8 months ago

Pets will be part of Inter-Faith Inn

by Carolyn Kell

Inter-Faith Inn will accept pets starting in late summer

Companionship, loyalty, responsibility, a reason to live. These are all words homeless people use when talking about their pets. Pamie Hathaway, now a resident in one of IFM apartments, says that without her dog she would have committed suicide. “She’s my everything,” she says of her dachshund Mia.

It’s because of that strong connection between animals and their people that Program Director Christen Sampamurthy and veterinarian Christen Skaer have been working to turn Inter-Faith Inn into a pet-friendly shelter.

“We are working to put all the pieces together, and we hope to accept clients with pets this summer,” said Sampamurthy. “Dr. Skaer has been instrumental in designing the program and getting volunteers. This is something that has been needed in the community for a long time. IFM is happy to be the first to offer this solution. It means we’ll be able to provide assistance to a segment of the homeless population who, when asked to choose between their own comfort and giving up their pet, will choose to keep their pet.”

Christen Skaer, who is also on the IFM Board of Directors, has had a vision for a pet-friendly shelter for a long time. “I’ve seen people with pets sleep in their cars or on the ground rather than give up their pets. We’re going to use volunteer veterinarians and technicians to be sure the pets at the Inn are healthy and have up to date vaccinations.”

Best estimates say that five to ten percent of the homeless population have pets. Inter-Faith Inn will accept only cats and dogs. Inn residents receive food, toiletries, and other necessities while they are clients, and it will be same with the animals – dog and cat food, dog waste bags, cat litter and other essentials will all be provided.

“Our belief is that with an animal to care for the client will be even more motivated to succeed,” said Sampamurthy. “Making a home for yourself and your companion is a strong impetus to become self-sufficient again.”

Program Center, 829 N Market, Wichita, KS 67214|(316) 264-9303