TN Death Row Dogs

Our mission at Tennessee Death Row Dogs is to promote the adoption of animals, network and rescue dogs that are scheduled for euthanasia and educate the public about the importance of spay/neuter in reducing the number of homeless animals.

Woofstock or Bust!

Woofstock is nearly here and we are thrilled!  This event will feature two days of musical performances, adoptable dogs, vendors galore, a dog costume contest, a cupcake contest, a fashion show featuring the "Men of Olympus" and lots more!  It will be held Friday, September 6th from 2-7pm and on Saturday, September 7th from 11am-9pm at the Olympus Gym grounds in Spring Hill, TN.  There will be lots to see and do so come on out and join the fun!Flyer1
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Koa's Road to Recovery

Back in April, we rescued a dog we later named Koa that was left on a roadside to die after being used in a dog fight and shot twice.  When he was taken to our vet, the amazing Dr. Vaughn of Columbia Hospital for Animals, he was nearly septic from the infection that had set in.  He was started on antibiotics immediately and given a couple of days before he was  sedated so that his hair could be shaved down and his wounds cleaned.  It was then that we learned just how extensive his injuries were.  His hair and dried blood hid a lot..  There were literally hundreds of bite marks all over his face, neck and chest area.  When I saw the photo, my hand immediately went over my mouth and I just sat there in a state of shock.  None of us had any idea it was that bad and he also tested positive for heartworms.  We knew then that Koa's road to recovery was going to be a long and expensive one, but we also knew that he had earned the right to a family.  We intended to give him just that, regardless of how long it would take.  Koa

Months later, his wounds have healed and the hair has grown back leaving only a few minor scars.  He has been on kennel rest at our vet, has been treated for heartworms, as well been neutered and microchipped.  We didn't want to hurry any part of this process because he had a lot of medical issues to work through.  Now that he he strong, healthy and recovered, Koa has started a month long rehabilitation program at The Calm K9 in Clarksville.  This is a program where he will be trained in a home environment, will be exercised daily and will learn how to live peacefully with other dogs.  We felt this was a critical need in order to be able to safely and responsibly place him in a home.   When I walked him in the other day to drop him off, he looked around awkwardly at the TV and home.  Sadly, this led us to believe that he has probably never been in a home ever in his life.  Despite that, he is learning quickly and doing wonderfully in training.  He had not been there a day before he was laying quietly on the floor in the living room with three other dogs close by.  Koa has taught us what true strength is and how to persevere in the worst of situations.  We hope that when his training is over, we can find the perfect home for him.  Those interested in adopting Koa can contact Jamie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Come to Downtown Franklin on Tuesday, August 27th!

Many of the stores in downtown Franklin will be participating in the Dog Days of Summer from 4-8pm on August 27th.  Each store taking part will be picking a charity and 10-15% of all goods sold in those four hours will be donated to their charitable organization.  We are honored to have been picked by the Mellow Mushroom so we invite all of our supporters to stop by and have a little pizza!Dog Days of Summer
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We Had A Great Time At BarkParty!

Thank you everyone who came out to BarkParty in Gallatin this past Saturday.  We raised some much needed funds for our rescue and had a great time doing it!  We had some fantastic artists perform and we hope they'll consider coming out again for our next event, Woofstock.  Our Cutest Dog Contest brought some tough competition with the crown going to Princess, dressed as Lady Doga.

[caption id="attachment_839" align="alignleft" width="300"]PHOTO CREDIT:  Kisa Kavass Photography PHOTO CREDIT: Kisa Kavass Photography

We did nail trims for donations while Theo and Alvin gave lots of puppy kisses at the kissing booth.  We had some fantastic vendors that I wanted to thank also; Walk-a-Mile Harness, Bonafide, Blue Pearl, Ecodiva, The Trailer Perk, Campione's Taste of Chicago, Origami Owl, ScatterBrained Collars, Play it Forward Entertainment Group, Swirls Face Painting, Luv My Leash, Rudy Green's, Dog Inspired Rag Quilts and Doggie Sleeping Bags with Wendy Duvall and Thirty-One Gifts.  Russ Kirkland with Stage Gear Rentals was gracious enough to donate the sound for this event which saved us a lot of money and we are so very thankful.  For it's first year, BarkParty had a large turnout, despite the calls for rain.  We loved seeing everyone come out with their dogs and were lucky enough to see some TDRD alumni too.  Thank you everyone who came and all the volunteers that worked tireless on this event.  We could not have done it without you!
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Join Us For BarkParty, August 10th!

