Not only does this lakeside NH resort provide pet-friendly rooms and services for travelers with animal companions, but through its special Pet-Friendly Program, the Inns & Spa at Mill Falls also helps many animals in need by raising crucial funds for the New Hampshire Humane Society.
Pet-Friendly accommodations at Church Landing and the Inn at Mill Falls are available for an additional $25 fee per pet, which covers additional cleaning costs and amenities such as pet beds, blankets, food dishes, and treats. The Inns then set aside $10 of this fee for the NHHS in Laconia, NH. Since the program’s inception in 2008, The Inns have donated over $10,500 to NHHS. This money has been put to good use, with several creative community projects that benefit animals and people throughout the region. “The donation of this money is so very much appreciated by the New Hampshire Humane Society and we are so grateful to Rusty McLear, the HHH group, and Mill Falls . . . “ says Mary Di Maria, Executive Director of NHHS, as she recently outlined some of the ways this great organization is putting those donations into service:
- NHHS’s Pet Visitation Program is now in effect in 5 locations in the community. Volunteers, along with dogs, visit several retirement homes, allowing the residents to interact with the dogs for a few hours so that the people and pets can have a fun and playful morning together. Forrest View Manor is in its second year of the program, and Golden View, Meredith Bay Colony, the Meredith Community Center, and the Tilton Veterans Home are now also enjoying pet visitations.
- Children ages 8 – 10 can enroll in the Animal Champions Program, a 5-week course that teaches young people skills in animal care. The course covers topics such as animal welfare, exercise & play, and love, and includes an interactive visit at one of the local veterinary hospitals.
- This past summer, NHHS tested the waters for their new Pet Partners Club, a pilot program designed to have groups of children ages 7 – 13 learn about the shelter and its animals in an interactive, fun, and informal setting. The organization hopes to expand this program in 2012. “There are camps in the area that we would love to participate with,” says Mary.
- NHHS has implemented a Spaying & Neutering Program for feral cat communities, working with the Towns of Alton, New Hampton, Meredith, and Plymouth to “TNR” (trap, neuter, release), with 30 cats neutered to date. The group also continues to offer low-cost spays and neuters to the public to help reduce the overpopulation of kittens and puppies.
- For the last six years, NHHS has persevered in the transportation of dogs in need from Alabama, North & South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and Indiana. “These dogs are destined to be euthanized, only for the fact that they are in the wrong place,” explains Mary. “We have saved the lives of over 1,800 dogs and puppies, with 259 just this year, and will continue to do so until the overpopulation of dogs is brought under control. I can only hope that this happens in my lifetime!”
- This year, NHHS will be partnering with the Laconia Meals on Wheels to include dog and cat food for local housebound citizens. Additionally, the shelter runs a pet food pantry, where citizens who can’t afford to feed their animals can obtain food for their pets at no cost. The pantry is now in its 3rd year, and there are currently 50 citizens who utilize this service on a regular basis.
These are just a few of the highlights at NHHS. Mary said that in 2011, the shelter was hit with four “very nasty hoarding situations including dogs, cats, puppies and kittens, along with the more than 1,200 animals that came through our doors as their last resort.” Luckily for many of these pets, more than 89 cats and 36 dogs went to “forever homes” in the month of December, and a total of 894 animals were adopted in 2011. “Every single animal is given a thorough exam by our veterinarian, Dr. Rich Montminy,” says Mary. Each animal that is ready for adoption has been spayed or neutered if appropriate for its age, fully vaccinated, and micro-chipped. “As always, no animal is ever euthanized for time, money, or space constraints,” adds Mary, “ . . . all remain with us until they find their forever home, no matter how long the wait might be for them. Simon our cat resident has been here over 800 days and I am confident that 2012 will be his year.”
All money received at the NH Humane Society is based on the generosity of donors, as the organization receives no federal, state, or other humane society funds. Mary is thankful for the donations from the Inns’ Pet-Friendly Program. “It is comforting that we have such strong support from Mill Falls!”
The Mill Falls Blogging Team
Photos courtesy of the New Hampshire Humane Society