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.

Painted Black


I still remember the day I first heard the term "Black Dog Syndrome".  Out of curiosity, I googled the term to find "The conjecture that black dogs (and cats) are less likely to be adopted from rescue shelters than animals of other colors".   I looked over at my own dog, who was black as a puppy but had matured to be a lighter seal color.  When I adopted him from the rescue that saved his very pregnant mother, it was his personality that I fell in love with.  The lady from the rescue let him out of the pen and he charged out of there, running around as fast as he could.  He spotted a kiddie pool full of water and dove in, laying down to drink the water.  I loved his character, I could have cared less what color he was.

When we started rescuing dogs, the very first dog we took was a black brindle female that we still have.  Her name is Lily.  A month or so later, I received a euthanasia list from a high kill shelter in GA late one evening.  I scrolled down looking at each dog, reading their brief description of breed, sex, personality and how they came to be at the shelter.


About three quarters of the way down the list, I came to a young black face peering out from behind the kennel fence.  I looked at her description, it simply read "Black Pit, no chance".  The particular shelter where she was didn't adopt out anything they felt had even a sliver of Pitbull in it.  There was a county wide breed ban and I knew she didn't have much of a chance, but to see it written as her description really bothered me.  Determined to prove them wrong, we committed to this dog and months later, we still have her.  Her name is Callie and now that she has matured, she has turned out to be one of the nicest, most intelligent dogs we've ever had.

We also have a male black and white Pitbull mix named Kane who is a gorgeous dog.  He needs a little obedience work, but he is a very sweet, happy dog.  I've received one inquiry on him in the last three months.  Most recently, we also pulled a small, black Terrier mix female named Pepper.  It's been about a month but not a single person has contacted us about her.


If you had asked me previously, I would have never thought there was any truth to Black Dog Syndrome.  However at every adoption event I have watched people scan the crates and look at our dogs, only to pass right over the black dogs as if they are invisible.  At our last event, I made it a point to dress Callie up in her pink harness, pink collar and we kept her out walking with one of us for a good portion of the day.  She rolled around with little children, gave them kisses and was so happy to spend what time she could with everyone she met.  There was no way to miss her this way or not notice her, but still most of the people there still proceeded past her to look at the other dogs.

Every single time this happens, it breaks our hearts because we know that Callie knows she is being rejected.  I'm sure she doesn't know why, but she still knows and we can see it in her face and behavior.  Very rarely do we have a dog that tries so hard to please people.  It's hard for us to watch the same scenario keep playing out at every event.   She wags her tail at each approaching person, she tries to get their attention and she so badly wants a family of her own.  Every time she gets her hopes up, we watch her get passed over time and time again.  It's simply not fair.  We have become very upset by it because we love these dogs.


If you're looking to adopt a dog, please give every one a chance to show you who they are on the inside.  Personality and character should be what really matter when it comes to adopting a new companion.  If I had passed over my own dog because of his color, I would have missed out on the best dog I have ever had.  He has changed my life and I can't imagine a day without him in it.
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Saving Grace

Sometimes there are dogs that touch your heart in very powerful ways.  The mark left can be so profound that it lasts forever.  There are dogs that although now adopted, will always have a part of my heart.  I like to think that this part goes with them when depart my life and move on to the next chapter in theirs.

Grace in the shelter

I've seen some rescues that are so picky about the dogs they take.  I understand their logic, but that doesn't mean I find it logical.  The reason I founded this organization was primarily to post and network dogs facing euthanasia in Tennessee.  Later, I felt the need to help some of these dogs that I felt were being overlooked.  I saw so many dogs that were being passed over by rescues because of their breed, their color, a medical condition or their appearance.  I thought these dogs deserved a second chance just as much as any other dog.

One night a couple of weeks ago, I was looking through an album of dogs scheduled for euthanasia the morning of Friday 3/16/12.  There were more than 20 dogs and I was immediately drawn the swollen, blood crusted face of #121084.  I thought at the time that she had been in a dog fight and worried that she may be dog aggressive.  When I inquired about her with Maria, the rescue coordinator, I asked if they could please dog test her to make sure she was not aggressive.  That's when I learned what really happened to this dog.  She wasn't in a dog fight, she was punched and beaten by a person.  When I heard this, it was very hard not to break down as I looked at her face.  She was broken and withdrawn, one photo had her curled up in a ball in her kennel.  The other photo showed her swollen face with blood crusted on her forehead.  Her irritated eyes were running down her face.  She almost looked as though she was crying, and although I knew she wasn't, I knew inside she was crying out for help.

It was hard for me to imagine that someone could do this to this sweet soul.  She had never done anything to anyone, in no way did she deserve this.  I knew I had to help her, despite how serious her injuries could be.  In a world where this dog had not been extended one hand of kindess,  I wanted her to feel what being loved and cherished felt like.  She deserved to know that she was worth something and believe me she is.

Grace, the night she arrived in TN

She arrived here the evening of 3/16.  It wasn't until the next day when I saw her in the daylight that it really hit me.  This poor baby could barely see at all.  She squinted in the sun, her eyes were full of discharge and she was hesitant to walk.  I was so upset when I was finally able to see her on this brightly lit day.  I was angry at whoever let her become this neglected and abused.  Her head has many scars, some old and some wounds were scabbed over.  She had what appeared to be cigarette burn marks on her hind quarters.  I thought about this poor dog being beat up and abused without even having the ability to defend herself.  It days like this that have at times made me lose my faith in mankind.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks later, Grace has had her first surgery to correct a very severe case of entropion.  Her eyes have ulcers from this condition being neglected for so long.  The vets caring for her are confident she will recover, but will more that likely need one more surgery.  It was hard for me to believe that this poor dog was only a year and a half old.  She has been through so much in such a short lifetime.  She is still a little timid and isn't quick to trust anyone, but she is slowly coming out of her shell.  What Grace needs right now is a quiet home with a loving foster where she can heal, both mentally and physically.  She will make a wonderful dog when that very special day comes and she finally goes HOME.
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