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!
Sirius Black is a German Shepherd, and in this story he sits down with foster mom Jennifer Davis to talk of his experiences being a foster brother
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Hi people! My name’s Sirius and I’m the best foster brother ever, at least, that’s what my mom says. She’s a foster mom for Southeast German Shepherd Rescue. We just started fostering this year, after mom bought me a house with lots and lots of land to run and play on. You see, I just love to play with other dogs and mom thought fostering would be a great way for me to have a playmate without committing to having another dog forever. I mean, what if we got another dog and I didn’t like him? And then we’d be stuck with him forever!
I think fostering is a great thing to do! I was fostered by a very nice lady before my mom adopted me. She taught me lots of stuff so when I met my real mom for the first time, she was super impressed with me! Mom said that by fostering other dogs we could help them become more adoptable so they could find moms and dads of their own. My mom loves me so much and I really want to help other dogs find that kind of love too!
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My first foster sister was named Ginny. I really loved her! We got to play in the yard every morning and every night. Ginny didn’t know a lot of stuff when she came to live with us, so mom said I had to help teach her how to be a good dog so she could find a family of her own. I taught her how to sit and not to chase the cats and how to walk nice on the leash. And guess what? She got adopted by an awesome family that adores her almost as much as my mom adores me.
We did have to make some changes to our routine for Ginny. I don’t think she got fed very much before she came to live with us, so she would gobble all of her food down and then come over and eat mine. I’m such a nice guy, I would just back away and let her have my food too, but mom said that I shouldn’t let her take advantage of me (whatever that means). So now I get to eat my meals in the guest bedroom with the door closed. Mom says I’m a slow eater, but really I just like to savor my food and chew it thoroughly, that’s very important you know!
I was a little bit sad after Ginny left, but about a month later JP came to live with us. He was only 10 months old and full of energy. Boy, did I have a lot of work to do with him! But we had lots of fun running around and chasing each other in the yard. And after only a month, he got adopted too! Now I have a new brother named Remus. He is only 7 months old, but mom says he reminds her of me and that’s a big compliment because I’m the best dog ever! Mom says we might foster-fail and keep him forever. I really hope so, because I love him a lot. Mom says he loves me too, even more than he loves her because whenever she calls his name he runs to me instead of her.
I think that more people (and dogs) should consider being foster families. It is hard to say goodbye to your foster brothers and sisters, but there are always new fosters to meet!
Sometimes it’s hard having to share my mom’s attention with other dogs. She’s only one person so she can’t love on all of us at the same time and sometimes she needs to spend extra time with my foster siblings to work on training or take them to the vet. But I feel so sad for all the dogs that have to live in shelters without moms and dads of their own. So I don’t mind sharing my mom with other dogs for a little while until they find families of their own.
Growing up with the joys of a Labrador Retriever/Great Dane mix, I knew I’d have a dog in my life as an adult. I just didn’t realize how many!
In 2007, I moved out of a no-pets-allowed home into my current home and adopted my baby, an Australian Shepherd. He became my world. He taught me true, unconditional love. He was my companion on journeys that would have otherwise been solo. He was my snuggle bug when I watched TV. He was a constant source of trust and hope. To this day, I’m grateful I moved when I did or I would have missed out on this incredible love in my life.
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Having such a great dog encouraged me to give rescue dogs a temporary home until their permanent homes opened up. I began fostering in my home in 2009. These foster dogs crossed the spectrum from a 25 pound Lhasa Apso mix who was separated from the only life he knew, to an American Staffordshire Terrier who spent 6 weeks confined to a crate to allow a broken leg to heal, to a pregnant hound momma who gave birth to six beautiful puppies.
People consistently ask me, “How can you give the fosters up? I’d get so attached.”
I tell people several reasons. First, because I do this, lives are saved. Space in shelters is freed up. There’s a home for each of these fosters. Like me, they just need more time to find them.
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Jenny, a 9-year-old Shepherd mix
Second, I can help with making the dogs more adoptable and better able to stay in a home. Some dogs come without knowledge of living in a home—the scary noises a dishwasher makes, proper places to do their “business,” how to live with other dogs in the house, etc. Third, and most important, I’d miss out on having them in my life. I’d miss out on their uniqueness, their fun way of doing things, their blossoming into a loving family pet. I fostered Jenny, a 9 year old Shepherd mix, who spent her life tied up in the backyard. She never knew life with toys. She watched the other dogs in the house play and didn’t interact. Eventually, she learned. Eventually, she developed a love for one particular toy—and I got to see it all! I witnessed her blossoming and enjoying life filled with toys, bones and the like. If I didn’t foster, I would have missed out on that and many more experiences. I’d also miss out on the extended family I’ve developed through fellow foster parents and adopted families. My social circle has grown from these people and they are a great part of my life. I get Christmas cards, Facebook updates, and pictures texted to me from the adopted families! I get to hear stories about their fun times. Think of everything I would be missing!
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Loverboy, Danielle, and Laney
I have raised my home, for a year at a time, four black Labrador Retriever puppies for Southeastern Guide Dogs. This organization trains service dogs for visually impaired people and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Again, when people learn this about me, they ask, “I’d get so attached. How can you give them up?” As in rescue dogs, I gain so many benefits. I get to have the fun liveliness of a puppy in my life. I receive the benefits of seeing a puppy grow from a gangly, goofy puppy into a well-rounded, mature dog that knows service dog-specific tasks that will help a disabled person. Most importantly, I know this is making a difference in people’s lives. I’ve seen what a difference my dog makes in my life. I am a different person today for the love I’ve given to and received from him. Now I can help people with disabilities have a more well-rounded life. They feel freedom to venture out of their homes more. They get more engaged in life because of the support they receive from these service dogs. They are different people for having known these dogs.
And the bottom line is I do get attached. But I also know that my home can only support so many dogs. And I know if I go through that one moment in time when I have to say goodbye, then I can do more to save dogs and make people’s lives better.
Danielle Robinson is a seasoned event leader for Tails of the Trail and recently spent four months dog training at Best Friends Animal Society in Utah. She has fostered and trained 18 dogs over the years.
Broken bones in Bogey’s legs had never healed properly, so the dog’s owners turned to engineering researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville for help. Faculty and student researchers devised a pair of innovative thermoplastic leg braces for Bogey that could help pave the way for inexpensive prosthetics for humans and animals.
Check out the video:
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Nashville’s independent radio Lightning 100 interviewed Kelly Stewart of Nashville Hiking Meetup for the Nashville by Nicole show, which introduces “Lightning 100 listeners to non-profits & local organizations that are doing great things in their community & challenge them to volunteer & get engaged to see lives changed, including their own.” The episode originally aired on June 13, 2015.