duke when I was 17 years old. I never had a pet to look after, and I never understood how they could impact you until Duke became my closest friend and my protector.

Duke the German Shepherd ❤️
Duke the German Shepherd ❤️

When I was 17, I made very bad decisions and got involved with many bad people. I started dating someone who had some serious anger issues, and he would usually take his anger out on me. I was terrified and I had no one to talk to. Where I’m from, women are generally oppressed. If I cried for help I would be called a liar and would “embarrass” my family. I was so terrified of my boyfriend at the time. I would never leave my house unless I was in a car with my parents, and I would only go out grocery shopping with my mother. I avoided my friends and started abusing prescription medication.

The only thing that would take my mind off of all of it was going out for a walk with Duke. At that time, he was a huge, one-year-old German Shepherd with much more growing to do. He made me feel safe and protected. He actually saved me from almost getting hit by my ex-boyfriend in a parking lot nearby my house. I was walking on the pavement near the parking lot with Duke when I saw my ex’s car driving towards me. I will never forget the look on his face while he was running towards me with a brick in his hand. In a split second, Duke lunged at my ex and bit at his legs, knocking him backwards. It actually made him run away. The whole situation was so fast, and I was so scared that I didn’t even realize how hard I was crying.

Duke saved my life that day, I truly believe it. However, the reason why I am writing this isn’t only to share how Duke was my hero, but how I was also forced to make one of the hardest decisions I have had to make in my life. I had to give him up.

My father had a rule; no dogs in the house, so Duke was an outdoor dog. I would always bring whatever work I had outside to sit with him, and train him as much as I could. Unfortunately, with more pressure and anxiety building up in my academic and personal life, I began to neglect him. I wouldn’t go on walks as much, we wouldn’t play as much, and we didn’t spend much time together anymore. I cracked under pressure which led to a vicious cycle of drugs, and Duke suffered because of it.

At the time, my parents didn’t know I was struggling with drugs. They only saw that I wasn’t looking after my dog. In their eyes I wasn’t responsible, and it was time for Duke to go. I couldn’t do anything at that point. I felt so defeated, and I was losing my best friend. It was one of the worst feelings of my life.

We set him up with one of my cousins, who had a big piece of land for Duke to run around in, and an indoor dog bed for him to nap in if it got too cold outside. He had met my cousin beforehand, and we made sure they hit it off. Sadly, it was time to say goodbye to Duke. It was time to load him up in the back of my cousin’s truck and say goodbye. I put him on the seat, rubbed his head, and closed the door. My cousin started up the truck and I waved goodbye to Duke as his confused face drove away from me. I haven’t seen Duke since, but I do get updates on his adventures with my cousin – he’s a swimmer!

I miss Duke all the time. He was the best companion, protector, and my only friend for a very long time. He was and still is my hero. I regret that I was not able to give him the care and love he deserved. I was not responsible or fit enough to do that at the time, but now I am proudly 2 years clean. I am very glad that during that time in my life I was able to make the decision for Duke to live a better life. It made me strong, and it helped me realize #HowPetsEmpower people on a daily basis.

—Anonymous

July 26, 2016
Against All Odds
“This young girl was petting Bella for nearly two minutes before she realized that Bella was missing her front leg. This is that moment. ‘Oh my god, we have SOOOO much in common.’ She said, after hearing Bella’s story of perseverance and joy for life.”
“This young girl was petting Bella for nearly two minutes before she realized that Bella was missing her front leg. This is that moment. ‘Oh my god, we have SOOOO much in common.’ She said, after hearing Bella’s story of perseverance and joy for life.”

At PetsEmpower, we celebrate the positive effects that healing pet relationships have on people. Every pet owner understands that our pets are always available for unconditional love and support. However, the positive benefits of the relationship are not one way, as devoted pet parents often provide the same healing to their four-legged friends. This is one of those stories.

Robert Kugler is a Marine Veteran who spends his time giving back to the community and traveling across the country with his beloved god, Bella. Together, the dynamic duo explore the unknown, meet new people, and touch hearts in the process.

Bella is a fun-loving, fiercely loyal, energetic young labrador. She also has only three legs. Bella was given three to six months to live. That was eight months ago.

Its clear that a close-knit pet relationship has immeasurable benefits to people, emotionally and physically. But what the Robert and Bella have also proven is that the strong bond between humans and their pups benefits both parties. Not only is Bella’s life filled with love and adventure, but she is also defying the naysayers who said she would never make it this far. Robert and Bella’s story is beautiful and inspiring, and we are proud to help share it with the world.

