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  • Writer's pictureInterval House of Ottawa

Pet housing update & call for volunteers

Updated: Apr 26, 2019

It has happened! IHO has already have five furry family members reside with us in the pet housing area! For those of you who have been following the Escaping Violence Together project, you will remember that IHO is the only shelter in Ottawa and now the third in Ontario to accept pets into residence with their family members.

It has been only a couple of months, but we have already supported three families (three women and seven children) in being able to leave a home where violence was commonplace. As you know, when a woman with a pet considers fleeing abuse but there is nowhere to house her pet, she has little choice but to: (1) remain in the home and subject herself, her children, and her pets to continued violence, (2) flee and leave the pets behind in a dangerous situation, or (3) choose to be separated from her pet.

Pet housing living room with purple wall, couch, chairs, TV

Now, we are seeing women and children spending time in the pet friend living room playing with both human and furry children. Having pets in the shelter is preserving the bond between women, children, and pets that brings joy and comfort to all of them. We know that pets provide emotional and psychological benefits by reducing stress, anxiety, loneliness, and isolation. They increase women's ability to handle difficult situations and trauma and are seen as important sources of non-judgmental social support. Providing a place for pets to live on-site at IHO goes a long way in supporting women and children as they build their lives free from violence.

Want to help out with pets?

Gray tabby cat with eyes closed being patted

We are looking for volunteers to assist with the day-to-day demands and maintenance of the pet housing area and the animals in shelter! Some tasks these volunteers will perform include assisting with pet exercise such as dog walking and playing with pets; providing companionship to pets; doing laundry; cleaning litter boxes; cleaning pet housing units; and cleaning the pet housing living rooms.

All people (women, men, non-binary folk) aged 16+ are welcome to volunteer in the pet housing area. Volunteers must complete a Police Record Check Level 3 - Vulnerable Sector Check before beginning volunteer activities.

Please contact if you are interested in learning more about this opportunity.

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