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Animal Harbor News and Events

Animal Harbor Announces New Shelter Manager

Animal Harbor is pleased to announce the appointment of its new shelter manager, Lane Carter. Lane lives in Fayetteville with her seven dogs and four cats. She was born and raised in Memphis, and moved to Middle Tennessee in 1997. Lane’s grown son and daughter live in Manchester and Rossville respectively with their families.

Lane worked as a veterinary technician for seven years, and she has had a career as a paramedic for the past 30 years. At this point in her life, she finds working with animals to be more enjoyable than human medicine. “If I had known 30 years ago what I know now,” she said, “I would have become a veterinarian.”  Lane is also the co-author of the book, Almost a Whisper: A Holistic Approach to Working with Your Horse (Alpine Publications, 1999) which describes the training methods of her husband at the time.  

Lane is excited about joining the staff at Animal Harbor. “I think Animal Harbor is an awesome place and I’m looking forward to working with the team to make it even better,” she said. “I would like for Animal Harbor to set the standard for shelter operations and animal care.”

Posted 20 weeks ago

​Animal Harbor Presents Awards at the Fall Party for Paws

Sewanee, TN, Nov. 19, 2016 -  Area ​animal lovers ​came together on Saturday, November 19th t​o​ attend ​Animal Harbor’s ​Annual Party for  Paws​ ​fundraising event at​ ​Otey Parish Hall in Sewanee.  Cat and dog lovers alike ​shared food​ and ​friendship while bidding on silent auction items that raise​d​ money for​ the​ ongoing care of​ animals at ​the shelter. Susan Walton ​set a festive mood with her piano selections, and Barbara Bull volunteered as auctioneer for the​ live auction​ event.​  Everyone present was full of enthusiasm, good will, and a desire to see the mission and work of the Harbor ​continue in 2017, which will​ ​mark fourteen years of rescues and adoptions. ​

Every year the Harbor awards volunteers who have given of their time and energy to work for the animals​.​ The Volunteer of the Year for 2015​, Anna Marie Goodwin from Winchester, is​ ​now ​a student at Middle Tennessee State University studying Animal Science with a specialty in horses.  Anna Marie said that she enjoyed every minute​ of​​ ​seeing cats, dogs, the occasional rabbit, and even two pot-bellied pigs ​find their forever home​s​.​


Susan Rupert, President of Animal Harbor, with Anna Marie Goodwin. (Award was presented earlier this year.)

Barbara Hart and Megan Griffth, a grandmother/grandaughter​ duo from Sewanee​,​ shared the​ limelight as Volunteers of the Year for 2016.  Barbara can be seen every Saturday morning at the shelter, sporting unique earrings, ​taking on any task needed, and sharing with ​Megan ​the importance of kindness​ and ​empathy​,​​ ​and ​​of rewards​​,​​ ​paid ​not in wages and perks, but in ​wags and purrs​.​​


The Jeane Patton Humanitarian Award for 2016 was given to Jarod Pearson of Cowan.  This award was established in 2003 in honor of Ms. Jean Patton, who provided initial support for the creation of Animal Harbor, and is presented each year to one or more persons who have made a significant contribution towards reducing pet overpopulation and improving the lives of companion animals in Franklin County.  Over the past several years, Jarod has paid for vaccinations, medical treatment, food, and most importantly, the spaying and neutering of​ countless​ cats who have, as he sa​id​, “chosen him” as their advocate and protector.  Jarod exemplifies what one person​ ​can do to make a lasting difference​, ​​one animal at a time.


Remember to join the Party for Paws next November and “Be a Harbor Hero” to the animals of Franklin County.  

Posted 32 weeks ago

2016 Bone Drop Winner Announced

The lucky winner of Animal Harbor’s 4th Annual Bone Drop on August 6 was Nita Penland of Winchester.  Nita won the $5,000 prize after her “bone” landed closest to the bullseye when dropped from a bucket truck. The bones were about one ounce each and were in plastic packets.

“Nita was in such shock when we called to tell her she had won, that we had to repeat it twice, and explain what we were talking about!” said Caitlyn Barstad, development officer of the non-profit organization. Nita had purchased a $100 bone for the event on impulse at the last minute, her bone being number 140 out of 150 bones sold. When she came to pick up her winnings, Nita declared that she had never won anything before other than a 4th grade hula hoop contest! She was very excited and did not have specific plans for what to do with the money. She said she would most likely take a vacation and possibly donate the rest of the winnings to charity, including Animal Harbor! Nita said she has never adopted an animal directly from Animal Harbor, but she and her husband are avid animal lovers and have visited the shelter frequently.

The Bone Drop raised $10,000 to go toward operating expenses for the Animal Harbor shelter, including care of the nearly 60 pets that Animal Harbor houses at any one time. Pets at Animal Harbor receive vaccinations and other needed medical attention and are spayed or neutered and microchipped before adoption. 

“Animal Harbor is grateful to all of the businesses and individuals who purchased a bone,” Barstad said. “We also thank Duck River Electric Membership Corporation for providing the bucket truck and operators.” DREMC employee Bryan Burton dropped the bones from the raised bucket, and Patrick Hannah operated the truck. 

