Valley Farm hopes to help homeless people with a pet shelter

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – After months of planning and renovations, an unused stable in Scottsdale is almost set to debut as a “dog hotel” to serve as a temporary shelter for dogs while their owners, mostly homeless, working to find permanent housing.

The program, called “Sit. Stay. Heal ”, is a partnership between the City of Phoenix, Community Bridges, an organization that provides services and resources for alcohol and drug addiction and mental health, Midwestern University and Hunkapi Programs, a horse farm in Scottsdale that offers counseling and other programs for young people.

Terra Schaad, founder and executive director of the Hunkapi program, told ABC15 on Tuesday that she was working with first responders with on-farm trauma therapy, and through this partnership, the city of Phoenix has asked for help to house the pets of people dealing with homelessness.

Terra Schaad / Hunkapi programs

Among a number of barriers, not all homeless shelters allow pets, which can force someone to decide not to seek help.

“If we have this place where we can house a dog, and people are hoping they will get their dog back instead of more desperation, like I don’t have a home and I don’t have my dog, then why wouldn’t we do that? I want to be a source to solve the problem, ”she said.

So she offered an unused barn on her property. Sixteen stables inside the barn have been renovated and turned into kennels capable of accommodating two dogs each for up to 16 weeks.

Hunkapi Programs 1.jpg

Terra Schaad / Hunkapi programs

Concrete was poured inside each of the stables, gates were installed and dog doors were cut in each kennel to allow dogs access to a shaded outdoor area. For the initial race, they plan to accept 12 to 15 dogs on the program’s first try, she said.

“We have a team of volunteers who are ready to come and support these animals and walk them and give them enrichment, give them love, feed them, give them everything they need to be in good health. health while they are their owners get the shelter they need to keep their dogs, ”Schaad said.

The program starts on May 1st.

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Terra Schaad / Hunkapi programs

City Councilor Laura Pastor said in a press release that the idea for the program came about after meeting a man whose family was staying at a shelter, but he was living on the streets because the shelter did not allow pets or pets.

“This story has stuck with me over the years and set me on fire to help homeless animals and their owners. Thanks to Terra Schaad, our vision is now a reality,” she said in a press release prepared.

Students at Midwestern University will help care for animals on the farm, as will managers and volunteers, according to a press release.

Donations from Phoenix Suns Charities and private donations have helped fund the barn renovations, however, $ 40,000 has yet to be raised to keep the animals cool during the summer.

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