Many New England barns carry garden tools and tractors, but Melissa Hannon and her husband Bo’s barn will soon hold something much different — hope, and a whole lot of dogs.
The Hillsborough couple has been providing hope to dogs with futures that were otherwise bleak since 2006, when they started a rescue non-profit called Peace and Paws.to pick up dogs retrieved from high-kill shelters in the South.
The pair has since partnered with four southern rescue organizations, corralling the dogs every other week and delivering them to families in the New England states, where there’s a shortage of puppies. Now, Peace and Paws is ready to take the next step.
“We can’t help [too] many dogs because there’s just nowhere for them to go,” Hannon said.
With the new barn, which she hopes to have completed by January, Hannon will be able to house animals that don’t already have owners or foster families lined up.
“I [just wanted] to really be able to take these special needs dogs that no one can take or afford,” she said.
To date, the couple has helped deliver more than 2,000 dogs to permanent homes over the course of 175 trips. One year after Peace and Paws was launched, the couple started a dog transportation business — Rescue Riders Transport — to offer services to other rescues looking to transport large number of animals.
Peace and Paws has become one big family of dog owners, as many of those who have adopted dogs through the organization interact regularly on Facebook.
“I think we’ve done a real good job at building a community, and we take that following seriously,” said Hannon. “We wouldn’t be where we are without adopters and friends and fans.”
Feeding off that community, the non-profit has started an online fundraiser on Indiegogo to help out with the $115,000 barn renovation expense. The campaign will run until the end of the year.
“The potential and the possibilities are endless,” said Hannon. “I think if you keep your eye on your goal and do it right, I think you can do anything. It seems small to me for what our visions are, but the more that [the barn] is coming together and the more that it’s getting done, it’s quite a facility. I think it’s going to be awesome.”