Canada’s first pet-friendly environment for LGBTQI2S youth is coming to Toronto

Friends of Ruby received a $52,000 grant from PetSmart Charities of Canada to create the country’s first pet-friendly environment dedicated to serving LGBTQI2S youth.

Rendering courtesy of Friends of Ruby

With this grant, Friends of Ruby will help preserve the bond between pets and their people by providing a pet-friendly emergency and transitional housing facility to vulnerable LGBTQI2S youth in Toronto.

“Over 30 per cent of homeless or precariously housed youth are LGBTQI2S. Our experience in our drop-in and counselling centre has shown that youth not only want to be able to live with their pets, but that pets have a positive effect on youth mental health and well-being,” said Carol Osler, Friends of Ruby Executive Director.

Rendering courtesy of Friends of Ruby
Rendering courtesy of Friends of Ruby

The facility will house 33 LGBTQI2S youth (16 to 29) in 26 transitional units and five emergency beds. It has a purpose-based design, accessible, and single and double occupancy rooms, embedded mental health supports and case management, and a rooftop terrace for quiet reflection.

To make the home pet-friendly, Friends of Ruby will have a dedicated space for youth to groom and take care of their pets, stocked with grooming gloves, bathing mats, brushes, towels, flea and tick shampoo, skunk spray, pet food and more. Beds, blankets, and bowls will be available at rooms and common spaces.

“Pets provide unconditional love and actively act as a source of comfort, especially during unexpected transition periods,” said Dani LaGiglia, regional relationship manager at PetSmart Charities of Canada. “The development of a pet friendly environment in the new Friends of Ruby transitional housing facility will keep people and pets together and preserve families during challenging times.”

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