All Animal Humane Society locations are closed today, Sunday, April 20, for the Easter holiday.

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Every couple weeks, a film crew from Token Media in Minneapolis visits the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley to shoot video profiles of the animals for “Pets on Demand” on Comcast. That’s the program, hosted by AHS’s Deb Balzer, which shows off the animals ready to be adopted. Jessica is the producer and Josh is the photographer. They are supposed to be just documenting the animals, not taking them home! You knew it would happen eventually when this crew was exposed to so many adorable prospects. Interestingly, they each fell in love with a dog that had Plott hound in its mix with a brindle coat.

Jessica and her husband Allen already have a chocolate Lab at home, but Deb convinced Jessica to look at a bucket of puppies, and one of them immediately stole her heart. “I picked up that little puppy and I just knew. It was love at first sight. It was the same feeling I got when I tried on my wedding dress. The eyes just start welling up and you know it’s a good fit,” Jessica said. She told her husband the puppy was all she wanted for Christmas. Jessica had to work the rest of the day, so her husband went and picked up the puppy. They named her Esa, and she’s become a precious addition to their family.

Much like Jessica, Josh wasn’t really looking for a new pet since he and his wife Shelly already have a Cocker spaniel and a cat. Back in October, his photography assignment included a profile of Odessa, a gentle German Shepherd/Greyhound mix with a calm demeanor that captured Josh’s attention. Odessa was thin and her fur was falling out. At a friend’s house a few days later, Josh was compelled to pull up the photo on the AHS Web site and show his wife. While he was on another shoot over that weekend, his wife went to see Odessa, and brought her home.

Odessa has fit right in, and even seems to have revitalized Lucy, the family’s 10-year-old dog. Lucy was a bit grumpy until this big, silly, active playmate brought more fun into the house. At first, Odessa was a nervous nibbler and had separation anxiety. But once she started taking classes at AHS, she became much more confident and quickly graduated her first level. Now Josh and Shelly want her to go all the way—fulfill all the training necessary to be a therapy dog. What a big change she’s made since Josh first saw her on the photo shoot. “The responsibility of having a big dog scared me a bit, but she’s made the whole experience such a joy and so rewarding,” Josh said. “It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life, besides getting married.”

Click here for additional information on AHS’s training programs.

Photos of Odessa provided by Shelly Mosman Photography.

Photos of Esa provided by Jessica Teigen.

Walk for Animals

Animal Humane Society locations


4375 Hwy. 55 S.E.
Buffalo, MN 55313
(763) 390-3647

Operating hours

Coon Rapids

1411 Main St. N.W.
Coon Rapids, MN 55448
(763) 862-4030

Operating hours

Golden Valley

845 Meadow Ln. N.
Golden Valley, MN 55422
(763) 489-2201

Operating hours

St. Paul

1115 Beulah Ln.
St. Paul, MN 55108
(651) 645-7387

Operating hours


9785 Hudson Rd.
Woodbury, MN 55125
(651) 730-6008

Operating hours

  • Administration
    (763) 522-4325
  • Animal Admissions
    (763) 412-4969
  • Pet Behavior Helpline
    (763) 489-2202
  • Boarding
    (763) 489-2222
  • More contact info »