The holiday season is upon us. And we hope to interrupt your daily deluge of emails promoting extended Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals with a plea to remember to make time in your day (and room in your heart) for kindness.
We hope the story of our latest Random Acts or Trophy-ness winner inspires you to do just that!
Meet Staci Alonso, founder of Noah’s Animal House and winner of our No Paw Left Behind Award: For Helping Abused Women Find Safe Havens for Themselves and Their Pets.
When Alonso was a board member of a women’s shelter back in 2004, she learned that most domestic violence shelters don’t accept pets. Alonso was devastated to discover that too often, women return to dangerous living situations because they can’t bear to leave abusive spouses if it means leaving their beloved fur babies as well.
She decided to be part of the solution. Three years later, she opened Noah’s House in Nevada, a shelter for pets located on the grounds of a women’s shelter.
That way, women can know their pets are safe and well-taken care of — and can visit them any time they like — as they work on their own survival at the women’s shelter. As Alonso says: ”They check in to the women’s shelter, and the pets are right next door at Noah’s. And they’re free of abuse and safe.”
More than Trophy-Worthy
Noah’s has “cuddle rooms” which are designed like little living rooms. Women can walk over to Noah’s from the women’s shelter and cuddle with their fur babies in the cuddle rooms. Alonso says she’ll often look into the cuddle rooms and see a dog on the couch and a woman on the floor. She loves seeing that, as it’s a sign that despite the woman going through probably one of the hardest times in her life, at least one thing is still normal: Her fur baby being treated like royalty.
Noah’s also has outdoor dog runs, cat condos, grooming and on-site vets. Alonso says: “Our model at Noah’s is to remove any level of stress that the woman could experience and treat the pets like they were checking into a boarding facility or a hotel. So, our services include the food; and if it’s prescription food, then we get the special diet food. We take care of any medical need that is required — the vaccinations, spay and neutering. And when the women leave, we give them a to-go package and it’s a kennel or a crate, beds, toys and food for the month. We also give them a gift card for that next round of food, or litter, whatever they need. We take care of everything.”
How amazing and heart-warming is that?!
Not So Random, But Oh-So Important
Our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign was launched to celebrate small gestures by big-hearted people, to give a voice – and a shiny reward – to those who selflessly provide comfort and joy to others in dollop-sized doses.
Opening a pet shelter adjacent to a women’s shelter is neither random nor small. So it may seem that our campaign has lost its focus. It has not.
Domestic violence is a huge problem. Every nine seconds, a woman is beaten by her partner. And millions of women continue to face the dilemma that Noah’s Animal House has eased – stay with an abusive partner or leave a furry family member behind.
So we are skirting our own rules a bit to encourage others to make not-so-small, not-so-random gestures to provide refuge and a new beginning to both women and their pets.
If you can foster a pet while a woman is in a domestic violence shelter, call your local women’s shelter to volunteer your services. If you have the time and resources to petition and fundraise for women’s shelters to open their own animal shelters like Noah’s, do that. A little kindness goes a long way. All you have to do is get started.
Happy Holidays to our “Show Us Your Sue” family! Inspired by our desire to give out shiny trophies to the often-overlooked Sue Hecks of the world, we are on a mission to reward everyday acts of kindness — or trophy-ness, as we call them! Do you know someone who is making the world a better place, with acts of kindness big or small? Then please “Show Us Your Sue” by nominating them to win our next Random Acts of Trophy-ness trophy! You can write your nomination in the comments section below or do it on social media using the hashtag #ShowUsYourSue. Find us on Facebook or Twitter. We can’t wait to hear your story of kindness!