updated 10/03/2011 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 10/03/2011 AT 3:45 PM ET
Texas native Tara Harper has seen her share of ups and downs in her love life, but the Most Eligible Dallas star’s other passion, animal welfare, will always be steadfast – and even plays a big part in determining her romantic interests.
“If a man doesn’t love dogs and cats, then I cannot go out with him,” Harper says. “That’s a 100-percent must, and unfortunately, some of my relationships have ended because of my passion.”
The 36-year-old sales executive has always had a love for animals, and made her first rescue when she was 3 years old. Six years ago, Harper co-founded the rescue organization Paws in the City, and she has been working with Dallas Animal Services to alleviate the influx of strays coming into the municipal system.
“What we decided to do with Paws in the City was to have the biggest and funnest fund-raisers of the year,” Harper says. “The events still get out the message of adopting as opposed to buying, then spaying and neutering, but the parties appeal to everybody, not just animal rescue people.”
Harper is mom to six rescue dogs: Daisy, who is deaf and blind; Sandy, a former bait dog; and Gregory, Jackson, Coco and Taffy. She likes to take in animals that aren’t easily adoptable, but end up getting along “just like a big, happy family.”
They’re such a family, in fact, that Harper’s exes usually ask to spend time with the dogs even after a breakup.
“They call to visit the dogs because they miss them. The dogs grow on whoever I’m with,” she says. “But there’s no question – I’ll always have custody of my dogs.”
Most Eligible Dallas airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on Bravo.
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