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Adoption Day at shelter -- local Humane Society showcases dogs and cats

Bella, a 6-year-old corgi, has a stye in her eye that makes her a "special needs" dog. She, along with other animals, will be showcased during Adoption Day May 21.

Somebody once said, "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."

Staff at the Becker County Humane Society are hoping more people opt to get those loving licks, as they get ready for their Adoption Day and Brat Feed on Saturday, May 21.

"Well, every day is adoption day for us," laughs Shelter Manager Casandra Disse. "But this is a special day where people can come out, tour the facility, meet us, meet the animals and maybe find a new furry, family friend."

Disse says the event, which they hold three times during the summer, is a good way to connect with the community and give people some hands-on knowledge of the organization.

Not only will the shelter be selling brats, goodies and soda, but they'll also be showcasing the stars of the event ... all 41 of them.

"Right now we have 22 dogs and 19 cats here on site that need homes, and we have some more coming in."

The shelter, which has a limit of 25 dogs and 25 cats, takes in animals as they adopt them out, so Disse says if they don't have room for a stray or surrendered animal, they are put on a waiting list until something opens up.

She says their facility also houses "special needs" animals, who might need some medical TLC.

One of these heart-grabbers is Frank, a blind 3-year old yellow lab who may bump into things now and then, but seems perfectly happy doing so.

"You're such a good boy, aren't you, Frank?" croons Disse as she receives some sweet, sloppy kisses.

Disse says their shelter is a "non-euth" facility, meaning the animals are not euthanized, but stay there until they are adopted.

"So because of that, some animals may be here with us upwards of 18 months."

The Becker County Humane Society doesn't just open its doors to local animals, but regional ones as well, including home-seekers from Mahnomen, Otter Tail, and other Minnesota facilities.

Last year, the shelter found homes for 253 animals.

Disse says even if somebody isn't interested in adopting an animal, they can still come in on Adoption Day (or any day they are open) to check out other facets of their facility, such as volunteering.

"There are so many ways people can volunteer here, such as serving on the board, fundraising, walking dogs, brushing cats, feeding animals, answering phones, cleaning, or being a foster home."

Disse says the shelter has seven part-time employees and over 200 volunteers throughout the community who all take their turns in helping out in different ways.

"We have such an awesome collection of volunteers and we honestly could not stay open like we do without them."

The age requirement for volunteering alone at a shelter is 12, but younger children are welcome if a parent accompanies them.

All volunteers must go through a volunteer orientation, which the shelter holds once a month.

Disse says it is that community that keeps the shelter up and running because it is funded 100 percent by community support and donations."

"We only affiliated with the national 'Humane Society' through our name, but we do not get funding from them or anywhere else -- we run solely on the generosity of community donations."

The cost to adopt an animal from the shelter is $125 for a dog and $95 for a cat.

That includes the costs for a medical exam, a temperament test, all shots, and in many cases, spading or neutering.

"And if somebody adopts an animal that isn't spade or neutered, and they get that done within 60 days of the adoption date, they can send in verification of that procedure and we will send them back $30 as a partial refund."

Disse says it sometimes costs the shelter more to care for an animal than they get in adoption fees, but she says, "that's where the donations and fundraisers come in -- to help cover those costs."

Adoption Day is Saturday, May 21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The shelter is located a few miles north of Detroit Lakes on Highway 59.

For those wanting to get a sneak-peek at the furry friends before Adoption Day, the shelter also has a website, which showcases all the animals up for adoption and their individual stories. Log onto or call 847-0511.