GBPensions is now a Major Donor to Pet Refuge NZ, helping pets and their families escape domestic violence.

When GBPensions was considering to which good cause we should commit our ongoing support, we were immediately drawn to Pet Refuge. The charity’s work provides a genuine and much-needed lifeline for people and their pets trapped in the cycle of domestic abuse.

The shelter opened its doors in August 2021 and, by December 2023, has already provided more than 400 pets with refuge while their families escape abuse and find a safe home. A Pet Refuge spokesperson says: “For the pets it means security, safety, an escape from a desperate situation and a home until they can be reunited with their families. For the owners, this gives them the opportunity to leave safely, without concern for their beloved pet.

“We should be proud of this achievement and what we have done for these people and pets. Although, it is deeply saddening to see such a need. Positively, and thanks to you, as the need for our help is growing, we’re able to be here to help.”

Indeed, such has been the outcry for help that several pets have had to be temporarily housed off-site while awaiting spaces to open up at the shelter.

This amazing charity was the brainchild of Julie Chapman, founder and CEO of KidsCan. Julie felt compelled to act when she learned that many abuse victims delay leaving a violent partner out of fear for their pet’s safety. “For many people, pets are family. For victims of domestic violence, they provide real solace. Leaving them behind with an abusive partner just isn’t an option. We hope that if victims know their pets will be well looked after while they escape, it will remove a barrier to leaving.”

Anna’s story

I owe my life to Pet Refuge, to be honest. I wasn’t safe at home, I feared for my life, and I didn’t want to risk my cat being hurt if I left him there. He is my little security guy, my shadow, my emotional support. If I was doing laps of the backyard, exercising, he would stay with me, rain or shine. If I was sick, he would stay with me in the bathroom the whole night. He’s so loyal. If anything, he’s more like a dog than a cat!

I am so, so grateful that my cat is in Pet Refuge now, while I am in emergency accommodation. The staff are so kind and compassionate, and [the team have] made everything so easy. I’ve had lots of information, lots of updates, lots of funny photos. It makes me really happy to see him and I can’t wait for him to come back. I’m trying so hard to find a place for the both of us.

As soon as I’m on my feet I want to do all I can to contribute to Pet Refuge myself, it’s such an amazing cause.

The more GBPensions’ director Tony Chamberlain learned about Pet Refuge, the more he was moved to help. “When you hear the survivors’ stories, realise what these people have lived through and how their animals have been threatened – or worse – it just breaks your heart. It’s tragic that a charity like Pet Refuge has to exist, but we’re proud to be doing our bit to assist them with their invaluable work.”

Read more about Pet Refuge and see how you could get involved as a fundraiser or donor.