I do a lot of interviews. Some fun and enlightening, others par for the course, others challenging, in good ways. Some of the best interviews are the ordinary people who see a need and then act to meet that need. My interview with Orazie Cook is one of those. It was a delight speaking with her about her background, her vision, and the work she does through Praline’s Backyard Foundation.
Praline’s Backyard Foundation gives safe shelter to pets of domestic violence survivors so that they can eventually be reunited with their pets instead of having to surrender them and suffering more trauma of leaving a beloved pet behind while leaving the abusive situation they are under, or surrendering the pet to a shelter, but never knowing where that pet might end up.
I know we went on vacation for two weeks and we had a dear, lovely friend, take care of our three, because more than one is expensive to board, let alone three. Many of my subscribers know that we love to travel with our fur babies, and when we can’t, we miss them enormously. So, I can’t imagine the pain and the trauma of having to surrender animals that you love to the system and then never know what’s happened to them. Orazie Cook and Praline’s Backyard Foundation works to ensure that the pets of domestic violence victims and survivors are taken care of long-term as they sort out their situation, but that the survivor has a continued connection to their pet while they are trying to heal and transition to a normal, safe life. That’s just a beautiful thing, and I talk about that a little bit in my introduction to her work.
Between Orazie’s volunteer work at domestic violence shelters and then at the Humane Society, she discovered these troubling facts:
Eighty percent of domestic violence shelters do not take pets with the survivors.
Every year, about 10 million domestic violence survivors are reported in the U.S. alone.
More than half of that number (5 million) have pets.
The domestic violence victim is forced to choose between staying with their abuser and leaving their pet(s) behind.
Millions remain in uncomfortable and often dangerous conditions because they do not want to lose their pet, or leave that pet behind in those dangerous circumstances where they would be victimized or killed.
Orazie wanted to bridge that gap between a domestic violence survivor leaving their abusive situation, and also finding a home for their pet until they were able to gain a normal life situation; thus, Praline’s Backyard Foundation was birthed.
In order to build more awareness of the circumstances surrounding people escaping domestic violence, as well as promote the organization, Orazie has mounted the Paws for Domestic Violence Survivors 1K/5K Race on May 7, 2023, at the Westside Park in Atlanta, Georgia. This race is an opportunity to not only make a difference in the lives of domestic violence survivors and their beloved pets, but to spend some quality time with your own pet. The race can even be done virtually! Visit the Praline’s Backyard Foundation website for more details on how you can do that.
Normally I reserve the full-length video content for paid subscribers, but I am releasing it to all subscribers for free, because it is an event and an organization that I know many of you would like to know about. Please give it a view—less than 28 minutes—and consider supporting the event and Praline’s Backyard Foundation.
In the video, Orazie Cook spotlights the number of simple ways that you can do this, most of them don’t cost you a penny.