EATON — Pets and their owners alike stood against domestic violence last weekend at the second annual Purple Paws: Preble Pets Against Domestic Violence.
The animal-centered event was held on Saturday, Oct. 7, to raise money for YWCA Dayton’s Preble County office and the services it provides. Purple Paws featured a pet pageant, pet parade, vendors, music, and more. This event was part of YWCA Dayton’s recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
According to YWCA Dayton Director of Marketing and Communications Audrey Starr, there were approximately 50 people and 20 animals in attendance, raising more than $2,600 for the YWCA Preble County Office.
She added, while Purple Paws was a fun event for pet owners to come out to, it was ultimately an awareness and fundraiser for Domestic Violence Awareness Month for YWCA Dayton’s Preble County Office.
“We are the only domestic violence shelter provider in both Preble and Montgomery County,” Starr said. “We have operated the DV shelter here in Preble County since 2004. In addition to the shelter, we have a full slate of clinical case management services, legislative and public policy advocacy work, and we have a Girls Inc. program out here in the summertime.”
With the ultimate objective being a fundraiser, the YWCA could have hosted any event, but they wanted to involve animals due to the connection between DV victims and their beloved pet.
“We really tied it to an animal and family event, because we know that statistics show that domestic violence effects everybody in the family, even the ones with paws or fur,” Starr added. “So what you see is in same cases 75 percent of women who are in abusive relationship also report that their abuser hurt, threatened, or killed their family pet.
“We also know that more than half of women who are at DV shelters say they hesitated or that it took them several attempts to go to a shelter, because they were afraid to leave their pet behind. They were worried about what their abuser would do to their pet without them there.”
While the pet can be a victim as much as the woman is, Fido can also help the victim with the healing process.
Starr said, “Having a pet with you or somewhere you can visit helps with your healing process and in that journey. So, what we do for YWCA Dayton is we actually have partnerships both in Preble and Montgomery County with places like Camden Veterinary Services and Town and Country Veterinary Clinic where they will shelter animals while they are in our DV shelter.
“It is that parallel healing process where they are both safe, they are both getting care they need, and in most cases women can then go visit those pets anytime they want. Pet therapy in its own right – especially if it is your pet – can go great lengths at helping someone heal.”
Winners of the Pet Pageant were:
Best in Show: Miss Lolita Blanca, owned by Krista Martinez.
Best in Personality: Pippa, owned by Jillian Overmyer.
Best Pet and Owner Combo: Ethel, owned by Aurora McVey.
Purple Power Award: Lexi and Laci, owned by Bill and Karen Beagle.
All winners were awarded prizes.
“100 percent of every fund raised today goes to support YWCA Dayton Preble County Shelter. So, you are literally funding things like paper towels for the shelter, helping our case managers as they are finding things like bus passes, and other items to help women start a new life,” Starr added.
“October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and that is why we chose to schedule that this month. We wanted to heighten that awareness building aspect. One in three women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. That, statistically, is someone you know and if you don’t know, that just means they haven’t disclosed that to you.
“It is something that effects all of us and the trickle down has an economic impact. About eight billion dollars a year nationally in lost work days, mental healthcare and counseling, police cost, and other needed services. It is something that effects all of us. It impacts more women that just about anything else.
“It is important to stand up and ask what all of us can do to help and doing that during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH