SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Two local non-profit organizations, Ruff Haven Crisis Sheltering and Odyssey House of Utah, have come together to make the first-ever partnership between a human treatment center and a free pet boarding service. 

In a new agreement, Ruff Haven will house a pet for up to three months free-of–charge while their humans receive treatment for addiction at Odyssey House. 

Representatives of Odyssey House of Utah spoke with Steve Flores, a patient successfully completing treatment at the House for alcohol abuse. While in the care of Odyssey House, Flores’ two-year-old cat, Gilly, is being housed and watched over by Ruff Haven. 

“It made my treatment at Odyssey so much easier,” says Steve, “because I could focus on myself, working to get better and not worrying about Gilly.”

Odyssey House CEO Adam Cohen thinks the partnership will make the decision to seek treatment easier for those in need. “Many people refuse residential treatment for substance use disorder because they worry about what will happen to their pets. This should remove those concerns and help them get the treatment they need and want.”

Ruff Haven Executive Director Kristina Pulsipher is just as excited, “We are thrilled to partner with Odyssey House to provide care and safety net fostering for their client’s pets. We hear from many people who may not seek treatment because they have no one to care for their animals. This partnership will allow us to provide supportive, wrap-around services during their recovery process.”