I’ve talked before about the losses that come with being in an abusive relationship; friendships, traditions, stability, etc. There is another very poignant piece that we don’t often talk about, our pets. They aren’t always a loss. In many cases they are an anchor. Although there are a few options, it can be challenging to find placement for people and animals, so victims stay in their situation. Abusers can be quick to turn frustrations onto animals as punishment for those that love them and the animal itself. In our house, we understood that all too well.
When the kids were younger we had a German Shepard named Zeppelin. I clicked on my Facebook memories today and was reminded of her. She was the sweetest pup and the kids adored her. When Joe was at work or away, we had a great time with her. She would play with the kids on their playground, let Emma dress her up for a tea party, and play hide and seek. When he was home, she was a nervous wreck. Literally urinating every time he spoke. It didn’t matter what or how he said it, she could not control herself. We tried training to no avail. The trainer was stumped. I held our secret close as we talked about how to help Zeppelin. I wasn’t in a place where I fully understood that we needed to get out ourselves. I knew why she was scared. Joe’s frustrations continued to mount and finally exploded. She was no longer safe with us. The process began to try and find her a home. The GSD rescue that took her had some harsh words for me about surrendering her.* I forget what excuse I made up as to why she was so nervous. It was one of those humiliating moments that was easier than what might happen if we kept her at home. Zeppelin became another castaway in our fight to keep from drowning.
As we continue to understand more about domestic violence, we are seeing more resources to help in situations like this. Red Rover is just one organization working to solve this part of the problem, I will add their link below. If you are in a situation like this, there are ways to get you out along with your fur babies. Please, reach out.
* I am incredibly grateful for the rescue who placed her with a loving family. Zeppelin lived out her life as a happy girl.