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Posted — June 23

How one dog inspired a whole organization

Awareness about the crucial role that companion animals play in the lives of the un-housed folks who love them has been growing and growing. Toronto-based charity Friends of Ruby is home to Canada’s first custom-built (dog-friendly) transitional housing facility for LGBTQI2S youth.


We recently partnered with Friends of Ruby to support them through a donation and an ongoing supply of dog products for their companion dogs. We reached out to Friends of Ruby’s Development Coordinator to learn more about this incredible organization.


What is one of your proudest moments from your involvement with Friends of Ruby?

“One standout experience so far was the opportunity to support our front-line youth workers in delivering a makeup event at the Drop-in Youth Centre. The event gave participants an opportunity to explore the power of makeup guided by a professional makeup artist. The event embodied everything that Friends of Ruby stands for; creating a safe space for youth to journey towards their true selves.”


How is Friends of Ruby Home unique from other transitional housing facilities?

“From the start, the home was designed with the intention to support the unique mental health and well-being journeys of 2SLGBTQIA+ youth. The Home is a uniquely pet-friendly space with rooms that are both accessible and couple friendly. Together, these create a more inclusive and homelike space for youth that helps them progress towards well-being and independence as their full selves.” 


Tell us more about the story of Ruby!

“Ruby was a golden retriever who graced our spaces for over 6 years alongside her owner, a former Friends of Ruby Director. Always a calm, loving presence, Ruby often joined counselling sessions, therapeutic groups, and social events. We celebrated our love for her by naming our organization, Friends of Ruby, in her honour. In 2021, Friends of Ruby experienced the loss of our dear friend, Ruby, but she lives on through our work. From day to day, Friends of Ruby continues to demonstrate that all of us deserve the support, love, and acceptance like that which came from being a friend of Ruby.”


What else could be done to spread awareness about the crucial role that companion animals play?

“Public education is an important tactic for spreading awareness and making progress towards removing the barriers faced by unhoused folks with companion animals. Unhoused folks should not have to choose between accessing shelters and other essential services and their loving pets. Whether in health, housing, social services, or animal care, amplifying, referring, and supporting the work of organizations that recognize the vital role of companion animals and offer free services is critical. Pet ownership should not be such a significant barrier to accessing housing and services, but too often this is the reality.” 


Here at Earth Rated, we’re big believers in giving back, and we believe every company can be a force for good.


To learn more about Friends of Ruby, click here.

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