EATON — More than 110 humans and 30-plus animals showed up for Purple Paws: Preble Pets Against Domestic Violence on Saturday, July 13. Together, those in attendance raised more than $10,000 to benefit YWCA Dayton’s Preble County Office and Preble County’s only domestic violence shelter and 24/7 crisis hotline.
During the event, there were vendors, activities, pet grooming with Tufts of Fluff Pet Salon, face painting, pet prints with Preble County Art Association, the Parker Hannifin Pet Showcase, a photo booth, Wonder Dogs adoption station, and a demonstration by Preble County Tailwaggers 4-H Club. There was also a raffle with 15 great prizes.
In addition to being the fourth year the event has been held, this year is also the 15th anniversary of the domestic violence shelter being operated in Preble County. According to YWCA Marketing and Communications Director Audrey Starr, every year Purple Paws continues to grow and expand.
“[Purple Paws: Pets Against Domestic Violence] has grown tremendously. When we started it was like a backyard garden party behind our offices with 20 people and two vendors. Already, four years in, we have almost 30 sponsors who have come out in support, we are anticipating 100 people, and we are anticipating 20 dogs alone in the showcase. The Preble County community continues to humble us and come out to show support in ways we couldn’t imagine,” Starr said.
Starr added, there is a direct connection between animal abuse and physical abuse. It has also been reported that half of domestic violence survivors won’t leave the situation because they are afraid to leave their pet behind at home. YWCA Dayton works closely with local agencies, partners, and veterinarians to provide concurrent pet shelter so DV survivors don’t have to worry about their pets when they are leaving an abusive relationship.
“We want to use today not only to raise funds and awareness for what we do, the support and services we provide, but also making sure that the community recognizes abuse affects the whole family and there are resources available,” Starr said.
“An event like this is really important, because most social services put their heads down and do the work that is needed, especially with crisis care, we operate 24/7, 365, just meeting the needs of women and children in our community and making sure the work gets done. This gives us an opportunity to hit pause, to really make sure people are aware of the resources out there.
“For so many years, with domestic violence, people think of it as something that happens behind closed door to other people. It is something that is a personal or a private issue, but it is something that effects the whole community. It takes all of us to put a stop to it and end domestic violence. This gives us an opportunity to pause, remind people of that, but also show them how they can help and be their own resource, in addition to us.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH