Abusers often threaten to harm the family pet if victims leave or resist. Sarasota’s Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center now offers safe shelter for pets as well as families. The family can visit their pet at the kennel, providing “comfort, reassurance and healing,” says Mary Ellen Mancini, director of development.
A few years ago, volunteers for Meals on Wheels noticed that many clients were sharing their meals with their dogs or cats because they couldn’t afford to buy pet food. Through a grant from the Humane Society of Sarasota County, they can now deliver dinner for the family pet, too.
After witnessing a heartbroken soldier give his dog to the shelter because he was deploying overseas, Donte’s Den founder Marsha Panuce created the Semper Paw program, providing an air-conditioned den, play space and free medical care while the soldier is away. “While they take care of us, we take care of their best friend,” Panuce says.