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From 1 to 12: Local couple fulfill dream of giving rescue dogs a home

NEAR STOCKTON, Minn. (KTTC) – Life can be ruff taking care of 12 dogs, but Sue and Tony Hassinger couldn’t imagine it any other way.

The couple has 12 rescue dogs: Buster, Bailey, Bitsy, Barney, Buffy, Bella, Betsy, Binley, Bissa, Bea, Britty, and Bear. They’re all white, between five and thirteen years old, and look like they’re from the same family but only a few are actually related.

They adopted the first about eight years ago and soon added two more. Back then they lived in Winona, where the household limit was three dogs.

The Hassinger’s looked at adopting three more dogs, bringing the total up to six, and thought it would be best to move out of the city limits to a place where they could have as many dogs as they wanted. After looking at several homes, they decided on one in rural Stockton with 10 acres of land.

The Hassinger's and their 12 dogs
The Hassinger’s and their 12 dogs

“The first day [we moved in] I think we put up a fence. That just made me want more dogs. We got six more in about a year’s time,” smiled Sue. Their perfect dozen was complete, but what makes this special is that the Hassinger’s try to adopt older dogs or ones with special needs: the ones often overlooked. “My husband knew it was a dream of mine to give them homes.”

Twelve mouths is a lot to feed, especially since Sue makes all their meals and treats to make sure they’re getting the best nutrients. She eventually went from working full-time to part-time. “It’s hard to leave them in the morning. I wanted to spend more time with them. I thought if I have 12 dogs I need to give them a little more time and attention.”

Her husband, Tony, is all about having a dozen pups, too. He built them a playhouse called ‘Fort Woof’ that sits in their front yard. “We built that just for them to have some fun time playing both indoor and under the canopy and outdoors,” he said.

Most of their animals come from puppy mills. Sue admits they weren’t aware of what puppy mills were until they adopted their first five from one. Though she hates to think she contributed to puppy mill sales, she’s happy the dogs she adopted now have good loving homes.

Despite the work that comes with taking care of these 12 fur babies, the Hassinger’s couldn’t dream of anything less. “To see them run around here, nose up in the air, rolling around in the grass, it’s worth every minute of it.”

Shannon Rousseau

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