“Because of the amazing support of this community, Animal Harbor continues to house homeless animals and prepare them for adoption,” Barstad said. So far this year, Animal Harbor has taken in over 260 pets and placed them in new homes or sent them to adoption partner shelters in other states. The organization has also worked with many young people in the community to teach them about animal care and welfare.


Pictured at Animal Harbor, left to right: Caitlyn Barstad, Animal Harbor Development Officer; Nita Penland, Bone Drop Winner; Susan Rupert, Animal Harbor President; and Phyllis Larson, Animal Harbor Treasurer.


Left to right: Bryan Burton, Duck River Electric Membership Corporation; Caitlyn Barstad, Animal Harbor Development Officer; ​Patrick Hannah, DREMC.

Posted 50 weeks ago

Animal Harbor is honored to have received a $5,000 grant from the Petco Foundation to help extend our efforts and serve the Petco Foundation’s mission to raise the quality of life for pets and the people who love and need them.  This grant will be used to subsidize the spay or neuter of 100 pets belonging to low-income families in Franklin County.

Posted 52 weeks ago

Tux & Tails 2016

Thank you to everyone who attended Tux & Tails on April 2, 2016! 

We’d like to thank everyone who helped make the evening possible:

Zack and Lucia Rowe and San Miguel’s
Keri Downing. Amanda Mayo and IvyWild
Cile Alexander and Reliable Rental
Michael Mann at The Flower Shop
Liza James at Browns Pool Room
Casillero del Diablo Winery
Huntland Interact Club
Joshlyn Binkley and Heather Forshee for bartending
Rocky Morris, auctioneer

Auction donations : Spirit Dogs Pottery, Ravens Art Boutique, Walter and Lisa McCord, Frances Perea, Thomas Andrew, Amber Kelley and Lee Gibson.

Thomas Andrew for the donated commissioned painting, “A Safe Place” (

Posted 68 weeks ago

Woofstock 2016

Lee Gibson and his band rocked the house at Patrick’s Steakhouse to an appreciative crowd on February 20! Thank you Lee for a fabulous event! Thank you to our sponsors:

Patrick’s Steakhouse, L & H Distributing (Budweiser), Town & Country Veterinary Hospital, SBY Enterprises, Ascend Federal Credit Union, Kelly’s Dance Studio, Wags and Wiggles LLC, Above Average Boutique

Posted 73 weeks ago

Dr. Tracy Helton Receives Humanitarian Award

Dr. Traci Helton (left) receives the 2015 Jean Patton Humanitarian award from Patricia Dover, President of Animal Harbor. 

Sewanee, TN: On November 21, 2015, at Animal Harbor’s Party for Paws fundraiser, Dr. Traci Helton, DVM, was presented with the Jean Patton Humanitarian Award.

The Jean Patton Humanitarian Award was established in 2003 in honor of Ms. Jean Patton, who provided initial support for the creation of Animal Harbor. This award is presented each year to one or more persons who have made a significant contribution towards the Humane Society’s mission to reduce pet overpopulation and improve the lives of companion animals in Franklin County.

Dr. Helton is originally from upstate New York and is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. She first came to Franklin County in 1995. Mobile Veterinary Services was started in 2003, allowing her the opportunity to treat animals all across the county. In 2013 she opened her clinic, Midtown Veterinary Services and Hospital, in Winchester. Dr. Helton is certified as an Animal Chiropractic by the AVCA, and has a certificate in Veterinary Acupuncture from the Chi Institute in Florida.

Dr. Helton has supported the efforts of animal rescuers for many years. She has been especially helpful to Animal Harbor by coming to the shelter every month to issue health certificates to dogs scheduled for transport on the Rescue Waggin’. This keeps Animal Harbor from having to carry 8-18 dogs to a clinic to get these certificates. She has also made house calls to foster parents’ homes to check out their pups so they also can stay where they are.  Like all of the vets in the area, she’s always available to help when animals are sick or when Animal Harbor staff have medication questions.  Dr. Helton enabled Animal Harbor to spay or neuter 166 feral cats in a few months for their grant-supported Trap-Neuter-Return project. She and her staff squeezed surgeries in wherever they could and cleared out days to help get as many cats as possible fixed on the days they were trapped.

“Thank you all so much for this honor and recognition. I am fortunate to be able to earn my living providing medical care to companion animals. I strive to make pet’s lives and their caretaker’s as full and enjoyable as possible,” Dr. Helton said.

“Dr. Helton works every day to improve the lives of companion animals in Franklin County,” said Patricia Dover, Animal Harbor President. “We are honored to present her with the Jane Patton Humanitarian Award.”

Posted 82 weeks ago

Grant Awarded to Animal Harbor by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee

Amy Fair​, Director of Donor Services​, Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee presents $5,000 grant to Caitlyn Barstad, Animal Harbor Development Officer.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, a charitable organization dedicated to enriching the quality of life in the 40 Middle Tennessee counties it serves, announces more than $1.79 million in grants to 280 nonprofit organizations as part of The Foundation’s annual discretionary grantmaking process.

