The Hippo


Jul 16, 2019








Animal adoption agencies
• All Breed Rescue and Adoption  (Meet-and-greet events are held periodically on the Seacoast and surrounding areas.) Contact: Call 580-2121 or visit
• Animal Allies (Serves Greater Manchester) Contact: Call 228-6755 or visit
• Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire 545 Route 101, Bedford Contact: Call 472-3647 or visit
• Annie’s Place All Breed Rescue
Milford Contact: Call 801-8270 or visit
• Canine Commitment New Boston Contact: Email or visit
• A Canine’s Creed Rescue
Contact: Email or visit
• Cocheco Valley Humane Society 262 County Farm Road, Dover Contact: Call 749-5322 or visit
• Cocker Spaniel Rescue of New England Located in Greenfield, serves all New England states Contact: Call 547-3363 or visit
• Concord Merrimack County SPCA 130 Washington St., Penacook Contact: 753-9801 or visit
• Franklin Animal Shelter 71 Punch Brook Road, Franklin Contact: Call 934-4132 or visit
• The Greater Derry Humane Society (The Greater Derry Humane Society does not operate a shelter facility. All animals rescued are placed in foster care.) Contact: Call 434-1512 or visit
• Greyhound Pets of America - Central New Hampshire Chapter
Located in Concord. Contact: Call 1-888-507-9597 or visit
• Greyhound Placement Service of NH K9 Kaos, 432 Sixth Street, Dover Contact: Call 842-4349 or visit
• Humane Society for Greater Nashua 24 Ferry Road, NashuaContact: Call 889-BARK or visit
• Lakes Region Humane Society
11 Old Route 28, Ossipee
Contact: Call 539-1077 or visit
• Libby’s Haven for Senior Canines Canterbury Contact: Call 783-9416 or visit
• Friends of the Manchester Animal Shelter
490 Dunbarton Road, Manchester Contact: Call 628-3544 or visit
• New England Basset Hound Rescue 508-243-3622 or
• New Hampshire Humane Society 1305 Meredith Center Road, Laconia Contact: Call 524-3252 or visit
• New Hampshire SPCA 104 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham Contact: 772-2921 or
• Salem Animal Rescue League
4 SARL Drive, Salem Contact: Call 893-3210 or visit
• We Are Animal Guardians, Weare Contact: Call 529-5443 or visit
• Yankee Chihuahua Rescue

The Pets Issue
Animals for everyone


2/28/2013 - Animals can help us just as much as we can help them. In this year’s pet issue, we take a look at local shelters, where down-on-their luck animals can always benefit from some extra human affection. Some pets need even more love and care than others; we talked with a local company that specializes in handicapped equipment for pets and has helped one little piglet become a YouTube sensation. 
Other times, animals do the helping. Dogs that listen to children read, horses that stand patiently while being groomed — animal interactions can be highly therapeutic. 
And then, bunnies. We talked to local experts about what kind of homes are best for rabbits. (Hint: Don’t run out and buy a bunny for your kids just because it’s almost Easter.) 
There’s an animal for everyone out there; if you haven’t already found yours, check out our list of local shelters and head out to meet a furry friend or two. 
Rescue a new friend
Shelters unite animals with loving families
Stephen Roberto does not mind the scratches that cover his hands. After eight years of volunteer service at animal shelters in southern New Hampshire, he’s done it all, but has one skill in particular that he’s mastered.
“I specialize in socializing cranky cats,” Roberto said, as he walked a small terrier around the Friends of the Manchester Animal Shelter facility on a recent Friday afternoon. “I have a good technique.”
A lifelong animal lover, Roberto said he spends as much time as possible helping animals in need. He said he started his volunteer service at the Humane Society for Greater Nashua and immediately became hooked on helping animals entering the facility find comfort and, ultimately, a permanent home outside the shelter.
