Lost Our Home Pet Rescue and The Arizona Pet Project’s missions are focused on supporting and improving the physical, social and emotional health of the entire family, both two and four-legged, with a concentration on supporting Maricopa County’s most vulnerable residents including those struggling with homelessness, housing and food insecurity, domestic violence, physical and mental disabilities, health crises, addiction, and systemic poverty.
We believe (and data supports) that for many families, pet ownership is not a luxury, rather a necessity for improving health outcomes, stability, and quality of life. Sadly, pets can also present barriers to accessing vital services such as temporary shelter, medical or addiction treatment, and transitional housing, as most human service agency models do not account for pets. As a result, individuals and families are choosing not to access vital, and in some instances, life-saving services because they will not make the heartbreaking decision to relinquish their beloved four-legged family member permanently.
Together, Lost Our Home and The Arizona Pet Project remove barriers associated with pet-ownership allowing families to access life-saving services and housing because nobody should have to choose between getting help for themselves or losing their family.
What is a bonded family? What do they look like?
Bonded families exist in every corner of our community and across every socioeconomic demographic; they consist of a human and pet who share a profound emotional connection from a mutually beneficial relationship. Each photo above is an example of the human-animal bond, and are actual clients we’ve helped thanks to the generosity of our donors.
According to a 2018 study conducted by the Access to Veterinary Care Coalition, 88% of households surveyed consider their pet a member of the family. Those who share their lives with an animal may experience reduced loneliness, improved mental and emotional well-being, more frequent physical activity, increased socialization, decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and an overall boost in joy and happiness.
We give our best to our pets, and they provide so much in return. However, circumstances can change suddenly and unexpectedly. To help those with the highest risk of losing this beneficial relationship, we must focus on protecting bonded families through support, services, and resources.
Examples of this support include:
- Paying for vaccines, licenses, pet deposits, and spay/neuter so homeless families can move into transitional or permanent housing for the clients of partner agencies like UMom, Central Arizona Shelter Services, Save the Family, and Community Bridges.
- Arranging and paying for temporary boarding for the pets of families fleeing domestic violence so they can access safe shelter, for the clients of Sojourner Center, UMom, and Hope Women’s Center.
- Assisting the elderly, homebound, or disabled with pet food, mercy grooming, and emergency veterinary care services for their pets, in partnership with the Tempe Community Action Agency, Area Agency on Aging, and Adult Protective Services.
- Covering the costs for veterans to enroll their pets in service and support dog training programs through partners like the Veteran’s Administration and Phoenix Stand Down.
EmBARKing on a New Project
In the spirit of true collaboration, and to reduce duplication of services and operating expenses, LOH and AZPP co-created and co-fund a staff position to achieve our shared goal of reducing and eliminating the barriers to accessing care faced by vulnerable pet owners in the community.
The Arizona Pet Project’s full-time counselor provides case management and shelter intervention services and resources by collaborating with local human service agencies.
For many families in need of assistance, their first point of contact is Lost Our Home and The Arizona Pet Project because their primary concern is their dog or cat’s safety. They have yet to think of researching resources for themselves. The Bonded Family Protection Project ensures pet owners do not have to choose between helping their pets and getting the help they need.
Because there are hundreds of human service agencies in the Valley and only two of us, we will also work with our partners to encourage them to create programs and budgets that take into consideration all members of the family, including those with four-legs. Not only is it the ethical approach, they will be better able to meet the needs of their clients and the community.
By keeping pets safe and healthy during a time of hardship or transition, we can save lives and empower families and individuals to access care to get back on their feet.
Building on Pawgress
Lost Our Home and The Arizona Pet Project are the only organizations in the Valley with a specific mission tied to improving the physical, social and emotional well being of families with pets. Currently, human service agencies are limited in their ability to independently address the needs of their pet-owning clients as they have neither the financial resources nor the requisite skills. As a result, people are choosing to remain homeless, in unsafe domestic environments, or forego vital medical treatment, rather than surrender their beloved pet.
Together, we will save even more lives!
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