The Faces of KUA Rescues
The stories behind faculty pets
October 9, 2017
Last month, the staff of The Claw had a chance to visit the Upper Valley Humane Society, a shelter dedicated to rescuing and adopting pets back out to the community. As a way to gain a deeper understanding of the process and reasoning behind adopting pets, I decided to interview teachers and faculty around campus about their pets and document their stories.
There is a slew of rescue dogs on campus. Rescues are typically dogs that are unwanted and may face euthanasia if not adopted within a certain time period. Some faculty have adopted their dogs as puppies, while others got them when they were fully grown. This range in adopted ages shows that there are lots of options for a pet parent wanting to adopt. Students may recognize the names and faces of some of these adorable pooches.
The “Fur Babies” of Faculty:
Tucker, the eleven month old yellow lab, lives on campus with Mr. Parazzo and his family in Brewster House. The family adopted him about a month ago from extended family friends. His original family had taken in Tucker, who was training to be a children’s therapy dog, but found they did not have enough time to take care of him well. He became too much to handle for the family and unfortunately was not able to complete the training course.
Although he couldn’t complete his training, Tuck still embodies the gentle disposition of a therapy dog. In addition to receiving belly rubs, Tucker spends his free time eating and chewing anything in sight, munching on grass, and doing tricks in exchange for treats. Mr. Porrazzo describes him as looking “Big, strong, and very imposing,” but underneath this intimidating exterior is a warm, sweet, playful personality of a puppy who found the right home.
Brewer is an eleven year old lab mix that lives in Rowe house with Mr. and Mrs. Antol. Mrs. Antol had originally taken in Brewer as a foster pet, but soon enough she fell in love with his personality. Originally from Louisiana, Brewer is the puppy of a dog lost in hurricane Katrina. An organization drove down to southern high-kill shelters and brought back a box truck of animals to New England. Surprisingly, Brewer never needed to be trained or leashed, probably because of the foster network he circulated through. Together with Dixie, Brewer enjoys hunting squirrels.
Dixie the twelve year old lab mix also lives in Rowe house with Mr. and Ms. Antol. Mr. Antol came to adopt Dixie after his parents rescued a female dog who, to their surprise, was pregnant with a litter of puppies. According to Mrs. Antol, both pets are wonderful; to put it simply, “They’re both just great dogs!”
Bingley, a five year old Rat Terrier mix who lives in DR with Ms. Kelly, is a rescue from Texas. He was saved and fostered through Eleventh Hour Rescue (located in Randolph, New Jersey), which specializes in rescuing adoptable small dogs set to be euthanized within the next 24 hours.
Ms. Kelly was in search of a dog when she found him on the rescue’s website. After two phone calls, one with the shelter and one with his foster, the adoption was set up. One five-hour drive later and the two were headed back home. Unlike may shelters who make you “jump through hoops” with background checks and home inspections, this shelter was easy to communicate with and efficient in setting up an adoption, similar to UVHS. Named after a character from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Bingley enjoys playing with cat toys. He also spends his time hanging out with Taffy, Zeke, Taters, and Teddy.
Many faculty at KUA live off campus, and these community members also have rescue animals.
Taters the four year old black small-breed rescue lives with Ms. Burroughs at her home in Plainfield. Adopted as a puppy from the Upper Valley Humane Society, Taters enjoys getting “up close and personal” with friends and family, showering them in affection. In his free time he loves to hike and act as watchdog for suspicious chipmunks, squirrels and skunks.
Also in the Burroughs’ household lives Pearl, the two year old silky black dachshund mix. Originally from Texas, Pearl was brought to New England by Paws New England, an organization that rescues animals from shelters with high kill rates. The Burroughs adopted Pearl in December of 2016. Her hobbies include fetching and destroying stuffies, as well as hiking, and giving kisses
Dogs are not the only rescued four legged friends, however. There are plenty of rescue cats that live on and off campus.
Aloha the eleven year old cat lives with Taters and Pearl. Originally adopted from the Upper Valley Humane society, she has definitely made herself at home. Ms. Burroughs refers to her as the “ruler of the house,” and can be found bossing her fellow pets around and staking her territory. Aloha recently underwent a major surgery to fix a bladder issue.
Blue and Tom Tom are two tabby cats live with Ms. Oman at her home off campus. Both five years old, they were adopted as a pair. A farmer in Fairlee, Vermont had a litter of kittens in a box, and these two were the last left. As kittens, the pair both looked close to death, causing them to not be chosen by anyone else. As Ms. Oman put it, Tom Tom needed foot surgery and Blue “looked like she wouldn’t last the night”. After rushing them to the emergency vet, both kittens received IV fluids, restoring the less than one pound kittens. Tom Tom eventually received foot surgery and has made a complete comeback.
