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Column: Don't believe these common myths about shelter animals

Before I adopted my dog from the Humane Society of Otter Tail County in 2009, I also had my share of judgments about rescue dogs that simply proved to be untrue. Allow me to unravel some of the most commonly held untruths:

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The following opinion piece does not necessarily reflect the views of the Perham Focus newspaper. To submit a response for our Opinion page, email nbowe@dlnewspapers.com

When looking for a new dog or cat to add to the family, many people avoid looking at shelters because they believe some of the widespread misconceptions about shelter animals.

Before I adopted my dog from the Humane Society of Otter Tail County in 2009, I also had my share of judgments about rescue dogs that simply proved to be untrue. Allow me to unravel some of the most commonly held untruths:

Myth No. 1: “They’re all damaged goods.” While some shelter dogs and cats have experienced neglect or abuse, the vast majority of them are brought into the shelter because of human issues, not animal issues. Many loving, well-adjusted pets are surrendered due to a death, change in health, a divorce, a job change, a move or a new baby that no longer allows for them to care for the pet.

Myth No. 2: “The shelter will make me jump through hoops in order to adopt.” Although the Humane Society does have an application/screening process involved, the shelter staff works diligently to find the very best possible homes for our dogs and cats. Our main goal is to ensure all adoptees are a good match, are fully committed and ready to care for their new pet for its lifetime.

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Myth No. 3: “Shelter animals are expensive.” Adoption fees range from $50 to $80 for cats and $125 to $350 for dogs, which includes vaccinations, heartworm testing, microchip implant and spay/neuter. These fees are far less than what you would pay with the purchase of any animal from another source. Our thorough vetting process also ensures the dogs and cats are some of the healthiest available.

Myth No. 4: “Shelter cats and dogs are all mixed breeds.” If you have your heart set on a purebred dog, there are plenty of breed-specific rescues to check out, and it’s also important to note we get plenty of purebred dogs and cats into the shelter right here in Otter Tail County.

If you have a specific breed, traits, size, gender, etc. that you would like to see in your next pet, we recommend you fill out an application and let us know what you are looking for. This way, when a desired animal is taken in, you will be pre-approved and first on our list of potential adopters.

There is nothing like the joy of adopters thinking they know exactly what they want, but their dream dog or cat turns out to be nothing like the one they imagined. Visit our shelter with an open mind and let them choose you! Check our adoptable animals often at www.humanesocietyotc.org .

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