Tails of the Trail™ reached a milestone Saturday when we hiked our 1,000th shelter dog. The event took place at Montgomery County Animal Care and Control, and the Leaf-Chronicle newspaper was there to cover it. See the full article here.
Tails of the Trail reached a milestone Saturday when Clarksville Hiking Meetup volunteers walked our 1,000th shelter dog since the beginning of our outreach program. Saturday’s event was held in partnership with Montgomery County Animal Care and Control in Clarksville, Tennessee. The shelter waived adoption fees for the lucky 1,000th dog Sarah!
ClarksvilleNOW.com covered the event with a fun video from correspondent Daynnah Carmona.
“The only creatures that have evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants”
— Johnny Depp
Love: a force, a vibration, a sentiment. Love is the subject of countless melodies, poems, art pieces, films etc. etc. It is an inexplicable emotion which cannot be quite conceptualized, but without it concepts would not exist. The idea of experiencing love seems all to elusive in a world where it is taught that vulnerability is a weakness and should be averted at all cost; to protect our hearts at the expense of separating ourselves from just about everyone and everything for fear of heartbreaks and suffering as a result.
Introducing: the dog.
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Dogs are singular creatures, like many animals live in the present moment, they differ from humans in their perception of life; they maintain a level of innocence humans can only experience during the formative years of their lives. Eckhart Tolle, a renown author and speaker explains that dogs “have a native readiness to celebrate life and to live in the moment” a quality a bit more rare in humans since there is a tendency to rationalize everything before fully accepting it. Tolle goes on to say that: “With people, the mind is always in the way. There is too much going on a mental, emotional level. With a dog, there is just an outflow of love.”
Dogs can teach us a lot about love, genuine and unconditional love and loyalty, such as it has been the case of four legged legends featured in Hollywood films such as Rin-Tin-Tin, Lassie, Benji et al.
A dog’s ability to forgive–even the cruelest of abuses–is a characteristic we as humans would do well to emulate. Several times I have seen abused dogs who were afraid of humans, be transformed and revert to their natural state; a state where something so spontaneous, pure and unrestrained is to them the only way to live.
The truth is that a dog will never tell you how rough you look upon waking up in the morning, a dog will never tell you that you no longer suit their needs, need a better job or halitosis is an issue. A dog will never tell a you about the old ’84 El Camino that needs to be thrown into the bottom of the deepest ocean. They do not care about those frivolities, they care about you and your relationship…even when the on sale kibble you got from a convenient store sucks. They are able to perceive feelings, intentions, and somehow know that you’re doing your best. A dog can be the medium through which we can reconnect with that part of ourselves that is in a harmonious and balanced relationship with nature; that part that dances and celebrates life, the universe, love permanently. Through observing and participating with a dog and their relationship with nature, we can learn a great deal what is to experience love to its fullest capacity; a dog can ultimately coax someone suffering from depression and anxiety to begin the path to restoration and equanimity.
A dog never stops seeing potential in us, he or she will lead the way because it is in their nature to take charge of the pack, until we learn to be in sync with nature and are fit to assume our role. All from a place of ultimate, unbounded and unconditional love.
When everything around you has fallen to pieces and the human race has left you down, raise a dog, you will learn love again.
What is the true nature of reality? Love.
Who will show us love? Start with a dog.
Videographer and animal lover Dävid La Rosa joined us recently for our Tails of the Trail hike with Metro Nashville Animal Care and Control. The result was this charming video that tells the story of us hiking with over 30 shelter dogs that morning.
Amy Eskind and Micah Schulman from The Nashville Banner paid us a visit during our hike with Metro Animal Care and Control and gave us some great coverage.
Our guest blogger Sarah talks about helping animals, her ambition to become a veterinarian, and her small business that creates pet products.
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My name is Sarah and I am a rising 7th grader at MLK Academic Magnet School. I have always had a passion for helping animals, and plan on becoming a vet. My family has enjoyed raising cows, chickens, horses, pygmy goats, and rescue dogs. These experiences have fueled my interest in helping and enjoying animals. I appreciate how animals play many roles including work, therapy, leisure, and companionship. Personally, I love how animals often seem to listen and provide comfort. I have enjoyed making homemade dog bones and play toys for local animal shelters.
Recently, my mom met fellow volunteer Lisa Thomas at The Nashville Food Project. Lisa explained Tails of the Trail and asked if my mom and I would be interested in making Bake-A-Bones for Tails of the Trail. I thoroughly enjoyed walking Maggie from Bonaparte’s Retreat and making all of the treats for the sweet dogs. It was a great time for Maggie, my mom, and me. I know Maggie would make a great pet for someone! Throughout the whole hike, Maggie and many of the other dogs were wagging their tails, smelling the ground, and giving many loving licks. Our canine buddies loved the freedom and fresh air.
After the hike, all of the dogs gobbled down their “pupsicles” and enjoyed being around the other dogs! I gave the Bake-A-Bone to my dogs for Christmas this year, and I have enjoyed making them for many dogs. Tails of the Trail was a great experience to see how different the dogs can act when they are not in a shelter environment. They really open up and show their full loving and spunky personalities.
I have always had a dream, which will hopefully come true, of becoming a vet. Since a young age I have always wanted to help animals and growing up with many different types of animals has shown me how much they can help me and always make me feel better. This is why I want to give back to animals as a veterinarian.
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My cousin, Ellie, and I have a small business where we make dog and cat products. We also donate some of our products to animal organizations, just as we have done for Tails of the Trail. Our website is www.TheArtsyAnimals.weebly.com, if you would like to check us out.