We BarkPartywill be hosting our First Annual Bark Party Event at the beautiful Pick Inn in Gallatin, TN on August 10th!  We hope you will join us for this fun-filled music festival for dogs and their families. We will have live music, food trucks, merchandise booths, face painting for kids, a costume contest for dogs, a puppy kissing booth and much more!  We will also have many of our dogs available for adoption on site. Please don't miss this exciting event!  The TDRD team, volunteers, and their families will be there so we hope to see you too! We have lots of vendors that will be a part of this special day as well.  We hope you can join us!
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A Great Day at the Nashville Pet Expo!

Yesterday, we attended the Nashville Pet Expo for the very first time.  It was a great day for our dogs with two adoptions!  Magic Mike, a sweet dog we saved from euthanasia a couple of months ago was adopted by a wonderful family.  Amelia, another one of our rescue dogs whom we saved in November was adopted as well.  If nothing else would have happened, that would have made our day right there.  Little did we know that was just the beginning!

[caption id="attachment_826" align="alignright" width="225"]Mike and his new family before heading home.  Best of luck buddy! Mike and his new family before heading home. Best of luck buddy!

The day had lots more wonderful things in store for us.  We about sold out of t-shirts that helped us with the money we are setting aside for a down payment on our new place.  We hope that we will be closing this month, paws crossed!  We had lots of folks purchase raffle tickets for our baskets and met so many wonderful new people who love dogs as much as we do!

Britni, our Volunteer and Event Coordinator took the stage to sing karaoke in a contest that was held in which the winner would take home a year of Nature's Select dog food.  She sang "Black Dog" by Led Zepplin and won!  Free food for a year is a tremendous help to us in our rescue efforts and we thank Nature's Select so very much for their generous donation of food.  As many people can imagine, feeding the number of dogs we do gets very expensive.  The more money we can save, the more dogs we can save!

[caption id="attachment_827" align="alignleft" width="172"]Amelia and her mom!  We thank her for adopting a rescue dog! Amelia and her mom! We thank her for adopting a rescue dog!

One of our gorgeous adoptable dogs, Casey had quite a day.  She turned lots of heads, met lots of children she loved and her tail never stopped wagging.  She even got to meet Miss Tennessee!  Casey is still available for adoption and we don't think it will be long until she finds her dream family too.  She has a lot of new fans after yesterday, that's for sure!

The information desk said that lots of folks stopped by to get directions to our booth.  We thank everyone so very much for stopping by, donating and purchasing one of our t-shirts.  We could not save as many dogs as we do without your support.  We look forward to attending this event again next year.  For those who stopped by to meet Spud our mascot, he will be at Mars Event in October.  Thank you everyone for a great day!

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Mellow Mushroom Adoption Event 6/29

[caption id="attachment_816" align="alignleft" width="231"]Apollo getting some love from his new family :)  Apollo getting some love from his new family.

Today we had another great adoption event at the Mellow Mushroom in Franklin!  Apollo had a very big day and went home with his new family!  There were some tears shed by our volunteers when they watched him walk away, and although we'll all miss him, it's time for him to start a new chapter in his life.  We are so thrilled for him!

As many people know, we not do same day adoptions as we feel we need more time to accurately and more diligently screen potential adopters.  Although Apollo was the only one who left today, we did receive adoption applications for a couple of our other dogs!  We also met a couple of folks who are interested in possibly becoming fosters, which is fantastic!  Those who foster save lives by giving a dog in need a temporary place to stay while we work in finding them forever homes.  They are a very critical part of our rescue mission!

[caption id="attachment_818" align="alignright" width="233"]Chive getting some love from volunteers today.  This handsome boy is looking for furever home. Chive getting some love from volunteers today. This handsome boy is looking for furever home!

We had some great dogs in attendance today and lots of people stopped by to say hello.  Yesterday just in time, we received our newest order of shirts which turned out absolutely fantastic.  We sold a bunch of them today!

As always, our volunteers showed up and worked hard to make this day a success.  We appreciate their help and could not do these events without their help.  They helped us set up, walk dogs, answered questions to those stopping in, filled water dishes and much, much more!

