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Cooper’s House

Emergency Pet Facility

In 2017 DVIP 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 was built with special venting and bathing facilities to accommodate our furriest victim-survivors. Cooper’s House also includes a comfy couch and decor for victim-survivors and their pet(s) to enjoy time together. We provide safe shelter to approximately 20 pets a year at Cooper’s House and assist with fostering larger animals such as pigs, horses, and ostriches throughout our service region.

In 2022 Cooper’s House expanded to provide outside kennels and dog runs within the backyard of our emergency shelter. The Cooper’s House and the outdoor expansion project were made possible through the generosity of an anonymous donor, Red Rover, and Forever Green Garden Center. The outside play space is located safely adjacent to the youth play area, which allows 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 and the only program in the state that provides in-shelter space for victim-survivors to bring their pets with them when fleeing a dangerous situation.

Over the past 21 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 have also recruited local veterinarians to provide medical screening of pets coming into the shelter free of charge. Through the generous support of various foundations and individual donors are able to provide emergency and preventative care to victim-survivor’s pets that utilize our services in and out of our emergency shelter.

DVIP’s Future Commitment to Pets

In March 2023 DVIP announced the Finding Safety, Building Hope new shelter campaign. The new trauma-informed shelter will include Cooper’s House Sisters Pet Suites. These suites will allow pets from the same home to shelter together or separately and offer the comforts of a home with living room-like features and individual access to the outdoors. As advocates and pet owners know the human-­animal bond can facilitate healing, aid attachment, and provide a source of comfort in the process of healing and finding safety. To learn more about the Finding Safety, Building Hope campaign visit the New Shelter Campaign

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. Supporting our furriest survivors helps to remove the barriers that victim-survivors face every day as they seek safety and a new future without abuse. 

How can I help?

Throughout the year we will need donations of money for services, dog food, cat food, and pet deposits. Other helpful items will include leashes, collars, portable kennels, litter boxes, toys, food/water bowls, bedding, and towels.

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