Lucy Hale is a dog person. The actress and singer is often photographed walking her 4-year-old Maltipoo, Elvis, around town and on set. Her Instagram bio consists of only two words: Elvis’ mama. “I know it sounds ridiculous, but he’s my soulmate,” Hale tells Woman’s Day. “He’s my best friend; I truly don’t know what I would do without him.” And it’s the love Hale has for her fur-baby that propelled her to partner with Purina and get involved with the Purple Leash Project, an campaign that works to make domestic abuse shelters pet-friendly and more welcoming to pet owners in need of refuge.
Domestic abuse and intimate partner violence are major issues in the United States. On average, around 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner per minute in the U.S., according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. One in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. And on any given day, more than 20,000 phone calls are made to domestic violence hotlines nationwide. “I feel like a lot of people don’t realize these statistics,” Hale says. “We probably know many people in our lives that go through this.”
One factor in whether or not a victim of domestic abuse will leave the relationship is if they’re allowed to bring their pet with them. Only 10 percent of domestic abuse shelters across the nation accept pets, according to the Purple Leash Project, and 48 percent of people will stay in an abusive situation or household because of their pets. “That struck a chord with me because I’m obsessed with my dog, and I know that I couldn’t ever be separated from him,” Hale says.
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