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.

Gia is Ready for her Forever Home!

Gia collageIn the last couple of months, Gia has made amazing progress both physically and mentally. It's hard to believe she is the same dog that arrived, covered in hundreds of circular puncture wounds that looked like she was stabbed with an ice pick.  Her ears had also recently been cropped in a crude home chop job, completed with either a knife or a pair of scissors.  We can't imagine how incredibly painful that must have been and treating her double ear infection everyday was sheer terror for her. Gia has suffered a lot in her life, more than any dog should ever have to. Even still, with a painful skin infection all over her body, Gia let us treat her everyday. She knew that we were there to help and now that she is healthy, it's time for her to move into a foster or adoptive home. In her former life, she lived in a junkyard so Gia has a lot to learn about being in a home. She needs someone who can help her transition into the "normal" world. Gia is a very sweet, kind dog and she loves everyone she meets. She holds no grudges about her past life or treatment. Gia lives in the present and she is happy everyday for the second chance she was given. She would do best in a home with a respectful male, or as the only dog. She is fascinated by cats, as she is with many things that she has never experienced before. She also likes to jump on them and smack them with her paws, so she needs to go to a home with no cats!  If you're interested in adopting or fostering Gia, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!
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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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We Need Prizes for our Photo Contest!

prizesVery soon, we are planning to hold a Photo Contest in which everyone can enter their dog! All photos are posted online and people can vote for the photos they like best. We want to offer some great prizes to our top 3 winners as an extra incentive to enter. The better the prizes, the more entrants we hope to have! Not only will this be a very fun way for people to show their dogs off, but this contest will also help us raise some much needed funds for our rescue. All donated prizes are tax-deductible and very much appreciated! If you'd like to donate an item as a contest prize, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!
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Saved in January - Jasper!

Jasper_ShelterJanuary hasn't come to an end just yet, but I wanted to share some of the dogs we have saved so far from euthanasia.  We have been very busy!

On January 4th, we saved the lives of nine dogs from two shelters.  All of these dogs were scheduled to be euthanized that day.

JasperThis guy is as sweet as they come!  All he wants to do is kiss you all over and lay in your lap.  After pulling him with the help of Partners for Pets in Clayton County, GA, he was taken to Community Animal Hospital in Cleveland.  After receiving all of his vaccinations, being dewormed, heartworm tested and neutered, he hitched a ride to us in Spring Hill and officially became available for adoption.  We are happy to report that he has already found a wonderful family!  We are absolutely thrilled that they live in Spring Hill and hope to run into him again one day!
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We Are Now 10,000 Strong!

Our Facebook page hit a huge milestone today.  We now have 10,000 followers!  For each and every dog posted facing euthanasia, there are now 10,000 sets of eyes to see them and share the posts with their friends.  Thank you everyone who has donated, shared, transported, volunteered and fostered a dog from our page.  You guys have made the difference between life and death for hundreds of dogs in Tennessee!  ~Jamie
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Despicable Selfishness

"The deepest essence of human nature consists of self-preservation, aggression, need for love, and the impulse to attain pleasure and avoid pain".  -Sigmund Freud

My work rescuing dogs has really reinforced how true this statement is.  Humans have a natural greed to put themselves first and their own needs first.  We see this everyday in the way people treat their animals.  In no way am I saying that everyone is like this because if they were, there would be no animal rescues.  There would be no one dedicating their time to advocate for animals that so badly need it.

When I first learned of this in one of my college classes, it really put things into perspective for me.  All the frustrations I felt about people's lack of willingness to help, finally made sense to me.  Before I didn't understand why someone would for instance drive by a dog who had been struck by a car and was left on the roadside to suffer.  Some people would probably pass and want to help, but not badly enough to actually follow through and do so.  Others would feel nothing at all and maybe 1 person out of 15 would actually stop to try to help. 

Along this journey of rescuing dogs, I have met many different types of people.  I've met a few really great people, who sacrifice their free time, foster dogs, donate money and do whatever else they can to help dogs in need.  I've heard people such as these referred to by others as "bleeding hearts", which I find borderline offensive.  What gives anyone the right to judge these people?  They think it's silly to work so hard to save one dog when there are millions that need help.  Would it be silly also then for someone to help one of them if they were in an accident and stranded like the dog on the side of the road?  If asked, they would surely say that as a human, their life has a higher value.  In their case, I would have to adamantly disagree.

I've met many more thoughtless, self-absorbed people lately than I've met genuinely kind people.  These people have probably never emphasized with anyone ever.  Those who top my list of selfish people are those that surrender their senior dog to a kill shelter, only to drive up the road and buy a cute new puppy.  This is one of the most despicable acts I have seen in my lifetime.  How someone can take an older dog who has given them a lifetime of love and devotion to a kill shelter is beyond my realm of understanding.  The loud, chaotic shelter environment is highly stressful and frightening to a dog who has spent their life in a quiet home.  They are left with a stranger, only to helplessly watch their owner walk away and cry out for them.  They don't understand whats happening, when their owner is coming back, or what they have done wrong.  By far the worst part of all is that surrendering a dog to a kill-shelter is a death sentence.  There is no mandatory state required hold period for owner surrendered dogs.  Unlike those picked up and labeled as "strays", there is no need to attempt to locate an owner and give them time to claim their dog if it's lost.  These owner surrendered dogs were unwanted by their owners and often times if the shelter is full, they never even make it into a kennel.  They are taken straight to the back and destroyed.  Instead of dying with dignity surrounded by their family, they are left to die alone and afraid at the hands of a stranger. 