We want to send a big thank you to the folks at Mellow Mushroom, those who helped out today, as well as those that stopped in to say hello to our dogs.  It was a great day!
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Rupert: Saved by Our Facebook Page!

We save many dogs through our rescue and adopt them out to loving homes.  We also post dogs scheduled for euthanasia on our Facebook page to help them gain the extra exposure that could very well save their life.  To date, there have been well over 1,200 dogs posted to our page that have been adopted or rescued.  We think this is fantastic!

[caption id="attachment_812" align="alignright" width="225"]Rupert, seen on our FB page and adopted Nov 2012. Rupert, seen on our FB page and adopted Nov 2012.

Such is the story of Rupert who was seen on our page and adopted just in time from Jackson Rabies Control.  His mom Maddie writes, "He was a little scared at first but now he is about the friendliest dog I've ever met.  Thanks for all you guys do, we couldn't imagine not having this guy"!

Thank you too Maddie for adopting a baby from our Facebook page.  Rupert is living proof that networking does work!
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Adoption Stories: Bentley

Recently I asked some of our adopters to write in and tell us how their dogs were doing so we could share them on our site.  Many of our dogs come from rough or unfortunate situations and find themselves awaiting euthanasia.  This is when we step in and if space/funds allow, we come to their rescue.

[caption id="attachment_807" align="alignright" width="168"]Bentley at our vet for his vaccinations, September 29, 2012. Bentley at our vet for his vaccinations, September 29, 2012.

Bentley came to our attention in an email plea from Lebanon Animal Control in 2012.  Their shelter was full and unfortunately they were going to have to euthanize dogs in order to make space for incoming dogs.  We see this often in shelters across Tennessee, as well as many of the other southern states.  There just seem to be more incoming dogs than there are people to adopt them.  Sadly so many wonderful dogs are euthanized every year simply for being homeless.  Bentley came very close to losing his life and we are so happy that we were able to come to his rescue.  It seems like just yesterday I was trying to cut the mats out of his hair.  I'm no groomer by any means so you should have seen the chop job I gave him lol.  At least he wasn't covered in mats anymore!

Bentley's mom Debbie writes:

[caption id="attachment_805" align="alignleft" width="242"]Bentley at our Photo Fundraiser, 2013.  Photo credit: The amazing Kisa Kavass! Bentley at our Photo Fundraiser, 2013. Photo credit: The amazing Kisa Kavass!

"We adopted Bentley in October of 2012 at the TSC in Spring Hill, TN.  We had been looking for several months.  After seeing his picture, I felt the search was over.  He was a little skinny thing with a big black spot on one hip.  Now he has filled out, his fur has gotten thick, the black spot is nearly completely covered in fur.  He is a super happy dog.  My daughter says, "Of course he is happy, he thinks he won the lottery".  He has filled our home with smiles every day at his antics.  We think there is a possibility that he got away from a circus  (it could happen).  He can leap huge distances and walk on his hind legs quite a ways if he thinks he can get a better view with his head held higher.  He sometimes reminds me of a deer when he runs.  In the evenings, he is a super cuddler.  What can I say?  It is a match made in Heaven.  Thank you TDRD".

Thank you Debbie for coming to one of our adoption events and making this sweet baby a part of your family!
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Adoption Stories: Bear

[caption id="attachment_795" align="alignright" width="185"]Beau Bear's shelter photo, May 21, 2012.

Recently I asked some of our adopters to write in and tell us how their dogs were doing so we could share them on our site.  Many of our dogs come from rough or unfortunate situations and find themselves awaiting euthanasia.  This is when we step in and if space/funds allow, we come to their rescue.

In May of 2012, I saw a picture of a mange covered dog named Beau on a euthanasia list at a high kill shelter and his sweet face stole my heart.  He looked as though he had lived a very hard life and I knew there was a family out there that would give him the life full of love he deserved.  Beau was transported to us and promptly was taken in for his vetting.  He was diagnosed with severe Demodectic Mange and was heartworm positive.  This was a setback in finding his home as we keep all of our dogs until they are healthy and ready for adoption.  After a month of antibiotics, Beau went through heartworm treatment and then was put on a month of cage rest.  Afterwards he found a foster home and started going to adoption events.  It wasn't long before Beau found his forever family after they saw his precious face online.  Beau is now Bear, and his mom shared with us how things have been going since he entered their home and their lives.

