Until faced with a crisis, very few of us think about what will happen to our pets if we suddenly need to leave home. But this question becomes very real, and often very stressful, for people in emergency situations,
What happens to the beloved family pet, for example, if a single person falls suddenly ill and has to spend time in hospital? If there are no family or friends able to step up, what can they do? The same question can be asked about the pets of people experiencing sudden homelessness, or those fleeing from domestic violence.
And sadly, the number of households experiencing family violence rose significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the statistics revealed in the Victorian Government’s Ending Family Violence annual report, there were 91,144 family violence incidents reported in Victoria in 2021 – 7.8 per cent higher than in 2019.
But in these already stressful and difficult circumstances, the idea of having to surrender a beloved pet is not only distressing, it can also have a significant negative impact on the mental health of everyone involved.
The Lort Smith Adoption Centre in Campbellfield is home to a very special program that seeks to alleviate some of this anxiety and distress. Known as Emergency Welfare Assistance, this donor-funded program enables us to provide emergency care for the pets of people in crisis.
We provide their pets with shelter, food, medicine and vet care if needed, and abundant love and company. They can rest assured that their pet is in good and loving hands. Then, when the person is back on their feet, they can be reunited with their beloved pet.
We told the story of one family who benefited from the Emergency Welfare Assistance program last year when they faced a period of homelessness, in our Spring 2022 newsletter.
Unfortunately, protecting the confidentiality of the people who rely on the Emergency Welfare Assistance program makes this one of many Lort Smith initiatives that deliberately flies under the public radar.
This, in turn, makes the support we receive from everyone who donates to Lort Smith Animal Hospital even more important. The Emergency Welfare Assistance program relies entirely on philanthropy to provide this important compassionate service.
To be eligible for this assistance, a person must be experiencing a genuine crisis and have an appointed case-worker. We are limited in the numbers of pets we can accept, due to space restrictions at our shelter.
For more information or to apply for assistance, call us directly on 03 9287 6433.