As a Shade Tree Shelter board member in Las Vegas, I received a call in 2005 that changed my life and the lives of many voiceless victims. The Executive Director asked if I could come immediately to the shelter to speak to a new client that would not check in to the facility. Awaiting me was a young woman with all of her possessions in her hands – a garbage bag filled with clothes and most importantly, a cat carrier holding her only loyal and true friend in life.
After a history of abuse that begin in her early teenage years with a trusted adult, she finally had the courage to arrive on the doorsteps of the shelter ready to take a healthy and positive step forward free of abuse. Her courage was slipping away because she was told that while she was welcome, her best friend, who just happened to have four legs, could not enter the facility with her. She was ready to turn back and felt that the life that she knew must be a life that she deserved.
Later that day, I left with her most loyal companion to serve as a foster parent so that she could receive the safety and support she needed to start a new life. I was humbled by her trust and faith in me to care for her pet and vowed on that day to remove the “no pets allowed” sign on the doors of domestic violence shelters, starting in Nevada.
Noah’s Animal House in Las Vegas is a full service boarding facility on the grounds of the largest women & children’s shelter in Nevada. It was built in 2007 as our flagship operation after recognizing how many other arrivals at The Shade Tree Shelter were desperately seeking the same safety and protection for their pets. After nine years in operation, we have cared and protected over 1,000 pets for 90,000 boarding nights for the women and children at The Shade Tree. What we now know is that women won’t leave their pets behind to be abused as a payback and with Noah’s Animal House, they no longer have to make that choice.
As a result of all our work in Las Vegas NV, we recognize the need to replicate our original model and we strive to continue in this role as a means of advocating and servicing those most in need. Our board is proud to announce the expansion of our services to Northern Nevada with a second location opening in early 2017 in partnership with Committee to Aid Abused Women (CAAW).
Staci Columbo Alonso
Noah’s Las Vegas @ The Shade Tree
Noah’s Reno @ CAAW
Bayer donates $20,000 to Noah’s Animal House Reno to support survivors of domestic violence, both women and pets during Domestic Violence Awareness Month (Oct 2016).
PAWS: Share the Story campaign also generates awareness for the PAWS Act.
There are several ways people across the country can support the PAWS Act and raise awareness for this important cause. Those interested in this cause can take initiative by:
Sending an electronic letter to their local congressman/woman and/or state senator.
Sharing the educational video on social media channels to help raise awareness.
Having pets wear purple from now through the end of October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
To learn more and watch a short video about Bayer Animal Health’s “PAWS: Share the Story” campaign, go to http://www.petandwomensafety.com.
“No Pets Allowed” does not have to be the answer given by US domestic violence shelters when a women and child need to flee an abusive situation. Noah’s Animal House Foundation will deliver a full service operating solution to select domestic violence shelters seeking the addition of a pet program to their organization.
Eliminate the final barrier that is prohibiting domestic violence victims from leaving their abuser by providing on-site shelter for their pets.
Work side by side with domestic violence shelters to provide temporary on-site shelter & care for the pets of the victims of domestic violence.
Compassion – With respect for our diverse communities and a willingness to put ourselves in the shoes of others, we act from the heart.
Collaboration – We believe in the power of working together, and we are thankful for those who help us help others.
Innovation – The status quo is yesterday’s news; we believe new ideas will drive efficient solutions to the oldest of problems. Communities will expect to see collaboration between non-profit organizations.
Stewardship – By planning ahead and holding ourselves accountable, we ensure the responsible and sustainable use of resources in the long-term.
Transparency – We operate in the public eye, with integrity and respect for those who fund us, rely on us, and give us their time and trust.
Urgency – It is not enough to plan; we must act with all speed to help those who are being abused.