There are those who have absolutely no sense of commitment.  They claim they want to foster one of our dogs, because they "want to help".  It makes them feel good in the moment to be doing something noble and selfless.  After a short amount of time and minimal effort, they become tired of taking care of the dog and give any and every excuse imaginable why they can no longer foster it.  The real reason however, is that they are to self-centered to follow through with what they agreed to do.  Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, they try to blame it on the dog, their job, their family and anything else.  The only one that is to blame is themselves.  I can't remember how many times I've heard, "Well at least they had a home for a couple of weeks".  In that couple of weeks, we could have found a foster that would have actually followed through with their commitment.  Yet instead, the poor dog has been returned, only to have to adjust to another house of strangers when we are able to find another foster home.  That statement is yet again a way to convince themselves they've done a good thing so they can feel good about their decision.

There have been a few people I've encountered who pledge specific amounts of money for dogs they want to save, only to not follow through.  Rescues work on very limited budgets and sometimes pledges make a huge difference when it comes to their ability to take a dog.  A rescue will take a dog with a few hundred dollars in pledge money, only to never receive a good portion of the pledges promised to them.  They have followed through with their part of the commitment, yet again people don't follow through with theirs.  Once the dog is saved, people don't feel the need to contribute because the dog is "safe".  They leave the rescue to bare the financial burden of these dogs which they were supposed to have pledged funds for.  Many times, they have paid out money to transport or have the dogs vetting completed and this leaves them in a dire situation.  Again this is selfish behavior that makes people feel good about themselves for trying to help, but then they don't want to follow through and part with the money they pledged.

It's completely fine with me and I accept that there are those who don't feel the need to help save the lives of these dogs.  However, doing more harm than good due to their own selfish agenda is intolerable.  We have far more important things to do than pander to these people.  The only ones we should care about making feel good about themselves, are the dogs we've saved.  For those who want to surrender their pet of any age to a kill shelter, I think the shelter should be required to send you an after picture of what happened to your dog.
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A Little Reflection....

As I'm sure many of you noticed, I haven't written in awhile.  There hasn't been much free time to speak of in my life lately.  I started the Facebook page at the very end of August last year.  At that time, I simply wanted to make a place where all the dogs facing euthanasia could be shown in one place.  I hoped that some local rescues would follow the page so they would be able to see the dogs in need and where they were located.

Buddy went from death row to a college campus. He now has fan club of his very own.

Our sweet Leia with her new family at Nashville Pet Products in Spring Hill.

I never thought that only a few short months later, the Facebook page would have over 5,000 followers and over 700 dogs in the "Safe" folders. Looking at the numbers literally blows my mind on a daily basis.  People from all over the state and country follow the page, along with many rescues both in and out-of-state.  Their efforts have made such a huge difference to dogs in need here.

Along this journey, so many people wanted to help these "death row dogs" that TN Death Row Dogs also officially became a rescue.  This has made it so much easier to coordinate with adopters from out-of-state that need to quarantine and transport their new family member.  Many shelters don't have the staff or resources to coordinate these type of adoptions.  This was a huge step for us, and in doing so, we are able to help many more dogs.  We are currently chartered with the State of Tennessee as a charitable organization and our 501c3 packet has just been submitted.  All of these things have been done in a relatively short amount of time and wow, what a lot of work!  Despite what some may think, we don't have a huge group running the page and rescue.  It is literally myself and Tonya.  We have been lucky enough also to have met some amazing people who volunteer to help us.  It's been wonderful to meet other passionate animal lovers who don't mind donating a little free time to help make a difference.

My former foster dog Aspen being spoon fed by his new bestfriend.

Currently, we have around 30 dogs available for adoption that come in all shapes and sizes.  We are slowly building up a network of amazing foster parents who provide temporary homes our babies awaiting adoption.  Please visit Petfinder or Adopt-a-Pet and take a look at our babies.  We think they're all amazing but of course we are a little biased :)

I wanted to take a moment to thank:  St. Bethlehem Animal Clinic, Rock and Country Vet Services, Animal Care Center of Carters Creek, Animal Attraction, Kathy's Pampered Pets, Doggie Doos and Nashville Pet Products.  These businesses have been a tremendous help and we are so grateful for everything they have done for us.  I'd also like to thank our foster parents who selflessly step up for dogs that have no place to go.  They make saving these dogs possible and they really deserve a pat on the back.  I want to send a huge thank you as well to our donors and Facebook followers because you make what we do possible.  We depend solely on donations to help rescue these dogs from death row, have their vetting completed and take care of them until they find their forever families.  So many people have come together to make a difference for dogs in Tennessee and I'm truly honored to know each and every one of you.

When I met Bree in the shelter, she was so terrified that she couldn't even walk. She now is the happiest girl in the world and loved by the sweetest couple. I will never forget you Bree!

~ Jamie
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