Women who leave abusive situations come here because they can bring their pets

In 2004, when she was a member of the women's shelter board, she found that women who left domestic abuse often had nowhere to go because the shelters would not accept their pets.

Domestic violence is the main cause of injuries to women in the United States – one in four violent close-sex relationships throughout life. However, less than 10% of home violence shelters provide some kind of pet service such as placement in a nearby family home or boarding a local animal shelter.

"My two dogs … were my rock and my support," Alonso said. "I could not imagine I was in such a state, finding the courage to leave and needing to leave them behind."

Alonso was also shocked to learn that in many cases, without family spending money for a hotel, women return to their abusive situation to stay with their beloved pet.

"We can not make it so difficult for a woman to leave an abusive relationship simply because it has a pet," Alonso said.

To help break this barrier, 2007 opened Noah's Animal House, a full-service pet shelter located directly on a Las Vegas domestic violence shelter.

It was the first of its kind in the country – having shelters for cats, indoor and outdoor dogs, a veterinarian station and a grooming station all together in one facility.

"They check the shelter of women and pets are right next to Noah," Alonso said. "And they are not malicious and safe."

When Jennifer decided to leave a physically and emotionally abusive relationship, she called for a domestic violence house that allowed pets. She found Noah, and took Jennifer and her cat a four-day bus ride to get there.

"When I went to Noah and took my cat and I looked around this place and I was like," Okay, we're good. ""

CNN does not use Jennifer's real name for her security claim.

Women can visit and care for their pets as often as they want. The shelter also has "embrace rooms", which are installed as lounges, where women can spend time with their pets.

"You know the power of the pet when you see the woman going through the doors and see the stress on her face – and then see their pet … you look back at the woman and all the stress is gone," Alonso he said.

Noah's House has staff and volunteers to help pet care, while women are looking for work, go to healing or take care of themselves.

"My villain told me if I left I would never do it, I played that dangerous movie on my head and I gotta get rid of it," said Jennifer. "My cat helps me with this. It allows me to know that I am like and I am loved."

Women have traveled from 21 nations to arrive at Noah's Noah's House.

Knowing that so few places like Noah are there, Alonso opened a second place last year at Reno.

"I have seen the strong effect of women getting their courage back because they had the boost of their pet on their side," said Alonso. "Everybody deserves this opportunity. I want to remove the" No pets allowed "label in all the doors of home violence shelters."

CNN's Meghan Dunn spoke to Alonso about her work. Below is a version of their conversation.

CNN: How many pet helped your team?

Staci Alonso: Since the opening of 2007, we have cared for more than 1,400 pets in hospitals. And that's equivalent to 90,000 boarding nights. Some pets have stayed for a year. The average stay, in good times, is six weeks, and in economically difficult times it is three months. When you compare the woman with her pet to Noah in a woman who does not have a pet – they have the boost of "I can do this" because of the unconditional love of their pet. You see it every day when the two see each other. And I think everyone who has a pet knows that they make you feel better.

CNN Hero Staci Alonso

CNN: Do so much more than hous ing pets.

Alonso: Our model at Noah's is to remove any stress level that the woman could experience and cure the pets, as they said in a boarding facility or hotel. Thus, our services include food. and if it is a prescription food, then we will have the special diet food. We take care of any medical need required – vaccinations, insemination and sterilization. And when women leave, we give them a packet and they are a puppy or box, beds, toys and food for the month. We also give them a gift card for the next round of food, or litter, whatever they need. We take care of everything.

CNN: What is the inspiration behind the name of your shelter?

Alonso: Noah's Animal House is named by my son. It was four or five years after we were born that we started working in a pet shelter. It was my son knowing very early that there was this sense of purpose for him. I tried to make sure it was never about his name in the building. it was about the responsibilities that went with that name. And I took it to construction meetings and media interviews and a meeting of women. It regulates it to live forever.

CNN: What's your favorite space in Noah's Animal House?

Alonso: My favorite room is probably the favorite room of all. They are our rooms. I wanted to make sure that women had the opportunity to embrace and feel physiological. They are small lounges. The funniest thing is when you look in and see that the dog is on the couch and the woman is on the floor. And you go, "Oh yeah, I can relate to it."

We have a board-in, in fact, because the embraced rooms are everyone's favorites. The next Noah, we need to double the amount of rooms hug, because it is a good place to go out.

Do you want to get involved? Checkout Noah's home page of the animal house and see how to help.
To donate to Noah's Animal House through CrowdRise, Click here