Urban Resource Institute and Nestlé Purina Unveil the Purina PetHaven, Manhattan’s First-Ever Dog Park in a Domestic Violence Shelter
Dr. Connie Merris, Dr. C. to her friends and coworkers, seriously couldn’t remember when she had seen a face in such bad shape. Sure, she has seen a lot in her 17 years as Medical Examiner, but, if not for the rest of the anatomical structure, there wasn’t much recognizable with the facial structure to even indicate that the subject had been female. “Marty”, Dr. C. said to her assistant, “have we a chart on this one?” “Yes, but you’re not going to like it” Marty, a relatively new Forensic Associate, replied with a bit of reluctance in his voice. “Bottom line it for me” growled Dr. C., as if she knew what the response was going to be. “Domestic abuse, seriously, when’s this crap going to stop? There is nothing domesticated about this!” came the subdued tone, as Dr. C. was visibly disturbed with yet another needless act of violence on her table, the 14th this year.
Marie was only 27, yet the stress had aged her quickly. What started out to be a happy marriage spiraled downward and the misery was upon her before she even realized things were not right. Marie often thought of leaving and once or twice had secretly tried to make plans. The physical abuse was rugged and painful, but try as she might, Marie just couldn’t find a place of sanctuary that would house her and her dogs, Harry and Harriett, her adorable pair of bonded Pugs. There was just no way she could walk away and leave her babies behind, so she continued to endure as best she could. Now Harry and Harriett and in separate cages at a high kill animal control facility and their Mom is dead, beaten beyond belief.
It happens every single day. Fortunately the importance of the bond between families and their pets is being taken seriously. It’s a growing and important trend.
The Urban Resource Institute (URI) which operates four shelters for victims of domestic violence in the NYC area, is making its shelter in the Harlem area pet friendly for victims who wish to bring cats and dogs to the shelter. Purina is sponsoring a new dog park the shelter is building and providing other support to this shelter and its residents who bring pets. Purina also supported URI’s Brooklyn-based shelter that became pet friendly in early 2014.
Urban Resource Institute (URI) and Nestlé Purina PetCare (Purina) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday October 13th to celebrate Manhattan’s first-ever dog park in a domestic violence shelter. The new dog park is located at Urban Women’s Retreat (UWR), a emergency shelter which is part of the URIPALS (People and Animals Living Safely) program. URIPALS is the only program in New York City, and one of the few nationally, that allows survivors of domestic violence to live in shelter with their pets. To date, 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.
Dog park ribbon-cutting celebrates the growth of URIPALS—URI’s initiative to shelter people and pets together—and URI’s partnership with Purina. Nathaniel Fields, CEO and president of URI, is in the center (wearing glasses), and Purina veterinarian Dr. Kurt Venator is next to Mr. Fields on the right. The other people in the photo are local public figures.
Purina, funded the design and construction of the dog park. The Purina Pet Haven will provide survivors of domestic violence and their families (including pets) with a safe and calming retreat in which to heal together while in shelter.
“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.”
URI and Purina’s collaboration in support of URIPALS brings together one of New York City’s largest domestic violence service providers and a leader in the pet care industry around the closely linked issues of animal abuse and domestic violence. 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, along with other dog treats and cat litter. In addition, Purina is working with URI to provide supplies for welcome kits for families bringing pets to Urban Women’s Retreat, 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.
About Urban Resource Institute
Urban Resource Institute (URI) is a leading non-profit organization that provides comprehensive, holistic, and supportive human services programs that help individuals and families in the New York metropolitan area overcome obstacles and better their lives. With a rich 35-year legacy of social service research and expertise, deep community relationships, and a flexible, innovative approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting New York’s most vulnerable populations. URI’s hands-on programs for victims of domestic violence, the developmentally disabled, and people struggling with addiction and substance abuse are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individual, while community outreach initiatives build wider visibility and support for the issues that have an impact on our clients’ quality of life and New York’s urban communities. For more information, please visit www.urinyc.org.
About Nestlé Purina
Nestlé Purina PetCare Company is a global leader in the pet care industry. Nestlé Purina PetCare promotes responsible pet care, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. A premiere global manufacturer of pet products, Nestlé Purina PetCare is part of Swiss-based Nestlé S.A., a global leader in nutrition, health and wellness.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Nestle Purina and I am being compensated for sharing this information.