Peace and Paws Dog Rescue accents smiles

Since it began in 2007, Peace and Paws rescue group has helped place over 1,700 dogs.

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Peace and Paws Rescue Peace and Paws Dog Rescue accents smiles

Any dog lover who frequents Facebook sees them every day: posts warning that Fido has one day left until he's euthanized or that Fluffy needs some type of care that a shelter can't afford. Eventually overwhelmed dog lovers may tune out such posts.

Bo and Melissa Hannon take a different approach to publicizing their nonprofit rescue group, Peace and Paws Dog Rescue of Hillsboro, N.H.

"People like to laugh more than they like to cry," Melissa says. "And we want to educate people but also catch people's attention."

To educate potential adopters and keep them smiling, the Hannons have employed photos of their own rescue dogs, Giddy and Twinkle, on the Peace and Paws website and Facebook page.

Giddy, a white Labrador Retriever mix, age 5, generally wears a sign that contains a dog care tip. Sitting next to Giddy is Twinkle, a black Labrador Retriever mix, 4, who wears a sign that offers a sarcastic comment about Giddy's tip. Below the photo is a link to the page that showcases the group's adoptable dogs.

The photos generally reflect each dog's personality. "Giddy is somewhat of a loner but does like Twinkle a lot," Melissa says. "Aside from Twinkle, Giddy usually keeps to himself. Twinkle is a riot; she is a party in a black fur coat. [She believes] the world is for her enjoyment and that she is the guest of honor at everything. If she could talk, I'm sure she would be as sarcastic as her signs."

The Hannons stress that social media such as Facebook plays a big role in getting dogs adopted. Since it began in 2007, their all-volunteer rescue group has helped place over 1,700 dogs. "Facebook is a great source of information as well as getting the word out about specific dogs in need," Melissa says. "Facebook is wonderful for rescue, if used correctly."

Although the Hannons employ humor to promote Peace and Paws, the organization's mission is serious: to find forever homes for dogs in areas with high-kill shelters. Peace and Paws works with rescue groups, mainly in Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, Mississippi and Alabama, to identify such dogs, who are adopted or placed in foster homes. After the dogs have been in foster homes for at least two weeks, the Hannons advertise their availability through the Peace and Paws website, which links to

Some dogs need more time for their forever homes to materialize. "The last pit bull we had took seven months [to place in] the correct home," Melissa says.

Most of the dogs are placed in the New England area. Once a match is found, the Hannons or their shelter/rescue partner bring the dog to her new home through the Peace and Paws transport arm, Rescue Riders Transport. They'll also transport dogs to local volunteers' homes or their own homes if there's room to foster the dogs there.

"We guarantee our dogs, and if for any reason it is not a good match, we will take the dog back into rescue," Melissa says. "Luckily, we do not have dogs returned often. "

The goal of Peace and Paws is to make sure that "the adopters have a good experience adopting a rescue dog," Melissa adds. "If adopters have a positive rescue experience, they will tell their friends, and people will adopt, and more dogs will be saved."

And if all concerned can laugh during the process, so much the better.

The efforts of Peace and Paws Dog Rescue to help shelter dogs find forever homes inspired, a website dedicated to providing nutritious food to shelter animals, to donate 5,000 meals to a rescue partner designed by Peace and Paws.

See more dog adoption and rescue stories »

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