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.

Bernie Mac, a Super Sweet Senior, Searching for a Forever Home

Last week while going through emails of urgent listings, I started working on some dogs scheduled to be euthanized in Manchester. It's nearly impossible to get a sense of a dog's personality from a photo sadly and they all have a story. As I came to the photo for "County 10", I saw an older, grey faced black Lab laying behind the kennel fence. I immediately felt sad for him, knowing that the shelter environment must be even more stressful for a senior dog. I also knew from my experience in working with urgent dogs, that his chances of making it out of their alive were slim to none. He was a black dog for starters which are hard to place here and he is a senior, not a cute puppy like so many people want. County 10 was one of the lucky ones, because volunteers at AC had been able to make a short video of him. When I saw his video, I watched one of the sweetest dogs I'd ever seen who was overwhelmed with joy for the few minutes of human contact that he had waited nearly a month for. He wanted to go for a walk, he wanted a belly rub, he didn't know what to do first. He was so excited that he rolled over and over. My heart broke because much too soon, that spark for life and love would be gone. I knew that flame of hope he had for a family and freedom, would soon be snuffed out. I was overwhelmed with grief because I knew this special soul was going to die. Life can be very unfair and we see dogs pay the ultimate price for the irresponsibility of humans every single day. County 10 had a family once that he loved, yet he found himself alone in this shelter, abandoned and afraid. I wanted him to have the chance to live out his golden years with a family that cherished him. I wanted him to have a soft bed to lay on, I wanted him to have all the attention he yearned for so badly and I wanted him to feel secure. Above all else, I wanted him to die with dignity and grace one day with his family at his side. He deserved nothing less than that.  Bernie Mac

Last Friday, we made the dreams of one special senior come true. We didn't have a foster home open, but we had a kennel open at our facility, Barktopia. When we met him, we saw the same amazing spirit in person. County 10 became Bernie Mac, he received a collar, a bath and we took him for a nature walk on a gorgeous day. He loved every minute of attention we gave him and was so grateful. We made a makeshift room out of his kennel, so that he would feel like he had his own space, complete with walls, a Kuranda bed and soft comforter. Bernie immediately crawled up on his bed, laid down on his comforter and took a nap.

Today, Bernie went for his first vet checkup, received his shots and we were thrilled to learn that he is heartworm negative. Bernie needs to gain some weight and has some muscle loss in his hind end. Our vet estimated his age to be around 8 years old. He might have arthritis, but it definitely doesn't slow him down. He is one very spry, happy guy. He was excited to meet everyone today and behaved like a perfect gentleman. After our visit, we picked up a great glucosamine and chondroitin supplement, as well as some fish oil as our vet recommended. We expect to see Bernie Mac bounding around the play area in no time!

We want to find a perfect home for Bernie, whether it's a foster home or a forever home. He needs and wants a family so badly. He is a wonderful, kind dog that we feel would do best in a quiet home. He loves his walks and is a willing companion for anything, as long as he gets his share of belly rubs. Whoever brings Bernie into their home will gain a loyal, loving and devoted companion that will be forever grateful. He is a rare fellow and we have loved spending time with him, but we want him to start enjoying his life like only a dog in a loving home can. If you or someone you know is looking for a perfect senior, please share Bernie's story with them. He is a treasure and has many great years ahead of him. The best is yet to come for Bernie and we don't want to keep him waiting! If you are interested in fostering Bernie, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Those interested in adopting, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

All of you can watch Bernie's shelter video and smile, knowing that he is now safe.

We thank the Manchester volunteers for all their hard work and know how difficult it can be to see some dogs not make it out. This 2 minutes and 15 seconds saved this dog's life, so you ladies keep up the amazing work there. You are making a difference!
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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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