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.

Please Vote for Our Mascot, Spud!

Spud was selected as one of 10 finalists in the 2014 Ultimate Cute Photo Contest! There were hundreds of entries and we are very humbled, as well as excited that he has made it so far! If he wins, our rescue will win $1,000 to help support the dogs in our care, and save some new ones!

Voting starts today, 5/8, and runs through 5/18. Please vote every day!
Here is the link for voting!

Spud is a very special dog and I knew this from the moment I met him. When he arrived from his shelter, he became very ill and was hospitalized for nearly a month. I took him home to foster and when he recovered, I just couldn’t let him go. My husband wasn’t exactly on board at the time, so I continued to take him to events so it would look like I was working to find him a home He greeted people, gave kisses and collected donations in a vest he wore to raise funds for the rescue. Spud is one of the most loving and loyal dogs I have ever met, and he has forever changed my life.  Spud_Collage

Like some dogs coming from the shelter, I have no idea what may have happened in his previous life. He came from Clayton County, GA, at around 6-7 months old and although picked up as a stray, he belonged to someone at one point. How they let him go, I will never understand.

Spud is a role model for shelter dogs everywhere, because like many shelter dogs, he has struggles in his life. Although he was an outgoing puppy, when he reached adulthood, there were what started as subtle changes in his personality. After being bit in the face at an adoption event by one of our rescue dogs, he began to be somewhat uncomfortable at events that followed. This once confident, social butterfly of a puppy started to shake around loud noises, running children and strangely enough, he found puppies absolutely terrifying. Fear can sometimes lead dogs to make bad choices and I wanted to turn him around quickly.

After doing research and talking to a trainer, I decided the best thing we could do for Spud was to stop taking him to events where he was so longer comfortable. In the months that followed, he continued to go in public with a vest that asked people not to touch him, and he was enrolled in weekly, private lessons. I learned how to build his confidence and worked with him almost daily. Months later, his vest was removed and it was amazing to see him emerge again as the dog he once was. He loved being out in public, loved meeting new people, taking treats from children and being patted.

He started training shortly thereafter to be my service dog. I am a USMC veteran with a back injury and in the future at some point, there is a possibility that I will lose the use of one of my arms. I have nerve damage that can’t be repaired which I have known this for the last couple of years. Spud has learned to retrieve objects for me, he knows advanced commands and continues to learn enthusiastically. Spud_Nov12

I wanted to share this story not just because it’s his story and he is a finalist in this contest, but because I think it’s important for people to realize that sometimes dogs aren’t perfect. Shelter dogs have histories that will forever be a mystery to us. We don’t know where they came from and we don’t know what they have been through, but we can do is stand by them through their struggles. We can accept that they are perfectly imperfect and we can give them the tools to live a happier life. Watching him suffer and be so fearful was very difficult for me because I know this dog like no one else ever will. I know the level of his love and loyalty, I see it every single day. I know without question that this dog would lay down his life for me if he had to and in return I owe him this same level of devotion.

For all those who have adopted a dog that isn’t perfect, please don’t give up on them. They want to be everything you want them to be, they just may not know how. If you help them learn, they will be the best dog you ever hoped for.

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