We began accepting homeless pet-owners and their pets at our year-round shelter, the Inter-Faith Inn, on October 11! The Inn has since hosted a total of six dogs owned by four individuals, and the dog runs located behind the shelter have been full almost nightly. Intake takes place Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30pm, though clients must confirm availability and secure a spot by calling the shelter at 316-264-8051 by 4pm. Veterinarians are available during these times to examine the animals and provide basic care.
“Pets offer companionship and loyalty, but it’s something more for our homeless clients,“ says Executive Director LaTasha St. Arnault. “Pets offer them mental stability and responsibility and are often described as a reason to live.” That was certainly the case with our first pet-owner at the Inn. She prefers not to be identified, as she was escaping abuse when she ended up on the streets. She stayed with a friend briefly but could not bring her dogs. She says, “it’s been so much nicer, I’ve been so much happier” since reuniting with them at the Inn.
Special thanks to Christen Skaer of our board of directors and IFM Program Director Christen Sampamurthy for their vision in developing this program, as well as the Wichita Animal Action League and Beauties and Beasts for their invaluable support. We hope to complete phase two of the project and begin accepting cats and small dogs beginning in early 2019.