His mom Carol writes:
"It won't be long until we will have our little boy, Bear, a year.  We run a small rural rescue in Trousdale County,TN.  Yes, we could have rescued a dog on our own, as we have done so many times.  So it may seem odd that a rescue finds a dog with another rescue.  But Bear wasn't planned...he was meant to be".

"In November of 2012, my son - the founder of our rescue, Black Bear Animal Rescue- was trying to recover from a very painful personal loss as well as from three major surgeries.  The toll it was taking on him was worsening with each day.  I made the comment to him that what he really needed was his own personal buddy, and so we continued our rescue work with the intentions of keeping an eye open for the right forever friend for him.  One day, I was visiting TDRD's Facebook page, getting ideas on their very successful and  high-reputable rescue operations.  I found myself going through their adoptables folder, looking at all the beautiful lives waiting in loving foster homes for their own home.  Suddenly, there he was.  The face that changed everything.  At that time he was called Beau, and it was as if he was looking at us to say, here I am, I'm the one that will help you if you will help me.  There was no hesitation.  We met him at an adoption event in Cool Springs with his amazing foster family, the Astons.  He slowly but purposefully walked over to us. I swear it was if he knew we were coming.  He was a little guy who had been taken in by TDRD with horrible mange, heartworms, and rickets.  But there he was, healthy, bow-legged and perfectly adorable.  He immediately became "Bear," given our rescue name.  From that day until this, Bear has been the light in my son's life.  He is his friend, his companion, and the daily comical relief for our family.  There is not a malicious bone in his body, he seems to have totally forgiven and forgotten his rough abusive start".

[caption id="attachment_796" align="alignleft" width="300"]Bear at home, June 2013. Bear at home, June 2013.

"My wish is for everyone to expect their miracle in unexpected places.  If I had not gone to TDRD's page that evening, we would have missed the most beautiful soul in the world, and I don't want to imagine what a loss that would have been for us.  Thank you, Jamie, for all you and your amazing fosters do"!

Thank you Carol for making this amazing dog part of your family and for all you do for those who cannot speak for themselves.  Bear finally found his family :)
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A Home of Our Own!

It has been our dream for quite sometime to have our own location, but there were a lot of hurdles to doing so.  The major one being that we were looking for something very specific and we learned quickly that it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  Since we started rescuing dogs, we have utilized foster homes and have always kept a few at private boarding facilities.  Private boarding is expensive and we knew that with our own place, we could utilize it to help us raise money for our rescue in other ways.

A week ago, we put in an offer on exactly what we've been looking for and are set to close on it at the end of July.  We have a lot of work to do and money to raise so that we can buy all of the equipment we'll need to turn it into the ultimate dog haven.  Once we are up and running, we will be taking private boarders of our own and all proceeds will go directly to our rescue efforts.  We will also be starting a doggie daycare program and invite those in the Spring Hill area to bring their babies for lots of fun in the sun!  We will also be looking for a groomer that can work at our facility at no charge, with a small portion of each groom going directly to the rescue.  We absolutely love dogs and all of the things I mentioned above will greatly benefit our rescue efforts.

We will be holding a grand opening for our new place, with a date being announced once we have a better idea of when we'll be up and running.  Currently we are looking for companies that might be willing to donate fencing and other equipment.  We are also asking folks that support our mission to send in a small donation to help with our expenses.  We do not want to use general fund money to get us up and running.  That would deplete funds needed on reserve for vet care expenses that can arise without notice.

If you would like to donate for this amazing new place, there are a couple of different ways to do so.  You can use a debit card via Fundrazr using the following link:, or you can send your donation by mail to TN Death Row Dogs, PO Box 1015, Spring Hill, TN 37174.  If you're a groomer that is interested in working at this new place, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We thank you as always for your support, kindness and compassion for those who are unable to speak for themselves.  This new place is a dream for our dogs and once we get up and running there, we'll be able to save thousands more in the years to come.
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Reader's Choice Awards.. Please Vote for Us!

[caption id="attachment_786" align="alignleft" width="231"]Please vote for us under Please vote for us under "Best Rescue Group"

The Reader's Choice Awards from Nashville Paw is here!  Please take a moment to vote for us under "Best Rescue Group".  For some reason although we were told we had enough votes from last year to be on the ballot, we do not appear there.  However, you can type our name in under "Other" for this category.  Our efforts have saved thousands of dogs and hundreds every year that are scheduled for euthanasia at high kill shelters throughout Tennessee.  Please vote for us and share this with your friends.  It only takes a minute!  We thank you very much!
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Bumper Stickers are Here!