For pictures and heartwarming stories about Robert and Bella, check out their Instagram here.

July 21, 2016
Clear the Shelters 2016
“Animal shelters across the country will come together July 23 for Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption initiative that aims to connect animals in need with loving new families.”
“Animal shelters across the country will come together July 23 for Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption initiative that aims to connect animals in need with loving new families.”

This Saturday, July 23, is the second annual “Clear the Shelters” event. This nationwide initiative works to place shelter animals in loving homes and help reduce the financial and labor burden on non-profit pet shelters across the country. Hundreds of shelters partner with NBC Owned Television Stations and the Telemundo Station Group to adopt out animals into caring, responsible families. Last year, nearly 20,000 animals left their shelters and became treasured family members.

Rescuing an animal from a shelter can be one of the most rewarding and life-changing decisions you can make. Often, what people discover after adopting a pet is that the animal is the one who does the rescuing.

For more information about “Clear the Shelters,” incredible stories, and tips about pet adoption, visit cleartheshelters.com. Once the day begins, you can even keep track of the number of animals adopted through the real-time adoption tracker.

And if you’re not ready to commit to adopting a dog of your own, consider temporarily fostering a dog for someone in need. Contact us for more information on how you can help make a positive impact on the lives of a pet owner and their dog.

July 13, 2016
ASPCA International Reunites Veterans with Their Dogs
“This former Marine rescued a puppy in a war-torn country, but perhaps the best question to ask is, ‘who rescued whom?’”
“This former Marine rescued a puppy in a war-torn country, but perhaps the best question to ask is, ‘who rescued whom?’”

It happens frequently that a military soldier finds a dog while overseas. That dog is often the only family and comfort that a soldier has while in the midst of a war in a foreign and dangerous country. But what happens to that dog when the soldier gets discharged from service and finally gets to return home?

That is where ASPCA International comes in. This group of dedicated animal lovers works to return these dogs to their best friends, the soldiers who rescued and helped raise them. The organization’s Operation Baghdad Pups Program has reunited hundreds of dogs with their military heroes.

One such heartwarming story unfolded at Boston’s Logan International Airport, where a former Marine officer was greeted on the ground by the 5-month old puppy he had rescued while on active duty. Christopher Smith was serving in Iraq when he found and rescued the then-2-month-old puppy. They became fast friends and helped each other get through the harsh realities of war. Thanks to ASPCA International, they are together again.

To learn more about the reunion, watch a video here.

July 5, 2016
PetsEmpower Attends the Classy Awards
“The Classy Awards exist to put a spotlight on the most remarkable changemakers of our generation.”
“The Classy Awards exist to put a spotlight on the most remarkable changemakers of our generation.”

PetsEmpower was proud to be a part of the 2016 Classy Awards. The awards are hosted by the Collaborative, a showcase for nonprofit leaders and social innovators to share, inspire, and bring about a positive change in the world.

Our own Jordan Ross attended the awards in order to spread the work and message of PetsEmpower, as well as to learn from countless other groups, speakers, and social visionaries.

To learn more about the Collaborative and the Classy Awards, and to see some of the other impactful organizations who attended, click here.

June 30, 2016
Dogs offer comfort to Orlando Victims
“Comfort dogs from around the country have been brought to Orlando to offer just a small moment of peace for the victims and those affected by the terror attack.”
“Comfort dogs from around the country have been brought to Orlando to offer just a small moment of peace for the victims and those affected by the terror attack.”

Studies have proven, time and time again, that animals can help people de-stress, deal with illness, and overcome tragedy. Knowing this, certain organizations train dogs to provide comfort for those who need it most, and the pups are used in a variety of situations to help people in different circumstances.

After the attack in Orlando, FL, trained therapy dogs from six different states across the nation were brought in to help those affected heal. These loveable pooches offer support and comfort simply by giving kisses and tail-wags while accepting pats and warm embraces.

The movement has garnered a lot of attention and support on social media. As one Facebook commenter put it, “The beauty of these dogs is they don’t care…gay, straight, bi, transgendered, Christian, Muslim, Jew…white, black, brown…they only love.” And if there were ever people that needed that kind of unconditional love right now, it’s those who lost loved ones in the Orlando attack.

Learn more about this effort and watch a touching video here.