Like many of the animals he encountered at the shelter, Roberto said he was experiencing a rough patch in his own life when he got started. But the fulfillment he’s found in volunteering in Nashua and Manchester helped him stay upbeat and find meaning in each day of work.
“For me, this is like mental therapy,” he said.
Volunteers like Roberto combine with full-time and part-time staff and veterinarians to help make the lives of homeless animals as comfortable as possible. It can be challenging, considering some of the conditions the pets have experienced before coming to the shelter. Angelica Ladd, director of development at the Friends of the Manchester Animal Shelter, said a common misconception is that shelter life is traumatic for the animals.
Though the cages and close housing quarters can look off-putting, Ladd said, dogs, cats and other animals brought to the shelter receive regular feedings, exercise and medical care — all necessities lacking out on the street or in an unfit home.
“People will say, ‘My dog just got out of doggy jail,’” Ladd said. “But it’s better here than where they were before.”
Ladd said the shelter has a perfect example of that in Carl, a recent intake from the city that entered the shelter skinny and sickly. Though still a bit thin, Carl happily accepts treats from visitors and will even wag his tail.
Shelley Greenglass, the shelter manager at the Friends of the Manchester Animal Shelter, said it’s always heartbreaking to see a sick, malnourished or stray animal, but the reward in reviving them and finding them a home is difficult to describe.
“I always wish I could read the minds of these animals,” she said. “When we take them, from the day they arrive here, they are cared for like they’re ours.”
Unlike the Manchester shelter, which is contracted with the city to take in stray pets, the Animal Rescue of League of New Hampshire in Bedford accepts surrendered animals. The dogs, cats, small animals and occasional horse enter the shelter in an intake room toward the back of the facility.
From there, any necessary veterinary work is done in house, including spay and neuter surgery. Then animals will go through a behavior evaluation to help determine what sort of future home would suit the pet best. Some categories include judging whether an animal would be comfortable living among other animals, it would be safe to have around children and how it interacts with humans in general.
Once an animal has cleared its evaluations, it can be moved into the shelter’s general population and adopted.
Danielle Snyder, the adoptions director at the Animal Rescue League, said a typical day at the shelter can bring a wide range of emotions. Watching down-on-their-luck pet owners forced to surrender a beloved dog or cat can be devastating, but the happy endings make it all worthwhile.
“For me, my favorite families to work with are ones that have never had a pet,” Snyder said. “When they leave with a first pet, it’s the most rewarding thing that I do.”
Snyder said one of the most important parts of the adoption process is finding the right match, for both the pet and the people. For example, a first-time pet owner would not be well suited for a dog with behavioral or health problems. Likewise, an elderly adopter may not be the best fit for a dog that requires a great deal of exercise, like one of the dogs currently at the shelter that goes on runs with volunteers that last for several miles.
“We get to know our adopters,” Snyder said. “If we haven’t found them the right pet, then we’ll search it out.”
Marie Kohler has volunteered at the Animal Rescue League since 1997, starting off as a dog walker and has taken on other responsibilities, including tracking animal inventory, helping with events and transporting dogs off site.
As she played with a year-old terrier one last time before it went home with its new family, the dog’s constant tail-wagging and face-licking made it clear that the once-homeless pet was well loved.
“I love animals,” Kohler said. “And this is the place to be.”
Pet therapy
What animals can do for humans
Lucy, a 17-year-old Corgi who passed away last year, heard hundreds of children’s books in her lifetime. And while she may not have been able to give a book report, Lucy gave something much more meaningful — her undivided attention and unconditional love to children who needed it the most.
Difficulty reading can sometimes stem from emotional and social problems; by reading to a dog, kids get the dual benefit of practicing their reading skills and spending time with a comforting companion. 
“It’s a nice, big furry thing that comes over and licks and you say hello,” said Linda Browne, Lucy’s handler. “They’re an immediate friend, and [there is] an immediate bond.”
Browne has been a fixture in the Bedford School System for the last five years as part of a Reading Education Assistance Dogs team for New England Pet Partners, Inc. NEPP is a Pelham-based firm that specializes in pet therapy. 
