KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Young-Williams Animal Center has received a grant to help persevere the bond between pet and owner during times of upheaval. The $60,000 from PetSmart Charities will support the Animal Haven Program.

For many people pets are family and it can be challenging to find resources when facing homelessness, lack of pet-friendly housing, military deployment, or fleeing domestic violence. Many pet parents in these and other similar situations find the only option is to surrender their pet to a local shelter. Young-Williams is trying to change that through their Animal Haven program.

“Through our Animal Haven program, we aim to help assist people and their pets so they can stay together,” says Janet Testerman, CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center. “Keeping families and their furry friends together is important to our organization’s mission of finding a forever home for every animal. I am grateful for this generous grant, and I am confident it will change the lives of many pets and people in our community.”

The grant will assist the program in providing boarding services for those experiencing crises like home loss domestic abuse, or hospitalization and have no alternative pet caretakers. So far, Young-Williams has assisted 71 animals and their families through the program, and the shelter says they can serve up to 65 more families.

“A family in crisis needs every member to experience the comfort of togetherness,” said Kelly Balthazor, Senior Community Grants Manager at PetSmart Charities. “When tragedy strikes, pets bring comfort to their people. And pet parents need to be able to continue to feed and care for them, too. Supporting the important work our friends are doing at the Young-Williams Animal Center ensures more families can do the hard work of healing – together.”

STAY INFORMED: Download: the WATE 6 On Your Side News and Weather Apps