Pet Shelter is 10 Years Old



Ten years ago, Rose Brooks Center became the first program in the region to accept pets. The policy change happened when a domestic violence survivor contacted the hotline seeking shelter but refused to enter the facilities because she would have had to leave her pet behind. Even more so because this pet, a 110-pound Great Dane named J. Matthew, had just saved her life by laying on top of her during an attack. On that day, Rose Brooks Center accepted their first pet, and a legacy was born.

Although the giant Great Dane was the first animal to live at Rose Brooks, he was not the last. To this day, J. Matthew’s memory lives on in the more than 500 pets of all kinds who have found safety along with their owners.

“We have always known the incredible therapeutic benefits pets can have on a family experiencing trauma, but didn’t have the resources to accept pets,” explains Rose Brooks Center’s CEO, Lisa Fleming. “But after the experience of this survivor and her Great Dane, it was clear this was something we had to add to our program to better serve survivors and their children.” 

Since opening in 2012, the program has protected approximately 75 pets per year, providing over 2,900 nights of safety annually. Today, growth continues with plans in place to physically expand the cat shelter, retrofit shelter bedrooms to accommodate pets, and to continue providing training, education, and advocacy to other agencies throughout the community and across the country to better serve survivors and their pets.

Rose Brooks Center believes housing pets in the shelter is one way of helping to remove another barrier a survivor faces when trying to escape violence. The program has allowed survivors and their families to find safety for themselves and their pets instead of staying in what otherwise would be a dangerous situation. To date, hundreds of families and pets have been able to find safety and healing — together.


To learn more about Rose Brooks Center’s pet program or to see the story of the heroic Great Dane who inspired it, please visit us online at

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Rose Brooks Is Here

Rose Brooks Center

Rose Brooks Center is about saving lives. Read letters from the CEO, stories about featured programs, and more here.

Bridge Program

Serving patients experiencing domestic violence in the safety of local hospitals and clinics.

Children's Programs

Offering a wide variety of services to support the emotional and physical well-being of children who are healing from domestic violence.

Community Training

Since 2001, Rose Brooks Center has been providing quality domestic violence education to the Kansas City community and beyond.

Court Advocacy

Advocating for and guiding survivors through complex court systems.

Economic Empowerment

Helping survivors repair the effects of economic abuse through credit repair, budgeting, and education.

Emergency Shelter

Providing a safe sanctuary where individuals, families, and pets are welcomed, wrapped in support, and can begin to heal.

Employment Advocacy

Employment Advocacy includes developing job interview skills, job search, and ongoing support to survivors in maintaining employment.


Providing confidential support, information, individual safety planning, resources, and more. The 24-hour Hotline is 816-861-6100.


Helping survivors find safe, affordable housing and gain economic stability within a safe home, free from violence.

Onsite Clinic

On-site medical and healthcare services within the safety of emergency shelter.

Pet Shelter

An on-site state-of-the art pet shelter for dogs, cats, and other family pets.

Police Advocacy

Providing advocacy services for victims of domestic violence and education for officers to improve victims safety.

Project SAFE

A school-based violence prevention program working to end the cycle of domestic violence by providing support to youth dealing with violence at home or communities.


Stories about our incredible volunteers and the work they do to support our mission.