Concern for pets has been known to keep the humans who love them in a variety of difficult situations, not only abusive ones. A study of homeless pet-owners in California found that the vast majority of individuals polled (96 percent of women and 93 percent of men) would turn down the opportunity to stay in a shelter if it did not extend to their pets as well. As a result, a number of homeless shelters have started to open their doors to dogs, cats and other animals, recognizing that it might be the only way to get humans inside as well.
It seems that domestic violence shelters are following suit nationwide, social workers are coming to recognize the important link between saving a human's life and that of their pet. For many of the survivors who stay in pet-friendly shelters, the opportunity to bring their animals with them feels like a real chance to start over. "[Having my cats is] very healing for me," said Pamela Isaac, a domestic abuse survivor. "We take care of each other."