Utah Pets Now Have A Safe Place To Stay If Their Owners Enter Rehab

May 31, 2022

A nonprofit animal shelter has partnered with Utah's largest addiction program to care for pets while their owners undergo treatment for drug or alcohol abuse.

animal care during rehab
Beth Henry at Ruff Haven Crisis Center / The Salt Lake Tribune

Ruff Haven Crisis Sheltering recently partnered with Odyssey House, Utah's largest comprehensive addiction program, to provide three months of free pet boarding while their owners seek treatment.

Pets can be a reason why owners stay in bad situations, since they worry that their animals won't be taken care of if they are not there, said Odyssey CEO Adam Cohen in a press release.

"It made my treatment at Odyssey so much easier, because I could focus on myself, working to get better and not worrying about Gilly," said Steve Flores, a patient successfully completing treatment.

The process starts with an application and documentation of the owner's current situation, then a brief assessment of the pet. The pet is then matched with a foster, and the client checks in on their pet once a week via text.

Some clients also have visitations with their pets.

Since Ruff Haven Crisis Sheltering opened in June 2020, they have helped 320 families and about 500 animals.

"We are thrilled to partner with Odyssey House to provide care and safety net fostering for their client's pets," said Ruff Haven Executive Director Kristina Pulsipher. "We hear from many people who may not seek treatment because they have no one to care for their animals. This partnership will allow us to provide supportive, wrap-around services during their recovery process."

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