SLF Partner Goes to the Dogs PDF Print E-mail

PETSMART PROMISE ANIMAL SHELTER

DOG DAYS OF WINTER

Facility provides kennels for pets of homeless

Carol McAlice Currie | Statesman Journal

A tiny black and white Chihuahua, shivering in the cool morning air and possibly from fear, will be the first dog to spend the night in a new PetSmart Promise facility that opened in West Salem on Tuesday. Chloe, 6, held by her owner Betty Hargens, seemed unaware that her life was about to change for the better. Hargens, who’s been homeless since her late husband’s medical and nursing home bills took a toll on her finances, has been wrapping Chloe in a jacket and blanket and leaving her on a pillow in her car for the night while she and her grandson have slept at various area churches that are part of the Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network.

The network runs the West Salem day center, which has given Hargens and her great grandson Hunter Best, 3, a place to work daily with a case manager to try to find resources for getting the small family out of it's car and into permanent housing. But until now Hargens had to be separated from her beloved dog at night because none of the churches that rotate taking in homeless families at night accept animals.

On Tuesday the Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network opened the new facility, which was made possible through a partnership between PetSmart and Family Promise. It is the first facility in the state to allow families and their pets to remain together when they become homeless.

 

“I’ve had Chloe since she was three. I adopted her out of a veterinarian’s office I worked in, and she is so dear to me,” Hargens said. “She means everything to me and my great grandson. I’m so happy this new facility has opened and I’ll have someplace warm to keep her and visit her.”

 

 

The PetSmart Promise facility features a temperature-controlled room with kennels (due to arrive shortly) for six dogs and two cats.It has a fenced play yard replete with fire hydrant. The animals will be fed and checked on by volunteers at night while owners sleep in various churches. Owners will play and take care of their pets during the day.

With PetSmart store managers from Salem and as far south as Medford on hand for Tuesday’s ribbon cutting and grand opening, Craig Jenkins, interim regional vice president for Pet-Smart, which is has its headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, promised the crowd that the new shelter was “just a start.”

“Pets make us better people, and just because people have fallen on hard times, they shouldn’t have to make a choice to leave their pets behind when they become homeless. We’re thrilled to be a part of this today. It’s our ninth such facility nationwide, and we hope to have 90 soon.”Chloe doesn’t know it yet, but she will get to sample the Pet-Smart Promise heater beginning Tuesday night.

 
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