Dogs Matter: Taking Care of Dogs of Alcoholics and Addicts Seeking Treatment and Transitioning Into Recovery

by | Mar 17, 2021 | Community, First Step, Partners, Resources

This month, we’re spotlighting Dogs Matter, a fantastic organization in the Dallas Fort Worth area dedicated to taking care of dogs of alcoholics and addicts seeking treatment and transitioning into recovery. Over the years, Dogs Matter has worked with numerous women in The Magdalen House community. We are so grateful to have a relationship with this organization that’s just as committed to helping alcoholic women as we are! Thanks to Dogs Matter, who wrote this post.

At Dogs Matter, our programs ensure that dog owners struggling with alcoholism and addiction can get into treatment by removing the barrier of finding a safe place for their beloved dogs. Since our founding in 2014, we have provided foster care for several women in The Magdalen House community. In addition to fostering dogs of women going through the Social Detox program, when women complete their two-week stay and enter a sober living home, we have cared for their dogs until they are ready to be reunited. And in several instances, we’ve had clients reach back out to us as part of our Foster & Adopt Program who are willing to foster for other people seeking treatment as a way of giving back!

Taking Care of Your Best Friend While You Take Care of Yourself

Alcoholics and addicts seeking in-patient treatment have limited options regarding the care of their dogs. In many cases, they must choose whether to leave their pets in an unhealthy environment or surrender them to a shelter, never to see them again. The prospect of breaking their loving and loyal bond keeps many from getting the help they need. As the owner continues to spiral, the dogs become neglected — and eventually, many end up in a shelter and euthanized.

Dogs Matter offers a new, lifesaving choice. Dogs Matter is the only nonprofit organization providing free, temporary foster care placement and supportive services specifically for dogs of alcoholics and addicts seeking treatment. Watch Our About Us Video

Temporary Foster Care Program – A no-cost, temporary foster care program that offers a safe and healthy environment for dogs until their owner is healthy and stable enough to take care of their dog again. Our program averages 30 to 90 days. Dogs Matter covers any of the dog’s medical and supportive services, and we spay and neuter every needed dog.

Our primary purpose is the welfare of the dog — ensuring a happy reunion with their owner once they have completed treatment and are ready to be a healthy and responsible dog owner again.

We understand the great need for our services in the local recovery community, not just here in Dallas – but all over the country for those willing to seek treatment.

Programs and Services from Dogs Matter

Dogs Matter’s Services don’t just end after the client and dog are reunited; we provide other supportive services to keep in touch with our clients and give them opportunities to stay engaged in the recovery community.

Aftercare Program – We follow up with each client and their dog for 12 months to ensure they are both safe and healthy. The program provides a Recovery Coach who works with the client on their recovery issues. Additionally, we can assist with apartment pet deposits, extended pet medical care, nutritional pet food, and other ongoing supportive services to the pet owners. Our goal is to be the safety net for the dog while supporting the client in their recovery.

Outreach Program – Dogs Matter advocates for addressing alcohol and drug addiction by providing a solution for second chances and long-term sobriety, with their dog being a part of the journey. The conversation must continue about how we can work as a community to succeed with the issues and recruit foster families. Our outreach program includes advocacy at special events, conferences, and treatment centers. Dogs Matter is also a member of The North Texas LINK Coalition, whose mission is to educate, advocate, and implement solutions to animal abuse and its link to the cycle of family and societal violence, which often includes substance abuse.

Foster & Adopt Program – A healthy relationship with a dog can be an important part of an individual’s continued recovery. Dogs Matter offers a Foster & Adopt Program that allows our previous clients who have a minimum of one-year sobriety a chance to foster a dog and work with our Recovery Coach servicing new client needs. When appropriate, they can adopt an available dog that has not reunited with their owner.

Dogs Matter’s first year of services in 2015 resulted in saving 20 dogs, which allowed 18 of their owners to enter treatment and get healthy again. Fifteen of our dogs were able to reunite with their owners, and three were adopted to forever homes after the clients realized it would be in the pet’s best interest to do so. We have only grown from there as the demand for our services is so desperately needed.

In 2020, we:

  • fostered more than 90 dogs via their owners or referrals
  • reunited 85% of our clients with their dogs after successful treatment
  • received 53 new foster applications
  • received 112 new surrender applications
  • spayed and/or neutered 22 dogs
  • provided vaccinations and complete physicals for 36 dogs
  • continued to grow our Aftercare Program
  • and not a single dog had to be surrendered to a shelter!

Keep Reading: Read Our Rescue Stories

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