One of the first things I said when I saw the precious pooch named Minnie Pearl was, “HowDEE!”
Minnie looked so forlorn lying in her pen, what with her misshapen, cropped ears. This girl, I thought, deserves something more akin to country music star treatment! I gently coaxed her out of her pen at Metro Animal Care and Control and took her for a walk outside. Minnie Pearl — so sweet and gentle — just wanted to cuddle; she wouldn’t even leave my side. As I returned Ms. Pearl back to her pen, adoption hours had just begun. At that moment, I resigned myself to finding Minnie a loving home.
Minutes later, I met a lovely woman and her two young daughters who had come to the shelter to look at Grandpa, a much older bulldog/pit bull mix. She already had two younger, rowdier dogs at home and wanted an older, mellower dog to join them. As luck would have it, I had taken Grandpa out for a walk minutes earlier. Not the mellow dog at all, Grandpa was a rather feisty fella which behaved younger than his years. I told her of my experience with Grandpa, thinking all along that Minnie — not Grandpa — was the dog she perhaps ought to be considering. I explained to her that although Minnie was only a couple of years old, she was very gentle and loving… perhaps just the dog to help temper the rambunctious behavior of the woman’s other two.
When the family passed by the pen a second time, Minnie seemed to look longingly at the family with sadness in her eyes — or, just maybe, the perceived sadness was my own pity for the precious canine. At that point I introduced the family to Minnie, hoping that the metal barrier between them would soon be but a memory.
I finished my shift and headed for the front lobby, where I was thrilled to see the family filling out the form to officially meet and greet Minnie. I struggled to contain my excitement and let them know I hoped they would find Minnie to be the one. At soul level, I was extremely hopeful this was Minnie’s lucky day — the day she’d find a home with a loving family. Could my words of encouragement actually save a canine life today, or would they return home empty handed? Could my simple actions possibly serve as catalyst for a loving relationship between a doomed shelter pup and searching family? Would this be a random act of kindness with results?
A couple of days later, Metro Animal Control posted a beautiful picture of Minnie Pearl going home with her new family. The joy I felt at that moment was indescribable! Because of the small amount of time taken to understand a family’s needs, I had actually saved Minnie! And if I can do it, anyone can!
Minnie Pearl now goes by the name of Ruby. A recent video sent by her new family shows Ruby frolicking in the snow with her two new four-legged siblings. It doesn’t get better than that for a true dog lover! I encourage everyone who loves animals to take the time to volunteer at a local animal shelter or dog rescue operation and see how satisfying the experience can be… especially when you know you are instrumental in creating a new and lasting relationship between man and man’s best friend.
Bless your new loving family, canine and human alike!
As reported in my earlier blog in January 2016, Rockie is a dog that I first encountered during a Tails of the Trails hike at Williamson County Animal Center. He is a Feist mix that loves walking. The only drawback is that he lifts his rear, right leg off and on during those walks. After a consult at Nashville Vet Specialists (NVS), Rockie underwent surgery to repair a luxating patella (a kneecap that would move in and out of place thus causing the limp to come and go). We are now six weeks into his eight week rehabilitation period and I’m happy to report first and foremost that Rockie is doing AMAZING!
Let me paint the picture of his rehabilitation period: he has been restricted in his movements, not allowed to run, jump, climb stairs, play with other dogs, jump on furniture or any other movements that would deter his healing process.
For the first two weeks, he had to wear an E-collar (also known as an Elizabethan collar) around his neck so he didn’t lick or bite his surgery incision. Though somewhat cumbersome, he did great with the E-collar and more than tolerated it. After a follow-up exam at NVS, his surgical staples were removed because the incision had healed so well and he was no longer required to wear the E-collar—freedom! To keep him confined and away from the other dogs in my house, Rockie got a “man cave” of his own in my bedroom, a portion of the room sectioned off by a crate and plywood walls. He has been allowed to be out of his man cave during bathroom breaks and feeding only.
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My initial concern was that he would be going stir crazy being confined so much. He’s a young, energetic, happy dog who loves people. Yet, he spends most of his days in this confined area with only a 12 foot space to move around. I engage his mind with food puzzles, food-stuffed toys and the like. It’s said that if you engage a dog’s brain in these types of behaviors, you wear the dog out mentally and that can be four times more exhausting than physical activity. Even with that, I was still concerned his desire for activity would far outreach his imposed restrictions.
One of the amazing aspects of Rockie is his ability to stay in the confined area without being hyper, destructive, or other such behaviors. He also doesn’t complain when he has to go back into his area after bathroom and feeding breaks. When he is out, he is the snuggliest, happiest, most affectionate dog you can imagine. He’s my kind of dog. He loves it when I sit on the floor with him. He snuggles in my lap and laps up all the love and petting I give him. He allows me to gently rub his healed incision to stimulate blood flow to the area. In addition, he loves to chew on bones which has the benefit of releasing his energy while keeping him off of his feet.
My fears of an emotionally and physically pent-up dog who needs sedation have not come to fruition. He’s been the easiest foster I’ve ever had and has endured this time with happiness, contentment, and willingness to accept all the restrictions necessary. I’ve learned a lot from his example; to not grumble so much when I go through a tough situation. For that he’s a true champion.
He continues to be a delight and brings such a smile to my face. I look forward to two weeks from now when x-rays show him healed and ready for action!
Stay tuned to this blog for updates on Rockie’s next consult with NVS which will determine if the activity restrictions can be lifted and what the future holds for him.