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(Jesse Mermell)

Brookline Selectwoman Jesse Mermell talks about her rescue pet

By Kristi Palma
Boston.com Staff / June 14, 2012
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Brookline Selectwoman Jesse Mermell grew up with pets in rural Pennsylvania. But she didn't have a pet of her own until recently when she adopted a rescue dog, a Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix named Isabella, from the MSPCA. The local politician, who was also named by The Improper Bostonian as one of the top 20 most desirable bachelor/ettes in Boston, talked to Boston.com Pets about life as a dog owner, whether Brookline is pet-friendly, and if it's a deal breaker when a date isn't an animal lover.

Q: What made you choose Isabella?

A: Oh my goodness. So I was just at the MSPCA for a tour they gave of the shelter for local elected officials... and I had no plans to adopt a pet at that particular moment. But we went into the dog room and I walked around the corner and I saw her there in her crate and we just instantly connected.

Q: How did Isabella get her name?

A: She came with her name.

Q: Why did you keep it?

A: She had been through so much in her young life that she didn't need any more changes. And Isabella is a perfectly lovely name.

Q: What has she been through?

A: So from what I know she is 1 [year old]. And her previous owners let their kids be pretty rough with her. And she has a mangled left ear and some scarring on her right ear.

Q: Have you always owned pets?

A: This is my first pet on my own. But I grew up in a really rural area so we had rescue dogs and rescue cats and we had rabbits and horses and chickens. You name it.

Q: You retweeted someone talking about how they love seeing dogs at events in Brookline. Do you feel Brookline is a pet-friendly place?

A: Oh, Brookline is a great place for pets. We have a green dog program where a number of our parks let you bring your pets and let them run off leash. It's been really interesting to sort of see the town through new eyes as a pet owner in Brookline.

Q: What do you like to do with your dog?

A: We do a lot of walking and I have a dog-friendly office so she comes to my office with me most days. She's here with me right now.

Q: Name three traits you love about Isabella

A: I love how inquisitive she is. I love that she is very sweet and affectionate. And I love that when people see her walking down the street, they can have a totally stoic expression on their face and they see her with her cute little tail wagging and she always manages to get them to crack a smile.

Q: The Improper Bostonian named you one of the city's top 20 most desirable bachelor/ettes. Is it a deal breaker if your date is not an animal lover?

A: (laughs) That is a mortifying question. Actually, I'm no longer eligible. I'm in a relationship with someone who has a dog. So he's certainly an animal lover.

Q: What is your message to people who are unsure about adopting a rescue pet?

A: Well, probably first and foremost, to make sure you can give any pet a good home. Thankfully, places like the MSPCA do a really fantastic job of screening people. Beyond that, it's just such a rewarding and enriching experience that it baffles me that anyone who is seriously considering getting a pet would do anything other than rescue an animal.

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