Nonprofit Encourages Pets While Owners Receive Drug Treatment

Scott Bailey, who has been recovering from meth and heroin for six months, has two cats who are cared for by PAWSitive Recovery while he lives soberly.

“I’ve been here for about a month and a half. Before that, I was in hotels,” Bailey told Rocky Mountain PBS. “This [PAWSitive Recovery] give them a place so I don’t have to worry about them. I know they are in good hands. Serena is great and gives me updates so I can focus on myself.

Through the non-profit organization, pet owners undergoing treatment for drug and/or alcohol addiction receive free care for their pets as well as basic veterinary treatments such as vaccinations. The non-profit foster program places any animal considered a pet in a home.

“I’m currently raising two guinea pigs at the moment. We take dogs, cats, gerbils, bearded dragons,” Saunders said. “You name it, we can do it.”

The organization also facilitates pet visits to treatment centers so that owners receiving treatment “give them something to look forward to,” Saunders said.

Saunders believes PAWSitive Recovery fills a need that has existed for years when it comes to getting addicts to recover.

“One of the biggest barriers that keeps people from getting treatment is their pets,” Saunders explained. “Often these people have experienced real trauma in their lives and animals have been the only thing that has given them constant love and support.”

Now, what the nonprofit needs most are people willing to take in animals. The app to favor can be found here.

“We need people in recovery or people who are passionate about people and animals to contact us if they are available to host us,” Saunders said.

For Bailey, knowing his cats are safe while he takes care of him is one of the things that keeps him sober as he begins to recover.

” If I did not have [PAWSitive Recovery], I was going to have to take them to a shelter and I don’t think I would have done well with the recovery,” Bailey said. “I probably would have relapsed again.”

Dana Knowles is a media reporter at Rocky Mountain PBS and can be reached at [email protected].

Brian Willie is head of content production at Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach him at [email protected].

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