After many requests, our bumper stickers have arrived and are on sale now! They are all oval shaped and look fantastic! We have light blue/brown, white w/ logo and white with black lettering. If you'd like to order one, you'll be helping to raise awareness for our cause! They are $5.50 each which includes shipping. Make sure to include a current address and which sticker(s) you'd like. You can Paypal your payment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

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Join us at Cinco De Mellow!

This Sunday, May 5th we'll be at a block party at the Mellow Mushroom in Nashville from 1-4pm!  We'll have some of our adoptable dogs with us and the folks at Mellow Mushroom will be working hard to help raise money for our rescue efforts!  We hope to see you there!  sixtyfourboxtop
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How a castaway dog gets a second chance, meet Koa.

[caption id="attachment_770" align="alignleft" width="223"]532321_4987189355244_1050910107_n Koa laying on the roadside where he was left to die, April 16th.

[caption id="attachment_771" align="alignright" width="300"]Koa_car Koa traveling with us to our vet, April 17th.

On April 16th, we saw a picture on Facebook of a dog laying on the side of a road. We could tell that someone horrific had happened, leaving half of his face sagging. We suspected that he had been hit by a car in the road and had survived. Immediately we found folks via Facebook that went out to look for him but sadly, he was no longer there. This morning we decided to try the local animal control in hopes that he had been picked up. When we learned he was there, Britni's sister was kind enough to go pick him up and brought him to Jackson . We hit the road and 2 1/2 hours later we met Koa who despite his condition, he walked up to us with his tail wagging. That was surprising to us because we could smell the infection in his head and shoulder from a few feet away. What we also learned was that animal control had removed one bullet from his head. Koa had been shot two times, once in the forehead and once in his shoulder.  There was a third hole that we thought may have been another bullet wound and turned out to have been made by a canine tooth, going through his lip.  If that isn't awful enough, Koa also has a face full of bite marks. We suspect that Koa was possibly stolen, forced to fight for his life and wasn't a fighter so he was dumped on the roadside and shot. Whoever did this to him probably thought he was dead and just drove away, leaving him there like a piece of garbage. The injury to his jaw made it painful for him to eat and he was emaciated. Infection had long set in and bloody fluid leaked from his bullet holes. For the last couple of weeks, Koa has recovered at our vet and has made unbelievable progress.  Koa has a will to live and we want him to have the best care possible.  This wasn't planned in advance but we could not say no to this poor dog.   Koa we now know is heartworm positive and will need treatment before he can leave our care.

[caption id="attachment_772" align="alignleft" width="300"]Koa_cleaned Koa sedated so his wounds could be shaved and cleaned.

[caption id="attachment_773" align="alignright" width="300"]Koa_Apr29th Koa, April 29th out for a walk outside of our vet's office.

As the days have passed and Koa has started to feel better, his spirit has slowly returned.  His wounds have healed so well that today's pictures make it hard to believe he is the same dog that we saved just under two weeks ago.  Koa gets a little more energetic and active each day which we are thrilled to see.  We have also noticed that with that, he also has some dog aggression issues which we are going to have to help him work through.  I have consulted a trainer and when Koa is healthy and heartworm free, he'll be going for a month to learn the skills needed to be a beloved pet.  He doesn't have to fight for his life anymore and we know this mental transition may be difficult but we will not give up on Koa.

Any donations towards his care are greatly appreciated.  Between his hospitalization, heartworm treatment, vetting and training, we are looking at a fairly large amount of money.  We feel that some dogs deserve the best after living the kind of horrible nightmare that was Koa's day to day life.  For those that would like to follow his progress, you can visit our Facebook page and updates are posted regularly to his album.  Donations for his care can be sent to TN Death Row Dogs, PO Box 1015, Spring Hill, TN 37174.
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Photography Fundraiser with Kisa Kavass!

Kisa Kavass has so graciously donated her time and services to raise money to help us rescue more dogs!  Her work is unique and amazing so we are very excited about this upcoming event!  On April 27th, Kisa will be doing photography sessions at the Factory in Franklin for $25 and all proceeds will benefit our rescue.  The day will kick off at 10am and the last session will be at 3pm.  Each participant will be given a CD of the poses from their session and will be free to do with them as they wish.   It's going to be a great day full of fun and Spud will be there giving out the best kisses in town.  If you're interested in booking a session, please contact Sarah, our Event Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Flyerdogs (2)

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BarkBucks for Rescue!

