Archived Story

Devoted to dogs [UPDATED]

Published 4:25am Monday, August 5, 2013 Updated 6:30am Monday, August 5, 2013

Behind the quiet facade of the Humane Society of Otter Tail County, a ruckus builds as a pack of dogs scatter after a tennis ball. At their backs, waving a wand that launches the ball, is Gregg Palmer, the director of this chaos.

“It seems like a simple building with not a lot going on,” Palmer said. “Oh man, is that far from the truth. It’s just stunning all that’s going on here.”

Palmer is a member of the society’s board of directors, but has become an integral part of the day-to-day activities in the past two years.

With a background education in engineering, Palmer heads the maintenance and repair for the facility. On any given day, however, he may also be out doing yard work and snow removal.

The time he enjoys most, however, is with the dogs.

“To be honest, dealing with the dogs is, of course, a passion for me, even just playing with them,” Palmer said. “I grew up with them and I’ve always been around a dog somehow or another. I just seem to have a knack with dogs.”

An avid cyclist, Palmer started his work with the society over 10 years ago taking high energy dogs out for runs. Now he starts his mornings playing fetch with a large group.

During the rest of the day he helps with animal photos and writing descriptions for the animal adoption website. He’ll even take his work home, offering to give foster care to the animals. He’s welcomed 10 in the last two years.

His efforts with the society are certainly time consuming, having recently worked 70 hours in one work week, all on volunteer time. But having the chance to connect with so many animals is something Palmer enjoys.

“It’s just fun to foster the dogs,” Palmer said. “Certain ones that came from here are probably my best memories. I tend to take home the high-energy ones that like to run along with me on the bike or play Frisbee.”

The Humane Society is in need of such dedicated volunteers, according to Palmer. There are around 120 animals under the shelter’s care, and Palmer said that has them working under the strain of a demanding year.

But despite the difficulty, Palmer said the focus with his work at the society has remained the same through the years.

“It’s trying to find suitable homes, that’s the whole goal of this place,” Palmer said. “I guess it’s just my nature. Once you get started, you get so committed to the animals you feel guilty not to be here for them.”

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