Fish friends mean comfort for family in domestic violence shelter
Animal Stories from


May 2014

[Ed. Note: Please read Pets and Domestic Violence]

Christina is a domestic violence survivor. She suffered abuse in her home at the hands of her partner, fearing for her own life and the life of her five-year-old son, Damien.

When Christina made the difficult decision to escape her abuser, she knew she would need support to get her whole family out safely.

You see, Damien was very attached to his pet fish, and Christina knew how much his aquarium friends meant to him. Damien considered the fish his friends and had named them all after himself, too. Christina knew that Damien’s fish tank was a source of comfort in the family’s chaotic life and she was determined to bring the fish along with them, for Damien’s sake.

When Christina found Peace River Center, a domestic violence shelter for families in Florida, she was relieved to find out that they could accept pets on-site thanks to a Safe Housing grant from RedRover. Safe Housing grants provide start-up funds for domestic violence shelters to build on-site housing for pets, and Peace River Center was awarded the grant from RedRover last year.

Damien and Christina fled to the shelter with the aquarium in tow and arrived safely with her family (finned members included).

fish friends domestic violenceAfter the family was safely settled in the shelter, we received an update from Sheryl, an advocate at Peace River Center.

Damien took me to see his aquarium and introduced me to his pets. They were all named Damien! He was adorable, and talked extensively about being so happy that they could move with them to their new home.

A RedRover Safe Housing grant made it possible for Christina, Damien and his pets to remain together in the aftermath of domestic violence. As an experienced domestic violence advocate who has seen the problems facing victims and pets, Sheryl told us, “If a pet is able to accompany a survivor to shelter, it provides safety for all.”

Peace River Center received a RedRover Safe Housing grant in June of 2013, and has since been able to provide shelter for domestic violence victims and their pets; cats, dogs, turtles and fish have all called the Peace River Center their temporary home, where the pets have been able to provide comfort and stability to families fleeing violence.

Do you know of domestic violence shelter that does not have housing for pets? Share our flier - Pets and Domestic Violence.

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