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Embrace to make pet-friendly improvements to safe shelter with help of RedRover grant

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There are many reasons someone might chose to stay in a domestic violence situation but Embrace never wants leaving behind a pet to be one of them.

“You never know if the animal companion could become a victim themselves. Often times if we would say no to the survivor that they’re animal companion can’t come, then they don’t come to shelter themselves because they do stay behind. That’s not a great solution in our mind. They’ve reached out for help,” said Judy Bubolz. She’s Embrace’s shelter coordinator in Ladysmith and the housing engagement coordinator.

Bubolz said everything from dogs and cats to lizards and birds have come through their shelter.

“It’s more common than you would think. Sometimes people are surprised to know that we are pet friendly and they’ve already made other arrangements for the pet to go to their family member or friend,” she said. “We’re just really hopeful that the more the word gets out people are going to say, ‘Cool. I can go here and it’s like a full-service stop.’”

To help ensure pets and can stay with their people, Embrace secured a $36,000 grant from RedRover. RedRover is an organization that provides financial assistance and support to people and organizations that work with pets.

It will be used to make the shelter more pet-friendly with things like pet-friendly flooring, update the kennel space, and make sure there are plenty of pet supplies on hand.

The grant will also help clients who aren’t in emergency shelter but still need assistance, according to Mia Bleicher who is a Domestic Violence Coordinator in Embrace’s Price County Office.

“There’s a larger population of people who aren’t in an immediate life or death situation that we do serve regularly in our community. Just helping them take care of their pets so that way it’s not them having to chose between eating that night or getting their pet healthcare that they need,” said Bleicher.

According to RedRover fewer than 25% of domestic violence shelters allow pets of survivors.

Embrace serves domestic and sexual violence survivors in Price, Barron, Rusk, and Washburn Counties.

In 2020, Embrace served 601 people with in-depth domestic and sexual violence advocacy services. 25 percent of all people served were children and youth, and 4 percent were age 60 or older. 1,029 people accessed Embrace's advocacy support for the first time through the 24/7 crisis line. 45 survivors at high-risk of homicide received 503 nights of safe shelter services including comprehensive advocacy-based counseling and case management support. 34 percent of shelter residents left shelter for stable housing, and 10 percent rented a new, safe home.

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