Pet photos by Danny Fulgencio

When someone makes the tough choice to seek help for a substance abuse problem and accepts that the best chance is inpatient treatment, a pet could delay that person’s next step.

A Preston Hollow-based nonprofit called Dogs Matter, according to its founder Stephen Knight — a recovering addict himself — is the only nonprofit organization that provides free, temporary foster care placement and supportive services for dogs of people entering chemical dependency treatment and transitioning into recovery.

“The choice to hand over a dog, even if temporary, is often the single biggest objection a dog owner has who is facing an extended in-patient treatment program for alcohol or substance use disorder,” Knight says. “Over 90% of pet owners consider their pet part of the family. So, knowing their dog will be cared for in a safe and loving foster home eases any added stress allowing our clients to focus all their energy on healing.”

That’s the primary purpose of this unique program — ensuring the welfare of the dog and owner and reuniting them “once our client has successfully completed treatment and is ready to be a healthy and responsible dog owner again,” he says in a video (watch it and weep).

Now Dogs Matter (which recently received well-deserved national props on The Kelly Clarkson Show) has just teamed up with another neighborhood-based foundation, Dallas Pets Alive!, which will help the folks at Dogs Matter find foster placements and match companion animals in need with temporary foster homes.

“Collaboration is at the heart of our mission here at DPA,” DPA founder Leslie Sans says. “Together with Dogs Matter we believe we can help not only pets stay with their owners and out of shelters, but give owners the chance to overcome their struggles knowing that their loving, furry companion is awaiting them when they are ready. Together we can do more for pets and their people.”

Pets Alive!, as the name suggests, is on a mission to keep pets alive. They focus on rescuing healthy and treatable pets at the greatest risk of being euthanized. They work to reduce owner surrender through a Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender program, and they transport animals to partner organizations in other cities in need of adoptable animals in order to make more room for Dallas dogs.

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