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A Path to Safety.
We're Here to Help.

You should never be forced to choose between your own safety and that of your companion animal(s). We are here to help you escape by providing a safe, temporary home for your pet(s).

 

 

Please note: we are not an emergency service.

We will respond to your application as quickly as we can—usually within 24 hours.

It may take up to three weeks to place your pet.

Before you Begin

1

If you need a safe place to stay, visit sheltersafe.ca or Mulberry to look for a shelter.

Pet-friendly options are listed. You do not need to be staying at a shelter in order to use our program. We serve clients of all gender identities, sexual orientations, and ages.

2

Choose your referee.

You will need to provide the name and email address of a professional who can confirm that you are a survivor of family violence or human trafficking. This can be a caseworker, nurse, police officer, counselor, doctor, Violence Against Women worker, etc.

3

 Fill out one Application for each pet you would like to enroll in our program.

The Application can be found below by clicking the "Apply Now" button. It will take you approximately 20 minutes to fill out one Application.

It can take up to three weeks to place your pet, once we receive your Application(s).

4

Check your email / phone.

We will email you or call you to acknowledge your Application within 48 hours. If you do not have a safe / secure email address or phone number to use, please use the email of someone close to you that you trust, and let them know we will be contacting them.

We will also contact your referee to confirm your eligibility.

5

Drop off your pet(s).

It can take up to three weeks to place your pet.

 

When we have found a foster for your pet(s), we will arrange a time and place at which you can drop off your pet. Please do not share the name or address of this drop off location with anyone. Once you have dropped off your pet(s), our volunteer will pick them up and bring them to their temporary home.

6

When you are ready, reunite with your pet(s).

We can foster them for up to one year, and we will provide veterinary care for them if they are ill. Let us know when you are ready to take them back, and we will arrange a date and time for you to pick them up.

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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible for this pet-safekeeping program?

If you are a survivor of family violence (intimate partner abuse / violence, domestic violence, elder abuse, parental abuse) or human trafficking, and you have a referee who can confirm this, you are eligible for our program.

What if my pet gets sick while s/he is with you?

If your pet gets sick, we will arrange for them to see a veterinarian. The contract you sign allows us to provide medical care to your pet. If your pet is very sick, we will include you in decisions regarding their care plan. Veterinary care is free of charge to you.

Who will be taking care of my pet? Can I trust them?

We choose our foster families very carefully. They all have police records checks, and they are all animal lovers who are experienced in caring for pets. We also make sure to place the right pet in the right home so that everyone is happy and comfortable.

What if I am not eligible?

 

What do I do?

If you are not a survivor of one of these four circumstances, please take a look here for additional options. These will help guide you in your next steps to find a safe spot for your pet.

Will you euthanize ("put down") my pet?

No. Euthanasia is always a last resort and it must be strongly recommended by a vet. In all serious medical situations we will try to get in touch with you multiple times before making any decisions. 

My dog has bitten someone. Is that ok?

We deal with this on a case by case basis. We understand that dogs are protective of their owners, and we will discuss the context of the bite(s) with you before making a decision. It is very important that you tell us about your dog's complete behavioural history.

What if you can't find a foster for my pet(s)?

Unfortunately we cannot always help everyone who needs our service. We will work with you to figure out another plan for your pet if we cannot find a foster. Please take a look here to learn about other options for you and your pet.

Can my pets be placed together in the same foster home?

We will try our best to place bonded animals together, but this is not always possible. If you have multiple animals, please let us know if there are pairs that are very bonded and must stay together. It is difficult for us to place more than two animals in one home.

How long can my pet stay in your program?

We can foster your pet for up to one year. We will check in with you regularly and if the one-year mark approaches, we will discuss what options there are for you and your pet once you leave our program.

Can I visit my pet while s/he is in the program?

No. For your safety and privacy, we do not allow visits. However, we will send you photos and updates on your pet every three to four weeks. We will also change your pet's tags, if they have them, to ensure that your privacy is respected.

My pet is not vaccinated / spayed / neutered.

Is that ok?

Yes. If your pet is not vaccinated, we will have that done while they are in our program. We will also ask you if we can spay / neuter your pet while they are in our program, free of charge to you.

How do I reunite with my pet when I'm ready?

You let us know when you have found safe, long-term housing, and we will arrange transportation to bring your pet to you. Please give us as much of a "heads up" as possible when you are ready to reunite, and we will work as fast as we can to make it happen!

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Are you Referring a Client?

Caseworkers / law enforcement / health professionals: please visit our "How to Refer a Client" page to learn about referring clients to our program.

You can submit Applications on behalf of your clients using
the "Apply Now" button above.

Additional Resources
Additional Resources

Additional Resources for Pet-Safekeeping

ShelterSafe

This map shows you all shelters in Canada, plus pet-friendly options for sheltering.

On-Site Sheltering

These VAW shelters allow pets onsite. Call the Assaulted Women's Helpline to get connected (866.863.0511)​

  • North York Women's Shelter (Toronto)

  • Bethesda House (Durham Region)

  • Anova (London)

  • Family Transition Place (Orangeville)

Fred Victor

Their Bethlehem United Shelter provides long-term housing support for all genders, singles, and couples, with pets. Call call 311 or Central Intake at 416-338-4766, 1-877-338-3398 toll free.

Toronto Humane Society

THS's Urgent Care Program provides pet-fostering for people in crisis or transition​.

The FAM Network (Ottawa)

This organization provides pet fostering for women staying at VAW shelters in Ottawa and surrounding areas

OSPCA

The OSPCA has limited emergency pet sheltering options; contact the location closest to you to discuss.

 

Seniors' Safety Line

If you are a senior experiencing abuse or neglect, SafePet Ontario can foster your pet. You can also call this support line for additional resources (866.299.1011)

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HelpingPawsTO

If you are at a shelter or are using 24-hour crisis services in Toronto, staff there can help you connect with free veterinary care using this program.

The Farley Foundation

If you have a veterinarian for your pet, they can help you apply for funding to cover veterinary costs for your pet(s) if you are eligible.

Safe Havens Mapping Project

This website can help you find pet-friendly options in the States and in Canada.

Domesticshelters.org

For American clients, this site will assist you in finding shelter in your state.

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