Parade your pets in purple to support domestic violence awareness month |

Parade your pets in purple to support domestic violence awareness month

Several members of the Steamboat Pilot & Today team dress their pets in purple, from top left, Logan Molen with Whiskey and Rumor; Mackenzie Hicks with Kinslee; Bryce Martin with Dakota; Nate Lee with Ruby; Bryan Blood with Mosley; Lisa Schlichtman with Pilot; and Shelby Reardon with Dallas.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

This Sunday’s Paws & Reflect event is a family affair, and that includes fur family. The community is invited to a pet walk and proclamation to support survivors of domestic violence.

October is domestic violence awareness month, said Graham Hackett, social change program manager for Advocates of Routt County, the local nonprofit that is hosting the event.

“This is an attempt to lighten an otherwise very heavy topic in order to encourage participation,” he said. “Domestic violence is an extremely challenging topic that most people choose to avoid talking about. We notice that we get a lot more attraction for issues like this when we decide to frame things in a different way — to pursue success instead of just burdening people with knowledge of the problem.”

And with pets all over Routt County, Hackett decided to recruit them too, in this effort to raise awareness in a fun, family-friendly and playful way.

If you go

What: Paws & Reflect walk to support domestic violence awareness month

When: 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Bud Werner Memorial Library, 1289 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs

The event, in its first year, was scheduled to happen last October, but when COVID-19 restrictions suddenly tightened, Advocates had to cancel the walk the day before it was scheduled to be held. But other crisis centers in Colorado have executed similar events to much success, including Alternatives to Violence in Loveland.

In Steamboat Springs, Hackett said this walk is important, because while everyone knows that domestic violence exists, few know the massive scope of the issue or the long-term impacts on victims and their communities.

“Despite affecting all populations — regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status — confronting domestic violence is rarely among the highest priorities for leaders in the public or private sectors,” Hackett said. “Social conditions set the stage for domestic violence so every person in every community is responsible and only together can we create meaningful, sustainable solutions.”

The event is sponsored by Alpine Bank, and President Adonna Allen said that after a hiatus from last year’s event, she and her team — and their dogs — are excited to get back out there this year.

“We’re excited to get on the trail with our pooches for such an important cause,” Allen said. “Supporting survivors of domestic violence and raising awareness of this issue in our community is something we can all get behind.”

The walk will start at the Bud Werner Memorial Library at 2 p.m. Sunday and will end at the historic Routt County Courthouse lawn where a brief support rally will take place, which includes one survivor speaking of her experience with domestic violence. The speaker was trained through Advocates’ “Speak Your Truth” program, which encourages survivors to share their personal experiences in an effort to empower other survivors.

Pets and owners are invited to wear purple in support of domestic violence awareness.

“We want to make a splash downtown in this way,” Hackett said.

“We want to encourage people to realize that they have a role to play in keeping our community safe,” Hackett added. “We try to encourage people rather than outrage them. Outrage is limiting — no one can stay outraged forever — but inspiring people to take action is something ongoing and much more sustainable.”

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