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Fostering animals is way of life for Hastings woman

Shannon Tarr of Hastings must have the cutest home in town.

It’s not what is outside that is cute – it’s what is inside. This week, seven adorable four-week old puppies, their eyes still closed, were all busy stumbling about inside.

She operates a foster home for dogs at her house and recently received seven black golden retriever puppies, all of which she hopes to get adopted out just after Christmas. The seven are three weeks away from being able to be adopted.

The seven are part of a litter of nine that were born north of the Twin Cities. Just after they were born, the puppy’s mother was hit by a car and killed. That suddenly meant the big litter was going to have to be cared for with formula and at $30 per puppy per day, that’s not a cheap proposition.

That’s where the rescue Tarr works with came in. They learned of the puppies, posted of their availability online and Tarr volunteered.

This isn’t anything new for her. As a child, Tarr ran her own sort of animal rescue facility out of her family’s home.

“I think I was born with this,” she said. “When I was young, I’d find every stray and hurt animal within 10 miles. My mother would let me bring them all home. From there we’d fix them up and find homes for them.”

She took in everything from an injured duck to birds, cats and dogs. Or, as she put it, “Everything I could get my hands on that couldn’t move away fast enough.”

Fast forward several years, and Carr found herself on the computer browsing listings on Craigslist.

“A couple years ago, I started getting a craving for a little puppy contact,” she said. “I saw an ad to foster puppies.

“That was the start of it. From there, I have just been addicted. It’s been nonstop since February of last year.”

Working with puppies is about as adorable as it sounds, Tarr said. The best part is, they are always adopted out to families just when they start to get really curious, she said. She said she gets the “puppy love, and then they get adopted out and they go away before you’re tired of cleaning up messes in your house.”

While it’s hard to see the puppies leave, the hardest to let go of are the adults, she said.

“The puppies are cute, but the hard ones are the adults that have been abandoned and abused,” she said. “When they come in and they realize they’re going to be fed every day and loved, they are just so grateful and loving. Those are the hard ones.

“The puppies are cute, but the puppies love everybody. When the adults come in and they bond to you and they follow you everywhere – and then it’s time to take them to their new home, that’s hard.”

Earlier this year, Tarr fostered a dog that had been forcibly removed from a puppy mill.

“I ended up adopting her,” she said. “That was just too hard.”

The rescue

Tarr works with No Dog Left Behind rescue, which is based in Brooklyn Center. The center will become aware of puppies and dogs that are in need and they’ll then seek foster homes for the animals.

Tarr will see their postings and if she’s got space available in her house, she agrees to foster them.

Eventually, the dogs are adopted to families through the No Dog Left Behind website at

The seven puppies are Tarr’s home are set to be featured on the site soon.

The fee to adopt one is typically about $350 to $400.