Animal Harbor has received a $5,000 grant to provide veterinary care for rescued pets while they are in the shelter waiting for new homes. All of Animal Harbor’s pets receive vaccinations, parasite removal, and are spayed or neutered to prevent more homeless pets.

“The work of our nonprofit partners has never been more important as we watch needs emerge and evolve in this community,” said Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. “The Community Foundation is honored to connect generosity with need through these annual grants and other avenues throughout the year, but we couldn’t have an impact without the array of quality nonprofits offering solutions to our community’s needs and vital services to our neighbors.”

The Community Foundation awards discretionary grants annually from its unrestricted and field-of-interest funds, through an open application process, to Middle Tennessee nonprofits organizations addressing community needs and benefiting the well-being of citizens through valuable programs and innovative services.

More information on the grant process is online at

About The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee oversees more than 1,060 charitable funds, providing customized philanthropic solutions with flexibility for donors, nonprofit organizations and the community. In the past 24 years, The Community Foundation has distributed more than $750 million to community programs and institutions. It is located at 3833 Cleghorn Avenue, #400, Nashville, Tennessee 37215. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or

Posted 82 weeks ago

Animal Harbor Announces Completion of Capital Campaign

Winchester, TN– Animal Harbor has received a $40,000 bequest from a donor who wished to remain anonymous, to be used for construction costs of the new shelter.  With the addition of this gift, Animal Harbor’s capital campaign has raised more than $622,000 – surpassing the campaign goal of $600,000. About $82,000 of this total consists of pledges that are still being paid over the next year.

Animal Harbor’s capital campaign began in 2012 and ended August 15, 2015.  The new facility, which is already completed, is located at 56 Nor-Nan Road, off of Highway 127. The total cost of the project was $678,000, which includes the cost of the property, site work and paving, construction of the new building, equipment and furnishings.  All contributions of $100 or more will be recognized on the donor wall  to be located in the Front Lobby of the new facility. Commitments of $2,500 or more will also be recognized in two additional wall displays and/or plaques. An open house will be held late this fall as soon as these donor recognition pieces have been completed.

The new building provides an open and inviting atmosphere to encourage adoption, volunteering, and education for the community.  Features of the new building include group rooms for cats where they can roam free, climb on platforms and hide in cubby holes; a porch where the cats can enjoy the outdoors safely; quarantine areas for both dogs and cats that are not ready for adoption, a “meet and greet” room for people to get to know a pet without the noise and interference of other pets; separate areas for offices and prep work; and overall space for up to 40 cats and 40 dogs at any one time, depending on the mix of adults to puppies/kittens.

“Since the new building opened in December of 2014, we have seen a huge increase in the number of people who visit– both to adopt and to volunteer,” said Patricia Dover, President of Animal Harbor. “The board and staff of Animal Harbor — on behalf of all the pets served — share their deepest gratitude for the community’s amazing support for this huge project. More than 1,000 donors contributed gifts of cash and services or materials, and hundreds more supported grassroots-style, through coin canisters at local businesses, special fundraisers and more. This could not have happened without every person, business and foundation that participated, and we feel very fortunate to live in a community that places such importance on humane care and treatment of all animals.”

Animal Harbor depends on the ongoing support of its loyal donors for its continued operation.  Operating expenses include medicines and veterinary care including spaying or neutering all pets before adoption, pet food, utilities, staff to care for pets and assist visitors, and all the other expenses of shelter operation.  Animal Harbor also assists seniors and low income families who otherwise may not be able to have their loved pets neutered, and maintains a pet food bank to help pet owners get through a hard time. Donations may be mailed to Animal Harbor, P. O. Box 187, Winchester, TN 37398.

Click here to view a list of major donors.

Posted 97 weeks ago

Welcome to our new Development Officer

We are pleased to announce that Caitlyn Barstad has joined our staff as the new Development Officer. Ms. Barstad will lead our fundraising efforts in support of our mission to reduce pet overpopulation and improve the lives of homeless pets in Franklin County. 


“I am thrilled to accept the Development Officer position with Animal Harbor”, said Caitlyn. “Not only do I have the opportunity to utilize my degree in an organization that I feel passionate about, but also to make an impact in the community I love and reside in. I am looking forward to contributing to the progress and development of Animal Harbor and interacting with Franklin County businesses, individuals and donors.”

Caitlyn is a Franklin County native, having graduated from Franklin County High School in 2007. She has a degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and is a 2015 graduate of the University of Southern California, where she earned a Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in community organization, planning, and administration. She interned with the Center for Family Development, Shelbyville, and Community Shares of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Caitlyn resides in Decherd with her feisty kitten, Cooper. In her spare time she enjoys hiking and listening to live music.

“Caitlyn brings an excitement and energy that is sure to enhance our development efforts,” said Patricia Dover, President of Animal Harbor. “We are excited to have her join us.”

Posted 98 weeks ago