DETROIT -

One dog may soon be responsible for changing policies at domestic violence shelters across the country.

Last year, a woman called the Rose Brooks Center for domestic violence in Kansas City after being brutally beaten with a hammer by her boyfriend, according to KCTV5 in Kansas City.  She said, if it wasn’t for her dog, a Great Dane, who jumped in the middle of the fight and protected her, she might have died.  The man then threw both the dog and the woman out a second story window.  The woman called her dog "her angel."

In the past, the Rose Brooks Center didn’t accept animals, but after the woman refused to abandon her dog the center reconsidered.

“Forty percent of the women will not leave their pets, so they live in their cars or they stay [with the abuser],” Susan Miller, the center’s chief executive, told KCTV5. “They risk their own life or the lives of their children.”

A year later, the Rose Brooks Center is building a pet-friendly wing for women who wouldn’t leave their abusive homes without their pets.

Miller told KCTV5 that seven out of 10 women in the U.S. say they can’t escape an abusive relationship because the abuser threatens to harm a pet, while two out of five say that they worry what will happen to their animal if they leave a relationship.

“[Pets] provide so much comfort, and to have to leave that pet behind is so heartbreaking,” Miller said. “It has become abundantly clear that the incredible therapeutic benefits that pets can have on a family greatly outweigh the cost and inconvenience of housing them.”