As natural disasters, the global pandemic, and war underscore, the human-animal bond is an extremely powerful one. Not only do people cherish their pets, the relationship between them is important to human and community health (AVMA).
The human-animal bond can also put humans in need of social services – and their pets – at greater risk. For example, nearly half (up to 48%) of domestic violence victims remain with an abuser out of fear for their pets’ safety (Urban Resource Institute); more pet-friendly domestic violence shelters would allow more victims to seek safe shelter. Similarly, pets can be a barrier – or an open door – to ending a person’s homelessness (National Alliance to End Homelessness).
A recent survey by pet care site Rover found that to adjust for increasing housing prices or financial constraints, pet parents are trading down on things like food, treats, and accessories for their dogs. In some cases, owners have been forced to give up their pets (CNBC).
In her August 24, 2022 op-ed in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Animal Grantmakers member, Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities, calls upon “grantmakers that support vulnerable populations” to “recognize that pets are an integral part of families and that helping pets thrive deserves a place in programming priorities.” Read the full op-ed, “Non-profits That Serve People Should Also Support Their Pets”, to learn more.