DVIS Mutt Strut 2015

posted September 28th, 2015 by
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Let Your ‘Mutt Strut’ For A Good Cause

By Anna Holton-Dean

 

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Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS) in Tulsa is hosting its second annual Mutt Strut Saturday, Oct. 17 at Hunter Park. The dog walk, or “mutt strut,” is designed to raise awareness for the DVIS emergency shelter’s newly-opened kennel, which is the first of its kind in an Oklahoma domestic violence shelter.

Domestic Violence Intervention Services’ new kennel offers shelter to the most helpless of victims.

By bringing your pooch out to participate, you can help domestic violence victims and their pets transition to a better life. Admission to Mutt Strut is an in-kind donation to the kennel, such as gentle pet shampoos, blankets, pet beds, stainless steel water and food bowls, non-allergenic cat litter, bleach wipes and disposable gloves. The first 100 participants to arrive on Oct. 17 will receive dog treats from the Bridges Barkery made by employees of the Bridges Foundation.

Dress your dog in his or her finest costume for the pet contest. He or she may even be crowned king or queen. Have a matching costume for yourself? One winner will also win the title of “Best Owner/Dog Duo.”

DVIS began planning for the kennel last year and is pleased to have officially opened to clients and their pets this past July at its emergency shelter.

The kennel can house up to seven dogs at a time and features a 200-square-foot air-conditioned and heated interior and a 180- square-foot covered exterior space. A 1,773-square-foot outside dog run also gives them a place to run carefree and exercise. The separate cat facility can house up to four cats.

DVIS recognized the fact that many domestic violence victims are pet owners and their pets are a serious consideration when deciding to leave or stay in an abusive situation, Rachel Smith, DVIS community relations coordinator, says.

“Often an abusive partner will kill a pet left behind to get back at the victim for leaving,” she says. “As nearly all clients entering the DVIS emergency shelter have very little or no income, boarding their pets is not usually an option. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 71 percent of pet-owning women entering shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets    for revenge or to psychologically control victims. Now the new DVIS shelter offers a kennel for dogs and cats to take away the stress a client might feel if they don’t want to leave their pet behind.”

DVIS Executive Director Tracey Lyall says it’s not only a stress reducer but also a way to ensure “all members of the family are safe, including pets.”

“Often an abusive partner will target a    pet as revenge so we are grateful to offer this for women and men who are abused,” she says. With the kennel’s opening, she says the organization expects to see an influx of pet residents as the word spreads about this vital service.

The kennel recently hosted its first furry guest, Poppy*. During his stay, the DVIS kennel tech made sure Poppy was up-to-date on vaccinations and gave him a flea bath. He also wrote a letter of good behavior for Poppy’s owner to use when she was ready to move into her own apartment.

Another recent DVIS client brought her own dog food for use during her pet’s stay at the kennel, but was happy to receive a toy for her pooch. Most clients aren’t able to come prepared with pet food or paraphernalia so receiving simple items such as blankets, pet beds, treats and toys is a huge relief and source of joy and comfort in an otherwise negative situation.

“It’s important to DVIS to keep families and pets safe and give their owners peace of mind,” Lyall says. “It’s one less thing for a victim to worry about as they prepare to leave their abuser, and that’s key.”

Any resource, such as DVIS’ new kennel, that gives victims the strength and confidence to leave abusive relationships is a worthy cause and something other pet owners can feel good about supporting.

Visit dvis.org to register. For more information, contact Rachel Smith at (918) 508-2711 or [email protected].

 

 

*Name changed to protect privacy.

 

 

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015

Time: 9 a.m.

Location: Hunter Park

Admission: An in-kind donation: pet shampoo, blankets/pet beds, stainless steel water and food bowls, non-allergenic cat litter, bleach wipes and disposable gloves.

 

Dress your dog in his/her finest costume. Two lucky pooches will be crowned king and queen of the Mutt Strut. One winner will also win the title of “Best Owner/Dog Duo.” Visit dvis.org to register. For more information, contact Rachel Smith at (918) 508-2711 or [email protected]

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