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Pandemic was a happy time for pets, but not all had a happy ending 

  • Lisa Roche, a volunteer at Live and Let Live Farms works with Fly, a horse whose owner died of COVID-19. Courtesy of Teresa Paradis

  • — Courtesy of Teresa Paradis

  • — Courtesy of  Teresa Paradis

  • — Courtesy of  Teresa Paradis 

  • — Courtesy of Teresa Paradis

  • — Courtesy of  Teresa Paradis

  • — Courtesy of Teresa Paradis

  • — Courtesy of Teresa Paradis

  • — Courtesy of Teresa Paradis

  • — Courtesy of Tammie Roger

  • Blondie, and her fourteen puppies Tucker, Guinness, Glasses, Bam Bam, Walter, Remmington, Apple, Phoebe, Basil, Daisy, Dallas, Keith, Brownie and Loki will go back to Live and Let Live Farms so they can be put up for adoption. Courtesy of Tammie Roger

Monitor staff
Published: 7/2/2021 4:21:39 PM

When Tammie Roger and her kids decided to foster a dog, little did they know they would end up with fifteen.

Roger called her four kids over to help her name all fifteen – Blondie, Tucker, Guinness, Glasses, Bam Bam, Walter, Remmington, Apple, Phoebe, Basil, Daisy, Dallas, Keith, Brownie and Loki – they recited. 

Two weeks after the Rogers brought Blondie home from Live and Let Live Farms, she gave birth to the puppies.

Besides a hedgehog, the Rogers did not have pets. Things changed quickly at their Bow home.

“The kids have thought about having a dog and we thought it would be a fun experience,” said Roger. “We never thought it would be fourteen.”

Throughout the pandemic, pet fosters and adoptions soared,  so much so that nearly every animal with four legs and a tail found a home. Rumors of pet remorse – where someone returns an adopted animal – are generally unfounded a year later. By most measures, the pandemic was a good time for pets – they had more human company and attention than ever.   

But not all stories had a happy ending. 

While pet adoptions soared, one question remained: When an owner dies or became severely ill from the coronavirus, what happens to their animal?

Fly, a brown and white paint horse, was one of those left behind. When his owner died from COVID-19 complications in September, he was without a home. Then, Live and Let Live Farm in Chichester took him in.

Teresa Paradis, the founder of Live and Let Live, is not new to the rescue business. She has worked with animals since she was 13, first starting with racehorses.

“That’s when I discovered horses needed help,” she said.

But, Paradis helps more than just horses. On the sanctuary’s 70-acre property, lives a mini zoo of chickens, ducks, goats, pigs, rabbits, cats and dogs – to name a few.

Despite the hundreds of animals she’s saved, the losses still hurt.

“There’s a lot of heavy tears in rescue,” she said.

Riding around her property in a golf-cart, Paradis shares each animal’s backstory and care plan. Some animals are suffering from starvation when they arrive, others are not socialized properly. With many of the cases, it may take over a year to heal or train the animal before it is are ready for adoption.

Paradis pointed to Nico, who arrived at the farm six years ago, after the horse was found wandering the streets of Weare. Starved at the time, Paradis helping him gain weight and rebuild muscle. But when summertime came, Nico’s white fur summer coat did not grow in. Starvation led to a stunt in hair growth, meaning the horse needed to spend the summer under a big white tent on the property to avoid sun damage.

Now Nico, with regained weight and a new coat, trots the property.

Together, Paradis’s family has built and maintained the farm for the last two decades. Next year, will be their 20th anniversary as a non-profit organization.

For the anniversary, they hope to build a new animal adoption center and rehabilitation building. Like other shelters and rescue organizations, Paradis saw an increase in adoptions that has finally started to slow down.

“A lot of people needed the companionship of animals while they were home,” she said.

With puppies, kittens and bunnies available, Paradis plans to restart their adoption windows on Sundays, where interested families can come by and potentially leave with a pet. Throughout the pandemic, adoptions were by appointment only.

Paradis urges new pet owners to have a plan for their pets with a return to work in mind. And for those who want to try out new responsibilities without a long-term commitment, fostering is always an option.

Now at eight weeks old, the litter of 14 puppies raised by Roger and her kids in Bow will go back to Live and Let Live Farm –  where they initially fostered Blondie from – and will be up for adoption.

Roger and her family know they will absolutely foster again the future.

“It is a great way to try to see if dogs are for you before you actually get a dog. It has  been a great family experience,” she said. “There is  nothing like hugging a puppy.”


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