How to Help Make Domestic Abuse Shelters Pet-Friendly

Here at Sidewalk Dog, we truly believe furry companions save our lives in big and small ways every day. We can’t imagine our lives without them, nor would we ever want to. In a perfect world, we’d never be separated from our pets. Unfortunately, this world is far from perfect and people are forced to make tough decisions every day. But one thing no one should have to choose between is their own safety and the safety of their pets.

Thank dog then for Purina’s partnership with RedRover because together they started the Purple Leash Project in order to support animals and people in crisis by partnering with domestic shelters to help them become pet-friendly, as well as providing financial assistance, resources, and emotional support for people and pets in need. 

Helping Shelters Welcome Pets

Purina’s work to help keep domestic violence survivors and their pets together began nearly a decade ago. One of their associates learned how often domestic violence survivors with pets were forced to make the awful decision to stay in an abusive situation or leave a beloved pet behind due to the lack of pet-friendly shelters.

So, in partnership with RedRover—an organization whose mission is to bring animals out of crisis and strengthen the human-animal bond—they started the Purple Leash Project.

Since that time, they’ve helped one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the U.S. on its journey to become a leading voice and shining example of pet-friendly sheltering. They also assisted in creating the PAWS Act Coalition in support of the Pets and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, which helps domestic abuse victims and their pets by advocating for federal resources dedicated to this cause.


Today, 49 of 50 states have at least one pet-friendly domestic violence shelter, but there is much more work to do. Purina’s goal is to ensure that 25% of all shelters across the country are pet-friendly by 2025. To date, they’ve donated over $1M to support those efforts.

What We Can Do To Help

  • Reach out to your local domestic violence shelters to find out what they need. Volunteers? Supplies? Go to to locate nearby pet-friendly shelters, especially if you or anyone you know is in need.
  • Donate here.
  • Spread awareness by sporting a purple leash and educating people on the cause. A recurring donation of $5/month or a one-time donation of $60 gets you a limited-edition purple dog leash or cat collar featuring the Purple Leash Project motto: Walk. Heal. Together.
  • And lastly, have empathy for each person’s journey. There are no cookie cutter solutions for every situation and that’s part of what makes the Purple Leash Project so vital—it gives people options in situations where they may feel like they don’t have any. Let’s take the unconditional love we get from our furbabes and spread it far and wide!

Featured photo: Purina

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