Ohio ó When people tried to pet her, the cat snuggled
closer to owner Susan McIntosh. The cat is the first pet
to be housed at the new home of Family Promise, a
10-year-old nonprofit organization that provides
services to homeless families. Recently, it opened a
kennel so that the families could keep their pets with
homeless shelters do not take pets, forcing owners to
find someone to watch a pet, or to give it away. Some
would rather live on the streets than give up an animal.
we had a lady who had a 5- and a 7-year old earlier in
the spring looking for shelter. She contacted us and
wanted to come to the program but we didnít have the
kennel yet and had no way to help with her pet,"
Executive Director Jeff Wilhite recounted. "Because
of that, she said she absolutely would not come. She
said, ĎLook, my family has been devastated. I canít
do this to my 5- and 7-year-old ó this dog has been a
part of their life since birth. I canít put them
through one more trauma.í"
said the group served 26 families last year and 24
already this year. The new kennel can house up to four
dogs and four cats.
become a member of your family," Wilhite said.
"They are a part of who you are collectively as a
families can be accommodated during the day, where they
have access to computers to search for jobs and
permanent housing. In the evenings, they are placed at
churches and other locations while their pets stay in
the Promise kennel. Families are served on average 30-45
who was holding the cat, has a degree in psychology and
minor in linguistics, but lost her job. She stays at
Harvest Home while her 9-year-old cat is at Promise.
Because she is single she doesnít qualify to stay,
not easy for me living without (Charise). I miss
her," McIntosh said. "I come every day to see
her. Iím allergic to cats, but Iím more allergic to
the national pet supply chain, gave $35,000 to build the
kennel and plans to open others this year at Promise
Morris, regional vice president of PetSmart, said pets
give unconditional love, a constant that helps keep
know the impact pets have on our lives," Morris
said the gift has resulted in other organizations
the collaboration of various agencies with all of their
donations, including the host church families who take
the families to their churches for the evening,
providing room for beds, dinner, snacks and
entertainment," Wilhite said. "Itís a
testament to the community on how well the different
agencies can work well with each other."