Shortly after Browne got Lucy, her husband suffered a heart attack. He survived, but it was a traumatic time.
“Lucy, she was just amazing. During that time, she just made us laugh,” Browne said.
Browne felt she had to share the love, she said. NEPP, in addition to providing therapy services, also trains and periodically evaluates teams. President Maureen Ross began the company after her time at UpReach Therapeutic Riding Center in Goffstown.
“The riding segued into pet-assisted therapy, because I found kids and families [who] couldn’t ride; I would work with them and my dog,” she said. “When [animals are] present, the whole atmosphere changes. You engage people.”
Spending time with pets has been found to help with recovery from illness, enhance healing from injuries and lower blood pressure, and they also help with a range of social and emotional problems, Ross said. 
Katie Brouillette, chapter director for Pets for Vets New Hampshire, began a chapter to do just that.
“I do have a psychology degree, but I’ve always been very interested in the animal aspect, and I have experience with a lot of veterans through my fiancee’s family,” she said.
Pets for Vets New Hampshire is in the process of making its first match after being founded in May 2012. A veteran in Keene filled out an application, which includes questions about personality and service background and what the applicant wants in a pet.
“From there, we train the animals and get them ready for their new owners,” Brouillette said.
Typically, veterans request dogs and cats, Brouillette said, but she has heard of matches with rabbits and other smaller animals. Work dogs, such as German Shepherds or Newfoundlands, which tend to be energetic, obedient and playful, Brouillette said, are the most common.
Most pets are eligible, although those that cannot be vaccinated or require highly specialized care are not; no matter how soothing wolves, snakes, ferrets, lizards and other exotic animals may be to certain people, they are not used in official pet-assisted therapy applications.
Horses have a lot to offer, though. UpReach Program Director Kristen McGraw helps coordinate programs that serve between 60 and 70 students each week with their dozen horses.
Both equine-assisted learning, a non-riding program that includes activities like grooming, and therapeutic riding can have major benefits. Just being around horses can be calming, especially for people with emotional issues.
“Humans can embrace horses in ways even they can’t understand sometimes. Bullied kids or anxious people really benefit. Someone who’s suffered from anxiety or abuse for 90 percent of their life comes to the barn, and the smells and sights get things more organized in their brain,” McGraw said. “We encourage everybody, even our volunteers, to leave their garbage at the door. You need to be in the moment in the presence of animals,” she said.
About those bunnies...
Interactive, playful, but maybe not perfect for small children
Cute bunnies and Easter go hand in hand, but think twice before you stick a rabbit in your kid’s Easter basket. While bunnies can make great pets, families with young children might not want to say “Happy Easter” with a rabbit. 
In general, Dr. George Messenger of the Fisherville Animal Hospital and Bird Clinic in Concord, said rabbits make reasonably good pets: they don’t require a lot of space, they have fairly simple needs, they provide companionship and they have personality.
However, they can be a little jumpy. 
“A little kid is not going to be a very good with a bunny, as caretaker,” Messenger said. “They’re not as cuddly as other animals and they can sometimes be dangerous to pick up. They have powerful back legs, and if they’re not handled properly, they can break their back if they kick their legs the wrong way. They could scratch a child.”
Messenger said rabbits are sometimes impulsive purchases at this time of year, and in our “throw-away society,” people will often get a bunny at Easter and decide within a few months or a year they don’t want it anymore. 
That’s not to say rabbits don’t make good pets, but they have their own needs. 
“I would say, properly socialized, they certainly can be with younger children, but you can’t just pick them up like a puppy,” said Jennifer Verville, animal care supervisor at the Concord-Merrimack County Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals, which has rabbits available for adoption regularly. “They need to [feel] secure when you hold them.”
The combination of rabbits and small children can work, but young children can unintentionally hurt bunnies by dropping them, Verville said. 
