Monday, October 8, 2012

IMPACT and CPA: Partners in Ending Violence

During my transition into IMPACT Chicago, and as I was learning about our Core programming, I heard we had a course scheduled in a new location, C-P-A. CPA stands for Chicago Party Animals. Admittedly, “Party Animals” is not a phrase I’d have associated with IMPACT…However, after learning more, especially after attending a CPA sponsored “Waggin’ Wednesday” event, I can see the fit.

While IMPACT’s mission is to end violence against humans, Chicago Party Animals focuses on ending violence against dogs. Like IMPACT, CPA provides a safe and supportive space for learning and works within the community to increase awareness to help end violence. Not only am I excited that we are bringing the Core to a new neighborhood, I am excited because preventing cruelty to animals is near and dear to my heart: I live with and love two dogs that were rescued from no-kill shelters and each is a survivor of abuse and cruelty.

Puck, a flat hair retriever mix had been returned from his 3rd home and because of his anxieties, it was questionable if anyone would take him again. He’s been with us for 9 years. Maggie, a shepherd-sheltie mix, was dropped off at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The vet who saved her felt that Maggie’s abusers had left her there on the last possible day of recue. The vet had to surgically remove an embedded collar from Maggie’s neck. Because of the damage to her neck and throat, we thought she’d never bark. But one day, a trespassing cat slinked along the top of a nearby fence and Maggie barked. She looked more surprised than we did, and we were very surprised! We were also so relieved to realize she could bark, so we laughed and cheered for her! Picking up on our delight and encouragement, she barked some more… Setting a boundary with that cat, she found her voice!

While I am happy to report these successes, the need to raise awareness and promote an end to violence against animals is immense. IMPACT’s partnering with organizations like CPA makes sense, because research indicates correlations between reoccurring acts of violence toward animals and later reoccurring acts of violence against humans. (Hensley, 2003; Bernard & Hogan, 1999). The ASPCA recognizes the ties between animal cruelty and domestic violence. You can learn more about the connection and what you can about it by going to their site,

Fortunately, there are people like Josie and Tim, the founders of CPA, who are working to raise awareness and help channel funding to organizations like Barriers Against Repeated Cruelty (BARC) where volunteers mobilize to aid animals in domestic violence situations. BARC is able to assist in saving lives and grant relief to women trying to escape domestic violence who might otherwise stay out of fear for the safety of their companion animals. In partnering with CPA to present the Core program this November, we complement one another’s missions to end violence.

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