For the month of February only, get $10 off any BarkBox subscription and support our rescue!

For every coupon used, our rescue will get a $20 donation from BarkBox. Be sure to use our special promo code: 
TDRDBBX1 - Help us meet our goal of 100 subscriptions and raise $2,000!

What is BarkBox? BarkBox is a New York City based dog-lovin' company that sends high quality dog products to your pup every month. Each box is full of 4-6 goodies like bones, bully sticks, toys, treats, gadgets, shampoos, hygiene products, food samples, and more!


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Adopting & Surrendering

When adopting a new dog, please realize that they are not perfect. Many shelter dogs have been through a lot in their lives. Many have not been fed properly, been treated kindly or even slept in a home. Many have not been lucky enough to be part of a family or be a companion for someone. I'm seeing all too often lately that people want a new pet, but then when it doesn't come fully trained and perfect, they no longer want it. Surrendering a dog should be a very last resort, after all other options have been exhausted. Trainers are there to help and can help if consulted, but many people don't give their dog that chance. Dogs aren't a handbag or pair of shoes that you throw out when you're tired of them and want a new style. Pets are for life and they may not come flawless, but they can be taught what is expected of them and most want so badly to please. Before surrendering a dog, please think long and hard about it. Think about what you are putting your poor dog through. Imagine your family, the only people you know and love, dropping you off with strange people in a strange, frightening place one day and never looking back. Imagine the confusion, fear and panic they feel as they watch you walk away. Lastly, take a good look in the mirror, because chances are, you aren't perfect either. ~Jamie
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Featured Dog: Pepper

Pepper has come far since we saved her life in March of 2012.  Shortly prior that, Pepper and her brother Salt found themselves in a high kill shelter that still euthanizes dogs by heartstick.  When their day came, these siblings were fully sedated as required by law prior to euthanasia.  A volunteer found out and begged the shelter for more time which she amazingly was able to get.  This is when we were contacted and we took both puppies into our rescue.

[caption id="attachment_748" align="alignright" width="218"]Pepper with her rescue buddy, Lesley.  She thinks she is a lap dog :) Pepper with her rescue buddy, Lesley. She thinks she is a lap dog.

Salt of course was white and found a wonderful home quickly, but as we see all too often, black dogs are constantly passed over when folks are looking at dogs to adopt.  This is so well known by shelters and rescues that they've actually labeled it "Black Dog Syndrome".  Sadly, despite Pepper being a wonderful, sweet dog, she has continued to be passed over, time and time again.

We have all become very fond of this sweet girl, she has grown up to be a beautiful dog with a jet black coat.  She is athletic, has perfected the game of fetch, rides like a lady in the car and absolutely loves kids.  Pepper would be a great hiking partner and she loves to go for walks, showing off her perfect leash skills.

[caption id="attachment_749" align="alignleft" width="239"]Pepper and I at the last adoption event.  She will snuggle with you all day long and love every minute of it! Pepper and I at the last adoption event. She will snuggle with you all day long and love every minute of it!

She is on the smaller side, weighing right around 40 pounds.  She does have some jealously issues with other dogs that we are working on but for now, we feel it would be best that she be the only dog in her home.  Pepper wants to be with her person at all times and is going to make some lucky person such a a wonderful companion.  She just needs a chance to show someone how wonderful she is.

Pepper has been vaccinated, heartworm tested (she is negative), spayed and microchipped.  If you're interested in learning more about Pepper, please contact Sarah, our Adoption Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Shelters... What can you do?

Everytime I bring up no kill shelters on our Facebook page, I hear so many objections from the folks that work in shelters.  They say it can't be done, yet it can be and cities like Austin are proof.  They blame it on the public who they claim keep surrendering dogs and continuing to allow their dogs to breed, producing more homeless animals.

Lets take a moment to take a long hard look at the public.  Yes, it's true that a good number of people still do not spay/neuter their dogs which continue to reproduce more dogs which crowd shelters all over the country.  Yes, it's also true that there are irresponsible people out there that don't think twice about surrendering their dog to a kill shelter, even though they know it is a death sentence.