“They don’t bounce back like cats,” Verville said. 
But in the right home, they can be a great fit. 
“They are very social pets, very curious,” Verville said. “They love to have different rotations of toys, cardboard boxes, paper towel tubes. They like to grab items with their mouths and toss them around. It’s a fun game for them.”
Small rabbits weigh less than three pounds, though bigger breeds can exceed 10 pounds. Rabbits come in all sizes, in different coats, including Angora, which requires grooming, as well as with upright or droopy ears. That tends to be a matter of personal preference, Verville said. 
Bunnies, which Verville suggested keeping in cages indoors, love getting exercise by hopping around in a supervised, rabbit-safe environment. 
“When they explore, they jump around, and you can see what makes them happy,” Verville said. 
Verville said there are puppy play pens that can work for bunnies as well.
“There are people out there who are very creative in toy-making,” Verville said. “I know personally, I used to stack up toddler cups...and the rabbit would just plow through them. He thought it was funny. They’re not an animal to just sit in a cage.”
They can be wonderful pets if they get the socialization, the human interaction they crave, Verville said. She suggested taking rabbits out of the cage once a day for some exercise, or at least a few times each week. 
Rabbits can run the gamut in terms of interactivity. Some seek attention like a cat or dog, while others want simply to be left alone. Messenger figures starting out with a young rabbit is best, since it would allow the best chance for socialization. 
“They can realize you are not going to hurt them, that you’re safe,” Messenger said. “You can develop a nice bond.”
Verville said rabbits that have been spayed or neutered can typically adapt to new environments and people if they’re properly socialized. 
Cats are particularly independent and can be, generally, left safely home alone during the day with little concern for belongings. Rabbits are chewers, though. They will chew just about anything, including baseboards, furniture, and wires. That said, rabbits are perfectly fine for a stretch of a couple days in the cage, as long as someone is providing food and water. 
Rabbits can get along with other pets, but again, the potential for them to be harmed, even inadvertently, is there. Messenger said rabbits frequently get along with other animals, but they sometimes do not like other rabbits. 
“They can be very mean to each other,” Messenger said. “Of course, I have clients who have many, many rabbits without problems. Sometimes they’re perfectly fine with cats and dogs. They’re pretty flexible, I’d say.”
In general, rabbits are largely maintenance-free when it comes to health, but there are some things to keep in mind. 
“They’re pretty healthy little critters,” Messenger said. 
Rabbits can be taken outside, but they should be supervised in an enclosed area. They like to dig, so make sure they can’t get out of their play area, Verville said. Also, rabbits are appetizing for predators, such as hawks, so be extra careful to protect them. 
Rabbit teeth grow constantly and they can occasionally become overgrown. Nails need to be trimmed. 
Rabbits need to eat a mostly fiber diet. They cannot have simple sugars and starches. 
Female rabbits are particularly prone to uterine cancer — 80 percent of unspayed female rabbits get uterine cancer — but neutering females eliminates that possibility. 
In general, rabbits are largely maintenance-free when it comes to health, but there are some things to keep in mind. 
“They’re pretty healthy little critters,” Messenger said. 
Rabbits can be taken outside, but they should be supervised in an enclosed area. They like to dig, so make sure they can’t get out of their play area, Verville said. Also, rabbits are appetizing for predators, such as hawks, so be extra careful to protect them. 
Rabbit teeth grow constantly and they can occasionally become overgrown. Nails need to be trimmed. 
Rabbits need to eat a mostly fiber diet. They cannot have simple sugars and starches. 
Female rabbits are particularly prone to uterine cancer — 80 percent of unspayed female rabbits get uterine cancer — but neutering females eliminates that possibility. 
Challenge accepted
Handicapped pets rule YouTube, Mount Washington
Ever heard of Chris P. Bacon?
If you follow New Hampshire news or viral YouTube videos, you might have; he’s the adorable grunting piglet born without the use of his hind limbs who has quickly become famous for motoring around with his K’NEX-constructed wheelchair.
