Emergency Pet Facility
DVIP has renovated a room in our emergency shelter, that has access to our backyard, to include two separate rooms with dutch doors for larger animals and a separate space with three small pet havens. The entire space has special venting and bathing facilities. We have also including a comfy couch and decor for survivors and their pet to enjoy time together. We serve approximately 20 pets a year at Cooper’s House.
Our future goal is to add outside kennels and dog runs, that are separate from the youth play area, to allow pets to have more space and time to play outdoors and interact with their family.
DVIP’s Historical Commitment to Fostering Pets
Up to 70% of domestic violence victims report having a pet. Abusers threaten, injure, and at times kill pets in order to control their victims and to create an environment of fear within the home. Approximately 50% of women have refused to leave a dangerous situation for fear of their pets’ safety. DVIP is one of two domestic violence programs in Iowa that has an organized safe pet program.
Over the past 15 years, DVIP has raised funds and recruited community support to foster and provide critical resources (medical/food) to pets. DVIP has facilitated the fostering of horses, a donkey, pigs, rats, snakes, bearded dragons, rabbits, and of course cats and dogs.
Many times our volunteer foster partners work with our families in crisis to make sure they see their pets throughout their stay in the shelter, but this doesn’t replace being with your pet when you leave your home.
In 2015, DVIP was awarded a national grant from RedRover to expand our support services. This funding helped us realize our goal of providing kennel services in our emergency shelter. DVIP staff and our Board of Directors understand the therapeutic value of families and pets staying together when they are in crisis.
We have maintained our foster program, but by adding kennels we provide flexibility and unique support. Our partners have been fantastic in preparing for this change. With the funds from RedRover, we purchased the small pet havens, appropriate flooring, venting, and bathing units.
The Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center assisted with training our staff and volunteers who are committed to Cooper’s House. We also recruited local veterinarians that provide medical screening of pets coming into the shelter free of charge.
Also, DVIP will be providing therapy animals, such as our therapy-dog-in-training, Molly! Research shows that pet therapy has profound impacts both personally for victims and can also positively impact the shelter environment. Pet therapy reduces stress and provides support during times of crisis or conflict. This is also true for victims that will be able to bring their pet to shelter through our Pet Program. The human-animal bond can facilitate healing, aid attachment, and provide a source of comfort to survivors and their children.
Pet visits at Cooper’s House can be spontaneous and visits last as long or as short as needed; or can consist of specified goals and objectives for each individual, focusing on nurturing, grief, loss and rebuilding trust.
How can I help?
Throughout the year we will need donations of money for services, dog food, cat food, and litter. Other helpful items will include leashes, collars, portable kennels, litter boxes, toys, food/water bowls, bedding, and towels.