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Oregon animal shelter offers a stress-free, fundraising election ahead of November

Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals is holding a "President of the Furry States" contest for dogs and cats that will raise money for their operations.
Credit: Shianne Duffy

BEAVERTON, Ore. — “I don't know what I would do if I didn't have a dog,” said Shianne Duffy. 

Duffy spent Thursday morning at Winkelman Park in Beaverton with her mini-Australian shepherd, Merlin.

You might say Shianne and Merlin are on the campaign trail. “He is full of energy, so he pretty much never stops,” she said.

Which is important if you’re running for office. For a dog, that might entail shaking hands, kissing babies, and sniffing—well, you know. Anyway, Merlin is only a year old, but Shianne says he’s already changed her life.

“I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression,” she said. “For me, the best part of my day is knowing that I get to come home to someone who loves me unconditionally…he just gives you the look of, everything's going to be okay, because in his world, everything is okay.”

Credit: Shianne Duffy

Shianne wants to share some of that with the people, so she entered Merlin into “President of the Furry States,” a fun contest put on by Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals designed to distract from an election season sprinting toward the finish.

“We figured that everybody was taking this so seriously, that we wanted to maybe lighten it up a little bit and give people an alternate,” said Chris Hill, managing director at OFOSA. The contest serves as a fundraiser for the nonprofit’s medical expenses and anything else that gives the dogs and cats they rescue a better life.

“I actually got my last dog, our family dog, from OFOSA and I love that shelter so much. They're really great. They're mainly foster based,” Shianne said.

It’s only $10 to enter, and $1 per vote on the website. A president and vice president will be named from both the canine and feline parties.

“He is a special dog,” Shianne said of Merlin. “I think he'd make a good puppy president because his love of other dogs and his energy.”

“They treat each other as equals. Well, within structure but, you know. And yes, they love unconditionally,” Hill said. “So I think they can teach us both of those things.”

Entries will be accepted until Oct. 24, and voting ends on Oct. 30. OFOSA has more info on their website.

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