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Courtesy photo.




Cruisin’ 4 Critters 

When: Saturday, Aug. 12, at 8 a.m.
Where: Manchester Animal Shelter, 490 Dunbarton Road, Manchester 
Cost: $25 for riders and $10 dollars for passengers.
Visit: manchesteranimalshelter.org




Ride for vets and pets
Bikers invited to join Cruisin’ 4 Critters

08/10/17
By Ethan Hogan



 By riding through 65 miles of scenic southern New Hampshire, bikers can help pair up veterans with shelter animals during Cruisin’ 4 Critters on Saturday, Aug. 12.

The Manchester Animal Shelter’s 4 Paws 4 Vets program is hosting the 12th annual motorcycle ride to raise money for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder who want to adopt shelter animals. 
The ride starts at the Manchester Animal Shelter at 8 a.m., and participants will pay $25 per rider and $15 per passenger. It’s a poker ride, so riders will be given cards throughout the day and the rider with the best hand at the end of the ride wins. 
“It’s all back roads so it’s all very scenic,” said Martha Frechette, who has been organizing the event for seven years.
Frechette expects about 120 riders and passengers on 70 motorcycles this year. The crew is made up of devoted participants as well as people participating for the first time.
Frechette recalled one veteran who benefited from the 4 Paws 4 Vets program. The veteran was uncomfortable with loud noises like thunderstorms and fireworks so the staff at the Manchester Animal Shelter was able to find him a dog that had the same trouble.
“They had fallen in love with each other and when we paired them up, they were the perfect match for each other because they were able to help each other through those things,” Frechette said.
The shelter has been taking care of abandoned animals since 1996, and according to Laura Gilman, the shelter director, it has helped over 25,000 animals. Gilman said veterans with PTSD typically get a note from their doctors that says they are in need of a companion animal. With a doctor’s note the 4 Paws 4 Pets program waives the standard animal adoption fee, which can range from $25 to $350. 
The Manchester shelter can hold up to 50 animals at a time and Gilman said they have a variety of animals ranging from dogs and cats to guinea pigs, snakes, chinchillas and birds. The animals come to them from Animal Control, which has found them abandoned and in some cases facing abuse and neglect.
Veterans coming home from service often need the type of attention that an animal is uniquely capably of giving a human, Gilman said, and the Cruisin’ 4 Critters motorcycle ride raises money to help bring them together. 
“Mainly it’s companionships — they are looking for somebody to be around,” Gilman said. “Having a pet as a companion has really good health benefits, and our shelter animals need a companion too.”
In most cases, Gilman said, both the veteran and the animal have been through some form of trauma and often the shared experience helps them get along well.
Veteran organizations like the American Legion Association have motorcycle riding groups whose members often participate in the event. Gilman said families and individuals who love animals often come out as well, and every year they get new riders.
The ride makes one stop at the Country 3 Corners in Weare, where bikers will get a poker card to add to their hand; if they want to re-draw a card, they can donate $5.
The ride ends at the Alpine Club, where riders will get their last poker card; whoever ends up with the best hand wins a prize. There will be barbecue pulled pork at noon as well as a DJ and raffles. 





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