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Archived Story

New manager brings experience with animals to Humane Society [UPDATED]

Published 10:44am Monday, July 15, 2013 Updated 2:43pm Monday, July 15, 2013

When cats and dogs across the county have no where else to go, the Humane Society of Otter Tail County gives them much needed shelter. This February, the staff gained some helpful and knowledgeable hands to guide their care.

Jacalyn Keenan has served her first few months as the new shelter manager, a position that fulfills her life’s passion for helping animals and those who care for them.

Keenan, a certified veterinary technician, brings a wealth of knowledge to the staff and can give immediate attention if she recognizes ailments when animals are brought in. That saves the society a great deal of trouble calling in a veterinarian when they need to identify and treat animals.

“It’s a lot better for the animals to have that immediate initial check when they come in,” Keenan said.

A native of the Sierra foothills in California, Keenan attended North Dakota State University before her job at Weckwerth Animal Hospital in Pelican Rapids brought her to the area in 2007. Keenan did some tech work for the society before the position opened up and she was offered the job.

For Keenan, working at the society gives her the interaction with the animals she loves, but also the personable work with owners that she enjoys.

“I love the animals, but I love working with people,” she said. “You have to love people because you’re always talking to those who want to help by volunteering or who need their animals taken care of.”

Her passion for animals extends to her family of two young children and fiancee. Her 7-year-old daughter, Kayley, sometimes gets to stop in and hold kittens or puppies while her mom is busy at work.

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Jacalyn Keenan, shelter manager at the Humane Society of Otter Tail County, and her daughter, Kayley, play with a dog up for adoption. Keenan took over as the shelter manager in February.

“Wanting to take all of them home, that’s definitely difficult,” Keenan said. “And having my kids wanting to take all of them home too.”

The transition into the position has gone smoothly for Keenan and the staff, and she said they will keep offering the best care for animals without homes.

Keenan also said she hopes local residents keep the society in mind, even through the summer months when owners are hesitant to adopt because of time spent away from home during vacations.

The shelter is usually very full in the summer, with many animals waiting to be adopted. To encourage future owners, the shelter is offering 50 percent off pet adoptions between July 15 and August 15.

Most of all, it’s connecting pets with owners that has made her position enjoyable so far, and what keeps her encouraged as she continues to care for the shelter’s animals.

“I love seeing when animals walk out the door with new owners. It’s the greatest thing to see them with new leashes and taxis for the cats,” Keenan said. “I hope to just make sure we get as many animals adopted as possible. That’s the big thing.”

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