Abuse affects the whole family. More than half of domestic violence victims are reluctant to leave their abusers because they’d also be abandoning their pets. Thanks to community partnerships with local veterinarians, SICSA Pet Adoption Center, and the Humane Society, YWCA Dayton connects women entering our domestic violence shelters – the only ones in Montgomery and Preble counties – with concurrent animal shelters so the whole family can heal.
“This year is our 17th year of serving Preble County. We provide the only 24/7 crisis and domestic violence hotline and emergency shelter in Preble,” explained Courtney Griffith, director of rural strategy. “Our shelter services offer a wide variety of programming to help women and children improve personal safety, encourage self-sufficiency, and empower them to survive, cope, and re-enter the community safely. So far in 2021, we have already provided more than 1,800 bed nights.”
On Saturday, Oct. 16, the community showed their support by helping raise more than $13,000 for YW’s shelter services at the sixth annual Purple Paws: Preble Pets Against Domestic Violence. The event, which was presented by Parker Hannifin, set a new fundraising record, garnering donations from sponsorships, tickets, Pet Showcase entries, and raffle and food sales.
Activities included free pet grooming, treats from Two Girls Cookies, adoptable and foster pets from Wonder Dogs and Purrfect Additions, pet prints with Paint the Towne, and free face painting courtesy of youth peer educators in Shift, YWCA Dayton’s newest prevention education program to help the next generation build strong, safe, and healthy relationships.
The event’s most popular attraction was its Pet Showcase, which featured both an online and an in-person component this year. More than three dozen contestants competed for titles including Influencer (online pet photo contest winner), Most “Not Dog,” Best Trick, “Twinning” (pet and owner lookalikes), People’s Choice, and Best In Show. Winners included: Best in Show & People’s Choice – Jackson; “Twinning” – Boone; Most “Not Dog” – Xena; Best Trick – Maggie; and Influencer – Pacha. While the judges tabulated the results, YW staff led the crowd in animal-themed trivia.
“These last 18 months, the pandemic has made a tough situation even harder for those in abusive relationships,” Griffith said. “We have heard that home is the safest place to be, but for many, home is not a safe space. Since March 2020, calls to our crisis hotline have tripled in lethality, which is how likely a situation is to cause immediate harm or even death. Our incredible shelter services team has been on the frontline, making changes to increase cleaning and distancing, and the end is not yet in sight. Our community’s support helps us ensure this critical work continues, no matter what, and provide direct impact – meals for shelter families, PPE for shelter staff, transportation.”
Staff hope to continue expanding the event in 2022, with additional food and entertainment options being planned. Save the date: the seventh annual Purple Paws: Preble Pets Against Domestic Violence will take place Oct. 1. Learn more at www.ywcadayton.org/purplepaws.