Woman and her dog sit on a couch together.

Ruff Haven Crisis Sheltering Keeps Pets With Their People


Among the various pet shelters in Salt Lake City, Ruff Haven Crisis Sheltering is one where customers can receive the highest-quality care for their pets as well as assistance themselves as owners. Dedicated to providing shelter to pets whose owners are temporarily unable to care for them, Ruff Haven provides basic care needs and beyond to many pets, including dogs and cats.

One of their recent customers, Hilary Hall, was happy to sit down and discuss her history with her beloved pet dog Dallas, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and to share insights about the specific types of care and shelter that Ruff Haven has provided Dallas. Hall was accompanied by Dallas himself during the interview, further showing the familial bond the two have with each other.

Hall originally met Dallas after marrying her now ex-husband, who owned Dallas at the time. As the marriage, which included incidents of domestic violence, eventually came to an end, Hall and Dallas started forming a deep attachment to each other. “Dallas started protecting me,” says Hall. “He kind of became my dog.”

“Dallas started protecting me … He kind of became my dog.”

Ruff Haven's logo.
Ruff Haven hosts outreach initiatives to care for as many pets as possible. Image courtesy of Ruff Haven.

Once Hall and Dallas were living on their own, personal circumstances arose and Hall had to consider giving him up so she could work towards emotional stability. Referred to Ruff Haven by Weber County Animal Services in 2021, Hall was compelled to seek out a pet care facility by a friend who had sent her a video of a local homeless person who had given up her dog. The two were eventually reunited after she became stable enough to care for her pet full-time.

“[Dallas] is a talker, he wants to talk to everybody. He loves to play—a typical dog with a ball,” says Hall. “He’s a bit of an older dog, so to see him acting like a puppy is pretty fun.”

Ruff Haven cares for pets whose owners are facing dangerous situations such as domestic violence, evictions or prolonged hospitalization. In addition to providing free, basic pet needs for their shelter dogs—grooming, vaccinations, microchips and spaying or neutering—Ruff Haven also hosts many community outreach initiatives, including dog food drives, which help ensure that even pets not directly in their care are still fed and cared for. This is especially helpful for the homeless population in SLC, many of whom cannot afford food for themselves on a daily basis.

Evaluating pets and owners on a case-by-case basis, Ruff Haven is also incredibly patient with their customers and offers leniency in regards to their short-term shelter policies, including a stay of 60–90 days. In Hall’s case, Ruff Haven allowed Dallas an additional sheltering period of up to eight months. “They were so patient with me; they knew how much I wanted him,” says Hall. “Luckily, I didn’t have to have a ton of services, but the fact that they were willing to keep him for six months to a year helped me significantly.”

“They were so patient with me; they knew how much I wanted him.”

Confident that Ruff Haven will be in service for many years to come, Hall expressed profound gratitude for the long-term help that they have offered both her and Dallas, allowing them to continue coexisting happily and providing mutual support for each other. Hall also expressed relief that Ruff Haven is continuing to grow as an organization, supporting owner welfare just as much
as pet welfare through their facility’s ongoing care and community outreach initiatives.

“Obviously [Ruff Haven is] trying to get more awareness out there on what they do,” says Hall. “They don’t do this for the money, they just want to help.” To learn more about Ruff Haven’s commitment to animal and human welfare, check out their website at ruffhaven.org

Read more about leaders in the Salt Lake City community here:
Mike Farnsworth: Building Community Across Two Worlds
Lavanya Mahate: Building a Compassionate Culinary Community