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Ruff Haven keeps pets with their people

Words by Smiley Team

When you have pets you often have to worry about places to house them when you go on vacation, or who might watch them if you have to undergo a medical procedure. Something that goes under the radar is what happens to the pets of people who go into places like rehab. 

People dealing with alcohol and drug addictions don’t always have consistent support. Often, they’re homeless or facing homelessness – and with that, finding a place for your pet while you undergo treatment can be next to impossible. 

One Utah non-profit is looking to make things a bit more manageable.

Ruff Haven Crisis Sheltering is a nonprofit formed in 2020 that focuses on providing crisis sheltering to people with pets who may be experiencing homelessness, addiction treatment, or other vulnerabilities.

“After working with many people experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable populations they saw a tremendous need for temporary crisis sheltering services in the community,” say Ruff Haven. “(The founders) believe the future of animal welfare will strongly focus on pet retention and keeping pets with their people whenever possible.”

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Ruff Haven is partnering with Odyssey House, Utah’s largest comprehensive addiction program, to provide three months of free pet boarding while their owners seek treatment.

The process starts with an application that follows an assessment of the person’s situation, and the animal’s health and wellbeing, including vaccination, and if they’re fixed or not. Then, after clearing the application, the animal is placed with a foster, where the pet owner can get consistent access to them, including weekly texts and visitation while they’re in treatment. 

For visitation, the pets are brought to a facility called Dogs All Day.

“It’s a good morale boost for them,” Beth Henry, Ruff Haven’s foster coordinator told the Salt Lake Tribune. “Sometimes we have animals that are kept here (at Dogs All Day) because their person likes to see them consistently.”

Since opening Ruff Haven has helped over 320 families and 500 pets.

Inspired to act?

SUPPORT: Find out more about Ruff Haven on its website. They accept donations and have other ways that you can help on their page.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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