Jeff Humphrey

Helping Homeless Pets and Their Owners

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

Monday, March 6, 2023 at 3:08 p.m.

Taking good care of your pet is a big responsibility. But it’s an even more difficult task if you don’t have a home.

“So a lot of the folks that we see are unwilling to separate from their animals. They don't have family or friends or anyone who can keep their animal with them while they're resolving the issues that led to homelessness,” explained Gerriann Armstrong from The Salvation Army of Spokane.

And that is why a nonprofit called “Safe Animals for Everyone” (SAFE) is looking for volunteers to foster pets that are homeless.

“We want SAFE to be available to anybody who’s facing a transition. Be it homelessness, medical issues, divorce. Anything that causes a transition. If we can give them hope their animal will be taken care of, we can give them hope to have a better change,” predicted Terri Shilliam-Hansen, founder of Safe Animals for Everyone.

“I'm almost unwilling to let go of Scout. He’s been with me through everything. Through homelessness, through hardship after hardship,” said Brett, a young man who’s a guest at the Salvation Army’s Way Out Center.

Now, his dog Scout is about to live with one of SAFE’s foster families, so Brett can hurdle another obstacle that’s trapped him in homelessness.

“It's going to help me get employment. It's going to help me searching for a house. I mean, of course there's houses that allow pets, and there's paperwork for that, but it's a lot easier when I don't have to take him with me everywhere,” anticipated Brett.

“When you're fostering an animal through SAFE, it's not only helping the animal, but it's helping the person,” emphasized Shilliam-Hansen.

“Just because you are homeless doesn’t mean you are not a responsible pet owner and you don’t love your animal,” added Armstrong.

Owners can retrieve their pets from a foster family whenever they are ready and willing to offer their animals care and shelter again.

“Right now we’re looking for foster families because that’s going to be the heart and soul of this foster program. We're looking for donations and we're looking for any help that we can get,” pleaded Shilliam-Hansen.

For more information on how you may be able to help homeless pets and their owners, visit Safe Animals for Everyone’s Facebook page or email the nonprofit at

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