[caption id="attachment_732" align="alignright" width="300"]Beautiful Stanley, currently available for adoption at Tipton County Animal Shelter. Beautiful Stanley, currently available for adoption at the Tipton County Animal Shelter.

But these reasons that I've listed aren't reasons for shelters to throw in the towel.  There is always much more that can be done to increase adoptions and lower euthansia rates.  Here are some things little things that every shelter can do:

1.  Better Pictures - I can't tell you how many awful pictures we receive of urgent dogs to post on our Facebook page. All I can't think when I see them is "no wonder this poor dog hasn't found a home!"  I realize that shelters have limited resources or may be understaffed, but pictures are critical.  Many people are taking their pet search to the web and utilizing sites like Petfinder and Adopt-a-Pet.  People want to see happy dogs that they can envision in their family and usually prefer those with a couple of different photos.  No one wants to see a dark picture of a terrified dog from an unflattering angle.  Better pictures make a huge difference!  When I think of one shelter that does it right, I think of the Tipton County Animal Shelter.  They are very lucky to have Paws and Claws Photography helping them and what a great job they do!

[caption id="attachment_735" align="alignright" width="300"]Whiskey, currently available for adoption at Williamson County Animal Control. Whiskey, currently available for adoption at Williamson County Animal Control.

2.  Better Biographies - Potential adopters want to find a perfect fit for their family.  It isn't difficult to write a great bio, nor is it terribly time consuming.  It takes a few minutes with each dog, outside of the shelter environment.  Toss a ball for them, take them for a walk and use this time to take as many notes about them as you can.  The more information that can be listed; good with other dogs, kids, etc, the better the dogs chances are of finding a family.  One shelter that does a wonderful job writing biographies is Williamson County Animal Shelter.  Whiskey shown here was the first and only dog I clicked on when browsing their Petfinder page.  This is his biography, "Whiskey is a precious young Pit Bull Terrier mix and is 2 ½ years old. Her beautiful coat is brindle with white markings. Whiskey is such a gentle soul. She has wonderful manners and enjoys being close by your side on daily walks. Whiskey is housebroken, too. She enjoys daily playtime in the shelter yard. Most of all, Whiskey loves attention and affection and is always ready for quality cuddle time. She is great with people of all ages and also gets along with other dogs. Whiskey is a bright dog who will sit on command. She is eager to please and should be easy to train. Whiskey is truly a sweetheart and will be such a wonderful family dog! E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information!"  Great job Williamson County!

[caption id="attachment_742" align="alignright" width="300"]Rosie is a real dog that is listed on Petfinder.  Sadly this is her shelter picture.  She is listed as a Beagle mix.  Shelters, I know you can do better than this! Rosie is a real dog that is listed on Petfinder. Sadly this is her shelter picture. She is listed as a Beagle mix. Shelters, I know you can do better than this!

3.  Accurate Breed Labeling - I can't stress enough how important it is to do this as accurately as possible.  We have seen so many shelters label dogs incorrectly.  Not everyone is an expert and there are a lot of breeds, but there are books which show pictures of the different breeds.  An educated guess is a lot better than just automatically throwing the "Pit mix" label on every dog.  More than one shelter has admitted to us that this is exactly what they do when they can't determine a breed.  Let's face it, we love Pits but there are many people that don't and it can hurt their chances of being adopted.  We've rescued many dogs that were incorrectly labeled, from Labs to American Bulldogs when they were very obviously not the breed the shelter listed them as.

4.  Offsite Adoption Events - There are a fairly large amount of people that don't want to visit shelters because it is hard for them to see all the homeless dogs, begging for a minute of their attention.  One offsite adoption event per month can really help boost exposure for these dogs and it also raises awareness for shelter dogs everywhere.  As surprising as it might be, there are still lots of people who don't realize that shelters euthanize healthy animals.  Seeing the faces and knowing if they don't find a family in a certain amount of time, it will cost them their life is hard but maybe it's necessary.  That is the reality that the majority of shelter dogs face and it's time that people realize that so they can become responsible, educated pet owners.

Shelters, these are just a few ways to increase adoptions and lower your euthanasia rate.  If you need volunteers to help, please let us know and we'll be happy to post for help in your area on our Facebook page.  There are always ways to improve and the winners are the dogs that don't have to pay the ultimate price for being homeless.  They deserve our empathy and our help, please don't let them down!
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