Winter 2015
Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims

Year in Review

By: Megan Senatori, Co-Founder/ President


Happy 2015 everyone! As we charge into another year, we wanted to take a moment to thank you for the role you each played in our successes in 2014. Last year, the SAAV Program provided safe, confidential shelter to 23 animals affected by domestic abuse in Dane County. The SAAV Program provides survivors of domestic abuse with the opportunity to seek safety not only for themselves, but also for the animal members of their family. The reunions of SAAV animals and their people following the shelter period is nothing short of remarkable - wagging tails, tears, and hugs galore make these reunions truly special. SAAV also responded to requests from across the country from people who are interested in starting a shelter program like the SAAV Program in their own community. SAAV provides comprehensive information in response to each inquiry, with the goal of facilitating the creation of shelter programs across the country. Every county in every state needs a resource like the SAAV Program - and we endeavor to create that network by aiding other start up programs. We also presented and provided community outreach about the link between domestic violence and animal cruelty at a variety of events, such as: The Badger Kennel Club, Zonta Club of Madison, and Badger Volunteers, to name a few.


We look forward to continuing our great work in 2015. In addition to continuing to provide safe shelter to animals affected by domestic abuse through our collaboration with the Dane County Humane Society and Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, we will be launching an outreach program to veterinarians to assist them with recognizing and aiding animals affected by domestic abuse. We will also continue our other community outreach efforts through local events and speaking opportunities about the link between domestic violence and animal abuse. Please visit our blog page to read a beautiful story of a newly formed shelter in Indiana. We feel so honored to have been a part of their success story. If you know of a community group who would like to hear from us, send us your ideas to We are always looking for ways to spread our wider mission of stopping the cycle of abuse.


Thank you again for your support - we look forward to great things to come!

Superstar Volunteer Spotlight-
Melinda Heinritz

SAAV is delighted this month to honor our superstar volunteer, Melinda Heinritz. Melinda has been volunteering with SAAV for the past three years. Melinda has a wealth of experience in working with non-profit organizations. She previously served as the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society. In December 2013, she joined the Madison Community Foundation staff as Strategic Partnerships Director. In that role, Melinda's primary assignment is working with the A Fund for Women Advisory Board. Most recently, Melinda was honored by BRAVA Magazine as a Woman to Watch in 2015.  Way to go! Melinda has graciously shared her extensive experience with SAAV to help us shape and refine our organizational vision. She has assisted us in creating a comprehensive mission statement, which can be found at the bottom of the newsletter. She has also facilitated a variety of community outreach opportunities for SAAV.  Melinda lives in Madison with her husband Mark, son Sully and their animal companions, Bode, Rocky, and Emmie.

Winter Boredom Breaking Ideas
By: Jennifer Everhart, volunteer

Today the snow is falling and the wind is gusting. If you are like me, winter can be a time I find myself hibernating indoors and not as active as I would like. This time of year can be hard on pets, too. As temperatures fall their time outside can plummet as well.

Some ideas to help counteract the winter blues with your pet or foster could include:


Engage your pet or foster animal by teaching them new cues! Grab your dog's favorite treats, bring them in a quiet room, and reward them for learning. Try teaching them shake, roll over, fetch or other animal type appropriate cue. If your pet already knows basic training commands, try training on something more advanced like working toward a certification as a pet therapy animal. Also, it is a really good idea to put "speak!" and "quiet!" on cue list. That way, when you need your foster/ pet to hush, you can ask for it and you can let them know when it is a good time to "talk".

Have a treasure hunt: Take either your foster animal or pet's food or treats and hide them in various places around the house. Then get excited with your animal and tell them to find all the treats or food! You might need to show them the first piece or two to get them started, but soon enough, they'll be scrounging around looking for all the treats. This is also a great way to keep your foster/ pet mentally challenged and moving.


Making treats: There are tons of recipes of treats online. Do a search for a recipe that contains some good ingredients and bake up some treats! This can be a ton of fun with kids and fun cookie-cutter shapes. Oh, and of course, you'll have a animal friend who will be eager for those treats during training or the treasure hunt!


There are plenty of things that you can do with your foster/ pet to beat the boredom. Various Madison venues offer indoor doggy play days, swimming, romping rooms, etc... Be creative and soon enough, your pets will be just as exited for the winter as they are to sniff around outside and catch sticks in the summer! 

Upcoming SAAV Events


Pet Photography to benefit SAAV
Saturday February 14th & 15th
11:00 am- 5:00pm
Capitol City Creatures is hosting a photo event at Animart East that will benefit SAAV. Show your pet some love for Valentine's Day by taking them to Animart for a pet portrait! Call for your appointment today (608) 284-1058.  Sessions are $40 for 10 photos on DVD. 25% of the proceeds will be donated to SAAV. Thank you Capitol City Creatures and Animart! More information at:

SAAV Foster Orientation Session
Tuesday, March 2nd 
5:45- 7:45 pm
Are you, or someone you know, interested in becoming a member of our network of foster homes? Please join us at the Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (2102 Fordem Ave, Madison) to learn about domestic abuse, the link to animal cruelty, and how we serve victims and their animals through the SAAV Program. Pre-registration is required. Please RSVP by emailing


Other Great Local Events

Madison Frosty Dog Jog

Saturday, February 14th

10:oo am

Is your dog getting cabin fever being inside this winter? Are you getting cabin fever? Bring Fido to the 2015 Frosty Dog Jog & Walk. The 1.5 mile run and walk will take place in the heart of Madison, right on the Capitol Square. Take in the sights and the sounds as you wind down State Street, past the Overture Center, and through the scenic blocks of Madison. The run and walk is a non-competitive event (weather Fido thinks so or not!). Winter themed prizes will be awarded. Hot chocolate and cookies for all! 

All proceeds from $25 registrations and additional donations to this event will support Dane County Humane Society. Click here to register!

Toto's Gala
Saturday, February 14th
6 pm cocktails, 7 pm dinner, presentation & music
An evening of fine food, live music, and gorgeous surroundings at the Madison Masonic Center will provide the backdrop for a presentation showcasing the mission of Dane County Humane Society of helping people help animals. Guests can purchase tickets or a table to this formal event to gain the opportunity to learn more about DCHS's accomplishments and goals while demonstrating their support. You can look forward to an evening of fun with human and canine friends alike! Learn more here.

Save the date- A 'Do it for DAIS!
March 15th to the 21st
This March, join DAIS and salon professionals in supporting victims of domestic violence and their families who have made the life-saving and life-changing moves towards a fresh start. Please visit the website to learn more by clicking here.
Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims (SAAV) is dedicated to ending the cycle of abuse within families. SAAV plays a unique role in this fight by recognizing the importance of animals as vital family members and arranging for their safe harbor at the time of critical need- when a domestic abuse victim seeks refuge from an abuser. We provide temporary, confidential shelter (the SAAV Program) for a period of up to ninety days for the animals of domestic abuse victims in Dane County who are seeking safety for themselves and their family. The SAAV Program is provided by SAAV through a generous collaboration with Domestic Abuse Intervention Services and the Dane County Humane Society. SAAV also raises community awareness in Dane County and nationally about the link between domestic violence, animal abuse and how individuals can come together to stop the cycle of abuse. SAAV is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
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Helping victims of domestic abuse, by helping their animals.