On October 13th, the Urban Resource Institute and Nestlé Purina PetCare hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate Manhattan’s very first dog park in a domestic violence shelter. Located at the Urban Women’s Retreat in New York City, the dog park is part of the URIPALS program. URIPALS, or People and Animals Living Safely, is the only program in NYC that allows survivors of domestic violence to bring their pets with them into shelters. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be the victim of domestic violence and go to live in a shelter – but as a pet owner, I can only imagine that it must be that much more heartbreaking to have to leave a pet behind when escaping to the safety of a shelter.
URIPALS has helped 43 families with 63 pets, including 38 cats, 18 dogs, and a range of smaller animals, such as reptiles and fish, escape domestic violence. This is a program that deserves all the support it can get, and it warms my heart that Purina is helping to support this program, first by sponsoring the creation of the Purina Play Haven at URI’s Safe Haven shelter in Brooklyn in 2014, which was the first ever dog park at a domestic violence shelter in New York City, and now by funding the design and construction of the Purina Pet Haven in Manhattan.
The Purina Pet Haven provides the survivors of domestic violence and their families a safe and calming retreat to spend time with the pets while they are in the shelter. Dog lovers know how theraputic the company of man’s best friend can be, and I can just imagine that the company of our fur babies is even more theraputic when in this situation – this is such a wonderful thing Purina has done!
“Through the URIPALS program we have witnessed first-hand how important it is for survivors to have their beloved pets by their side while they heal,” said Nathaniel Fields, President and CEO of URI. “From early on in the URIPALS program, Purina has been committed to supporting survivors of domestic violence and their pets. We know that the new dog park will play an integral part in helping our clients heal, and for that we are extremely grateful to Purina.”
United by the belief that people and pets are better together, URI and Purina are helping reduce barriers to safety for families with pets in domestic violence situations and hope to continue raising awareness about the impact of abuse on the whole family – including pets.
“For most pet owners, the bond with their pet is incredibly strong, and for people in abusive relationships their pet can be an important source of comfort,” said Dr. Kurt Venator, Purina veterinarian. “Purina is very proud to support the Urban Resource Institute in its efforts to keep families and their pets together during this time of healing.”
As part of its support for the URIPALS program, Purina is also donating Purina ONE brand dog food, Purina Cat Chow brand cat food, dog treats, cat litter, as well as working with URI to provide supplies for welcome kits for the families bringing their pets to the Urban Women’s Retreat center, including pet travel carriers, safety gates, pet beds, pet feeding and watering bowls, cat scratching posts, leashes and pet toys.
To learn more about URIPALS and for tips on keeping the entire family safe in domestic violence situations, please visit www.urinyc.org.