YWCA breaks ground on new pet shelter, Abbie’s Safe Home

YWCA President/CEO Sharon K. Roberson at the groundbreaking for the new new pet shelter.

The YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee is one step closer to making its pet shelter a reality. On Jan. 28, a small group of YWCA, community and civic leaders gathered at the Weaver Domestic Violence Center to break ground on this life-saving new project. YWCA is the largest provider of domestic violence services in Tennessee, and the new pet shelter will remove a significant barrier to women seeking safety from abusive partners.

“We know this pet shelter will save lives,” said YWCA President/CEO Sharon K. Roberson. “Too often, victims won’t come into shelter because there is not a place for their pets. Thanks to the generosity of corporate partners, individual donors, and significant federal funding, we will join the small list of emergency domestic violence shelters that can offer this service.”

The YWCA’s new pet shelter will be named ‘Abbie’s Safe Home’ in honor of Dorothy Louise ‘Abbie’ Wallace, the late mother of YWCA board member Gail Alexander. Wallace was an ardent supporter of this effort and life-long advocate for animals in need.

“This safe home will serve women, children and their four-legged family members,” said Alexander. “Abbie’s Safe Home keeps families together and out of harm’s way.”

Grants from the U.S. Dept. of Justice, nonprofits RedRover and Be Like Henry, and lead corporate partner Amazon have made it possible for YWCA to build and operate a facility that will house up to six dogs and four cats at a time.

“It is a sobering fact that half of domestic violence victims stay in unsafe homes simply because they could not bring their pets with them into shelter,” said Courtney Ross, Amazon’s senior manager of ‘external affairs’ in Nashville. “Today, thanks to the YWCA’s good work, survivors in Nashville will no longer have to choose between their own safety and leaving their pet behind. We’re proud to have been able to contribute to this project, help it launch, and we’re looking forward to its completion shortly.”

Ross represented Amazon at the groundbreaking ceremony. Community leaders, including Laura Cooper, wife of Metro Nashville Mayor John Cooper; Vice Mayor Jim Shulman; and Jay Strobino, field representative for U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, joined YWCA leaders for the event. Nashville-based builder Hartert-Russell is expected to complete construction of Abbie’s Safe Home in early summer.