The Omans were in search of mouse hunters that year after being faced with a large population of mice in their barn with no natural predators. They first looked to shelters but found all of the kittens had already been adopted. When they found these two, it was a perfect scenario. They “needed kittens, and the kittens needed a home.” In actuality, Blue is the only mouse hunter of the two, but Tom Tom excels in catching frogs. The match was seemingly made in heaven and in Ms. Oman’s words, “We just adore them.”
Two weeks before Christmas, Ms. Hood found Christie. An advertisement for the young cat had been put out by the Springfield Humane Society in Vermont, in hopes of finding her original owner. As she puts it, “I saw her and felt something”. Shortly after, she took a trip down to visit her and check out the possibility of adopting. The next day she adopted and named Christie (after the time of year when she was adopted). Christie was found after being caught in an animal trap and dragging herself up onto a neighbor’s porch. Ms. Hood had adopted her two weeks post-amputation of one of her back legs, but Christie still experienced phantom pains.
Despite this, the first thing she did when let out of her travel crate was run through the house and jump onto the bed, never afraid or skittish, and began cleaning herself. In a strange turn of events, the shelter called Ms. Hood, explaining that the adoption couldn’t be finalized because they had not had Christie posted as a lost pet for long enough. This message came after Ms. Hood had already been footing the bill for various antibiotics and painkillers, as well as vet visits. In a bittersweet development, Christie was never claimed and has lived with the Hoods ever since, an event that Ms. Hood says was “never expected, it was more like fate.”
Stanley the cat lives on campus with Ms. Howe in the MacLeay house, across from Kurth. The long haired orange tiger cat was adopted seven years ago from a barn in Warren, New Hampshire. A litter of kittens were abandoned in a barn and was due to be euthanized. Fortunately, Ms. Howe adopted Stanley, saving him from that fate. About a year and a half ago, Ms. Howe came home one day to find not one, but two cats in the back of the house, one long haired and the other short haired. Thus, Short Haired Stanley was named. This cat was skittish around people but continuously came back for meals every day. Even after Ms. Howe searched around for the cat’s owner, no one spoke up and claimed him as theirs. Because of this, she believes he is a feral cat, but she doesn’t have definitive proof. Today, he stays in the same room as Ms. Howe and her husband Mr. Dewdney, but so far they haven’t been able to interact with him. He comes to eat every morning and evening and as Ms. Howe puts it, “I can’t say he adopted us, because he hasn’t. He comes to eat.”
As well as the occasional kitty visitor, Stanley lives with two Australian shepherds adopted from a farm. According to Ms. Howe, the farm is “practically overfilled” with dogs. The funny part is, for the seven years they have lived together, the cat and dogs have never met! The dogs are given free reign over the front of the house, while Stanley subsides in a room in the back.
Why Adopting is So Important:
The faculty pets are well loved, and each faculty member has a reason for choosing to seek out rescues rather than breeders.
When asked why she chose to adopt, Ms. Kelly said it is more responsible to “acknowledge there are so many great dogs out there (in shelters)” who need a home, rather than “insisting on a brand new dog”. This is a “global problem.” She brought up the point that when you adopt a puppy of a particular breed, “you think you know exactly what you are getting, but animals can change a lot between adolescence and adulthood.”
She also said that “when you adopt an older rescue animal, they have already developed a personality, and you actually know what you are getting.” She also brought up the health benefits of adopting a mixed breed dog. Most purebred dogs can develop severe health issues, such as brachycephalic dogs who develop eye problems and respiratory issues. Ms. Kelly also stated that she is not condemning the adopters for wanting purebred puppies, rather she is acknowledging the reprehensibility of the individuals breeding dogs irresponsibly.
Ms. Burroughs chose to rescue her animals because of the number of wonderful, sweet animals stuck in shelters solely because their owners could no longer take care of them. She observed how animals, and dogs in particular, who are black or older tend to not be adopted as quickly as those who were younger or lighter in color.
Growing up, Ms. Hood was never brought up with purebred animals, nor did she ever have the need to adopt one. Her only desire is to be able to rehome animals whenever she can. She admires and applauds those who organize shelters and their “absolutely wonderful work.” She truly believes and advises that people “Don’t own a pet unless you can really take care of them.”
While they all have different reasons for adopting and different relationships with their pets, the faculty on and off campus value the role rescuing pets plays in our society. Having visited the Upper Valley Humane Society myself, I can speak to the importance of finding loving homes for each pet. I encourage you to consider adoption as an option the next time you’re thinking of expanding your family.