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Safe houses now pet friendly at Ann Davis Transition Society facilities in Chilliwack

‘Being able to bring the along family pet a great comfort to women and children’ says ADTS head
Volunteers creating a dog run at one of two transition house facilities run by Ann Davis Transition Society (ADTS) on Aug. 14, 2020. ADTS is thanking all its supporters and donors involved in the project including: Wedler Engineering (Andre Gagne, Julie Vincent, Jonathan Funk, Kolby Giesler and Glen Darychuck); and Universal Construction (Jeff Boychuk and Ryan Shingle); and Brian Harding, who provided landscaping. (Ann Davis Transition Society)

Those seeking shelter to escape family violence in Chilliwack can now bring their pets into the transition house.

With only 10 pet-friendly shelters operating in B.C., the Ann Davis Transition Society of Chilliwack now has two of them, according to Patti MacAhonic, ADTS executive director.

Volunteers donated materials, equipment use and their labour recently to construct two enclosed dog runs at the transition house facilities run by ADTS in Chilliwack.

“Some women and families will not leave abusive situations if they cannot have their pets with them,” MacAhonic said. “And unfortunately abusers may abuse or threaten to abuse family pets as a form of control.

“Being able to bring along the family pet is a great comfort to the women and children who must flee their homes, so we are very happy to provide this service.”

Local businesses and individuals have generously chipped in to offset all the costs of the project.

“We are truly grateful for this demonstration of community support. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, this is so appreciated,” added MacAhonic. “These caring businesses and individuals have made a ‘paws-itive’ difference for so many.”

It has been well established that pets can provide emotional support by increasing oxytocin levels. Oxytocin helps to slow heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and helps prevent production of the stress hormone, cortisol.

ADTS offers safe haven for those fleeing abuse, providing education, advocacy, youth programs, and community outreach, as well as two transition houses that have in total amassed 6,600 beds stays for women and 1,450 beds stays for children each year.

“Now we can add five pets per day per location,” the ADTS official said.

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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