By Amy Christiansen Special to Published Mar 20, 2008 at 3:57 PM

Across our country, a woman is beaten every 15 seconds; usually in her own home by someone she considers an intimate partner. In fact, a Congressional report once indicated that the most dangerous place in the United States for a woman to be is in her home.

Isn't that a place where one usually goes to feel the safest? Imagine not only being a woman who doesn't feel secure in her home with someone who loves her, but simultaneously carrying the demands of also maintaining the safety and innocence of her children and her pets.

It might seem trivial -- perhaps even offensive -- to some to hold pets in such a high regard, but as most compassionate pet owners will tell you, they are family. And when one person in a family is stifled or suppressed, everyone is affected.

Pets are victims, too, but they are statistics of a different kind that we also often turn our heads to ignore. We are accepting and euthanizing animals at our local shelters at astonishing and overwhelming rates.

Animals that are abandoned due to change in family situation or because the long term commitment becomes more than what was initially celebrated; animals that are found stray and not reclaimed for various and often unknown or understood reasons; and animals that through no fault of their own lose the only security they have ever known as the result of truly tragic circumstances.

Fortunately, there are organizations like ours: The Companion Animal Resource and Adoption Center, working around the clock to responsibly rescue and re-home these forsaken, but not forgotten, animals. Many of these animals are highly social, well-trained, and full of love and virtue.

It is true that some have individual obstacles to conquer due to poor socialization, structure or care. But our volunteers work very hard to build off the strengths of each animal to make them sound candidates for adoption. Our cats are housed at our main adoption center inside Southridge Mall where volunteers work countless hours every day attending to their physical and social needs. Our dogs live and learn and find love again in trained, dependable foster homes.

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Gavin and Rosebud who lost their family, but not their future, as the result of domestic violence less than three weeks ago when their owner was allegedly killed in her home by her fiancé.

Gavin is a 3-year-old retriever/shepherd mix, and Rosebud is a 1-year-old Dachshund. Gavin is slightly overweight but otherwise has no known medical or behavior challenges. Rosebud is a bit uncertain in new situations and has not yet mastered housetraining but her gregarious personality makes up for her slight imperfections. She finds peace when Gavin is nearby so it is our hope to place them together however we will consider individual placement to the most appropriate applicants.

They are doing fairly well in their foster home which includes other dogs, cats and children but they would do best placed in their forever home as quickly as possible. Please help us secure a second chance for Gavin and Rosebud that is filled with anticipation and love as well as joy and refuge.

Both are neutered/spayed, current on vaccinations, and microchipped.

Gavin and Rosebud will be available for viewing and accompanied by their foster family this Saturday at the Petsmart located at 74th & Edgerton in Greenfield from noon to 3 p.m.

Stop by and meet them, as well as the other dogs we have available for adoption. And please remember that what happens behind closed doors with our family members, friends and neighbors isn't always as it appears from the outside. Domestic violence is easily misunderstood and frequently criticized and dismissed by those who do not accurately understand the dynamics. If you suspect someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, take action before it is too late. If you are a victim of domestic violence, help is available. Contact your local prevention center for detailed guidance.

Want to do something to change the fate of in-need animals in our community? Get involved. Become an onsite volunteer or foster parent. Contact us at the adoption center for more information.

If you do nothing else today, in memory of all those who did not know that yesterday would be their last day, acknowledge someone in your life who through encouragement and without indignant judgment only loves, respects, honors, or admires you just as you are and thank them for doing so.

Detailed information about our program is available 24 hours a day at

Amy Christiansen Special to

Amy Christiansen is the Executive Director of the Companion Animal Resource and Adoption Center (CARAC). CARAC is located in the upper level of Southridge Mall and is dedicated to saving the unclaimed strays from the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission.

Amy grew up on the South Side of Milwaukee and now lives in Muskego with her husband and son and their three cats and three dogs. She also takes in the occasional foster dog.