HOUSTON – Giving up on the last relationship still intact and the only relationship that never gives up on you is a hard “no” for people in recovery.
With no place for their pets to go, people with addiction often say this is a major reason they do not seek treatment.
Dogs Matter, a Texas organization, aims to take care of man’s best friend while man takes care of themselves. The non-profit provides foster care and supportive services to people with addiction.
Sarah Hall, a Dogs Matter foster explained, “It makes it all worth it, my heart, it makes it all worth everything I do.”
She is caring for Hilary Girten’s dog Lady while Hilary seeks treatment.
“We call it camp. She’s at camp,” explained Hilary. “I came to a point in my life where I realized things just weren’t going well. I had made bad decisions and I couldn’t get myself out of the hole I had dug. It got worse, worse, worse. What is this doing? What am I doing for myself? What am I doing?”
Stephen Knight is the founder of Dogs Matter.
“Dogs Matter is a temporary foster program for people suffering from addiction that have nowhere else to place their dog. Absolutely, the last thing you want to do is give up on the last relationship that doesn’t give up on you,” Knight said.
He knows this to be true because Stephen himself is in recovery.
“The first year in sobriety is very lonely. Eleven years ago, I was homeless, living out of my car, had nothing, and to be able to go into rehab, I understand the process of how difficult it is,” Stephen said.
Dogs Matter really took off seven years ago, around the time Jayde came into Stephen’s life.
“She needed somebody to take care of her and I did it, and it was the best decision I ever made. Yeah, she was there to take care of each other, maybe a little co-dependent, but we are working on it,” said Stephen.
Since its inception, the Texas-based non-profit has helped more than 750 clients.
“The need was so tremendous. It was overwhelming, so we really worked hard to… this year so far has been our busiest so far, we have done 125 dogs and clients and it’s September, so that was our year goal and we hit that in June,” said Stephen.
Dogs Matter relies on fosters and funding.
“I really almost did it as a selfish reason. It was to help me heal my heart with the loss of my son, and it made me feel if I could do something to help someone else, that they have a chance at recovery,” explained Sarah, who lost her son Ethan to addiction in 2020.
Today, Ethan’s dog Moe lives with Sarah today.
And all the other pups Sarah has opened her heart and home to are canine children to parents in recovery.
This is NOT a one-and-done kind of thing. Once you’re in the Dogs Matter family, you’re in the Dogs Matter family for life. They know recovery might include relapse. They say they are there for their clients through it all.
The organization is in Texas and California.
Currently, the organization does not foster cats.