The miniscule wheelchair you see him using on his 800,000-plus hit YouTube video is adequate for now, while he’s a baby. But when he grows larger, he’s going to need something more substantial. That’s where the Nashua-based comes in. 
Lisa-Marie Mulkern, director of marketing and communication at, met Chris P. Bacon’s owner, Dr. Len Lucero, in January at the 2013 North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando. Lucero told Mulkern about Bacon’s history: a client who could not care for him dropped him off at Lucero’s veterinary hospital  in Florida, thinking the pig had to be put down. Lucero felt that there was still hope for him.
He showed Mulkern the YouTube video, and the two discussed the little wheelchair’s flaws. For one, it wasn’t heavy enough; Bacon frequently lifts the chair up off the ground. His creation also wouldn’t suffice when Chris P. Bacon grew.
“He’s going to need a wheelchair that can grow with him,” Mulkern said. 
So donated the product that they’re most known for: the Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair.
While Bacon is the first pig to use a Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair, his story is very similar, if not identical, to that of many of the pets assists.
“We have a number of customers who come to our website who didn’t know or were not offered any sort of mobility device for their pet. Our goal is to educate pet owners that this option is available,” Mulkern said. “Euthanasia shouldn’t be the only option you consider. We want people to know that they’re available.”
Their product is unique due to its ability to grow with the animals.
“It’s adjustable in height, length and width. Custom-made wheelchairs often require up to a dozen different measurements, and you usually have to wait weeks before you have something,” Mulkern said.
Cathy Miller, a Manchester resident, heard about from, of all places, Good Morning America. Her Rottweiler German Shepard-mixed dog, Apollo, developed a nerve disease at age 13 that made it difficult for him to walk. 
Now, “He has a sense of independence. He was very depressed for the first month, when he couldn’t walk. ... But that’s why he took right to walking in the wheelchair,” Miller said.    
Dogs and dog owners make up the majority their customers, but there have also been two deer, a goat and a miniature horse. (The deer had been adopted by their owners after having been found unable to move in the woods, said Kathy Conley, vice president of operations.) They currently sell to more than 21 countries all over the world.
One of their first customers was Lucy, an adorable black mixed-breed dog who Peterborough resident Courtney Dunning adopted from Puerto Rico a few years ago. Lucy set the bar quite high for handicapped pets: a couple of summers back, she trekked up Mount Washington with her Walkin’ Wheels.
When Dunning first adopted Lucy, she already had a wheelchair, but it was in rough shape, pieced together with duct tape. Sometimes she fell out of it. 
It was luck that introduced Courtney and Lucy to the Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair; they were approached while out and about by someone from who asked if Lucy could test out a new product.
Lucy took to it very quickly; she loved to go on walks and runs, so Dunning decided take her up Pack Monadnock. This mountain was close by and featured an auto road that would be perfect for climbing up in a wheelchair.
“I took the dog carriage because I wasn’t sure how she’d do with that elevation. She tore up the mountain. We got to the top, took a picture and posted it on Facebook,” Dunning said. 
Prompted by the responses she’d received after Lucy’s first mountain, she decided to try something more difficult: Mount Washington. You can see her journey at
“There’s really a cool culture out there, not just for dogs. It’s really nice to see that people recognize that just because an animal is disabled, there’s no reason that it can’t still live a happy, fulfilling life,” Dunning said.
The business also features dog splints, paw guards (which protects paws from becoming dry and cracked from ice, snow, salt and hot pavement), pet transport stretchers, no-cone/no-bite collars for wound protection, eat slow-be healthy dog food bowls, walkin’ wheels drag bags, harnesses, and most recently, front-wheel attachments. 
“We often suggest that customers put a leash on their dog when he or she goes to use the wheelchair for the first time,” Conley said. “We had one dog who shot off like a rocket! The owner was in tears. ...It’s very heartwarming for us, and is a very rewarding job to be in.”  

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