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Animal Harbor News

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Dog wing improvement project completed at Animal Harbor, Volunteer appreciation reception is Tuesday

Printed in the Winchester Herald Chronicle on 4-20-2018


Animal Harbor’s dog wing improvement project has recently been completed. The project, funded by a generous grant from PetSmart, was needed to improve the insulation in the dog kennel wing of the building. Prince Insulation performed the work. The previous fiberglass insulation had a minimal insulating value and was just enough to prevent condensation.

The project involved addition of closed cell foam to add significantly to the insulating value and stop thermal transfer along the side-to-side steel beams. The work also sealed air and provided a non-porous seal, raising the rating of about R10-R12 to R13-R16 and providing for a more comfortable space for adoptable dogs while also helping cut monthly utility costs. Animal Harbor thanks their business partner, Wags and Wiggles LLC for providing extra kennel space for their adoptable dogs during the project. It was business as usual for the adoptable cats and kittens who did not have to be moved out during the project. The shelter has had 22 cat adoptions and 27 intakes since the project started, and they have 39 cats and kittens available for adoption.Printed in the Winchester Herald Chronicle on 4-20-2018

Volunteer appreciation reception

Stephanie Wilson, director of development at Animal Harbor, speaks highly of their volunteers. “The shelter is a busy place with many things happening at a fast pace every day. It takes a special person to walk through the doors and pick up the ringing phones or a sick kitten or a scared dog, but (volunteers) do it and with a big heart and smile. I have not had the opportunity to meet every one of you, and I look forward to doing just that soon.” 

A volunteer appreciation reception will be held on Tuesday from noon to 4 p.m. at the shelter for animal helpers who are urged to visit the “appreciation station” for lemonade and cookies and spend time with other wonderful volunteers. For anyone interested in volunteering, please call the shelter at 931-962-4472. Animal Harbor is located at 56 Nor-Nan Road in Winchester. Shelter hours are Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The mailing address is: Animal Harbor, PO Box 187, Winchester, TN 37398.

Posted 3 days ago

Rescuing Officer Adopts Beagle that Survived Threat

A story that started out with a dog being shot in the back of the head has a happy ending with Officer James Wrisner and his family adopting Magnum. Here, the Wrisners show off their newest family member. Sharing in the moment are, from left, Shannon, Kinzley, Magnum, James, and Houston Wrisner.

Magnum, a beagle who was shot in the back of the head on Shadowbrook Road but managed to survive, has found a new home with the officer who helped rescue him. After a horrific experience, the dog is going to live with Winchester Officer James Wisner and his family. Stephanie Wilson, Animal Harbor director of development, said that Magnum finding a new home is the ultimate reward for him, and it is something the animal shelter would like to see for all of its inhabitants. “We are thrilled for this outcome for Magnum and the Wrisners,” Wilson said. She said this was the perfect outcome for this case because it brought awareness to animal cruelty, and Magnum is going to a loving home. “This is always the goal for Animal Harbor — to place our animals in caring homes,” Wilson said. 

Despite the Wrisner family having three other dogs — Roscoe, a bloodhound; Iggy, a Chihuahua; and Bree, a Chihuahua/ Dachshund mix — the family is looking forward to bringing Magnum into the canine blend. Wrisner did admit that after the third dog was brought into the fold, he was 100 percent done with adding another dog. However, he said he could not help himself after seeing Magnum in the state he was in. Wrisner said what won him over was that, after Magnum was released from a garbage bag he was left to die in, the beagle never left his side. So, Wrisner said he thought that was as good a reason as any to add a fourth dog, despite his previous reservations. “I could not help it,” he said. “Once I had seen him and he stayed by my side, I just knew he would be a loyal dog.” 

The family has been really excited as Wrisner’s son, Houston, has constantly asked when Magnum will be coming home. During the past week, Wrisner’s wife, Shannon, was wanting to pick him up sooner than the scheduled Thursday pickup date. Wrisner said that everyone in his family is really excited about having Magnum become the newest member.Printed in the Winchester Herald Chronicle, April 10, 2018

Posted 1 week ago

Wilson Appointed Executive Director

Animal Harbor is pleased to announce the promotion of Stephanie Wilson from Director of Development to the position ofExecutive Director of Animal Harbor. She has been with Animal Harbor since November, 2017. As she reaches out to individuals and businesses in the Franklin County area, she has sought to make the county aware of the wealth of services and new programs that are being developed at the shelter. Coffee with Cats and Pastries with Pups have become a hit on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. In partnership with the Franklin County Library and Wendy’s, the Paws to Read program on Saturdays is half work and half magic. Children practice their reading skills while the animals love the one-on-one relationship. Stephanie has many new projects in mind for the coming months. 

Posted 3 weeks ago

“Paws to Read” starts March 2 in Franklin County

Published in the Winchester Herald Chronicle, January 23, 2018 (p. 10A)

Animal Harbor, in partnership with the Franklin County Library, is proud to announce a new reading program in Franklin County. Paws to Read will be launched on March 2, in collaboration with Read across America Day.

Animal Harbor’s Director of Development, Stephanie Wilson explains, “It might be impossible for any one person to adopt every pet in need of a good home, but our youngest harbor helpers can do the next best thing. Children ages 2 through 18 who are able to read at any level are invited to the shelter to read to our adoptable cats and dogs in our adoption rooms.”

The program is intended to help children improve their reading skills, help socialize adoptable pets, and develop stronger human-animal bonds for both animals and people.

It’s easy to get involved. Simply visit the Franklin County Library and choose a book. The library will then extend a certificate on behalf of Wendy’s. After reading to an animal at Animal Harbor, return your book to the library and get your certificate stamped. Collect four stamps and then enjoy a free frosty treat from the Winchester Wendy’s.

“Come to the shelter and read,” Stephanie said. “Our adoptable cats and dogs are great listeners!”

The Paws to Read program is open every Saturday from 2-4 p.m. at Animal Harbor beginning on March 3. Large groups or clubs interested in participating in Paws to Read may call the shelter directly to set up an alternate time at 931-962-4472.

The Paws to Read program was implemented by Wilson as well as Robin Mays, Youth Service Director at Franklin County Library. Please contact Wilson with any questions at 352-870-4830 or email

More about Paws to Read

Recent studies performed by research teams at U.C. Davis and Tufts University reveal dog-gone great news: Children who read aloud to therapy dogs or shelter cats on a regular basis demonstrate drastic improvement in their reading skills. Animals provide a safe, non-judgmental presence for struggling readers. Sharing books with furry supporters helps children to:
• Sustain concentration and focus
• Maintain a higher level of awareness
• Improve attitudes toward school
• Increase reading comprehension and fluency
• Expand their use of vocabulary and language
• Boost confidence and pride in their reading skills
• Cultivate a higher motivation for reading and learning
• Foster positive social interactions
• Feel more comfortable about learning
• Enjoy the experience of reading

Oh, and the animals enjoy it, too. and ‘Paws to Read Month’ were created to connect parents educators, animal lovers, and child advocates to city, regional, state, and national programs that use shelter cats or trained therapy dogs to improve the literacy skills of children. Paws to Read also provides tips, activities, and recommended reading lists to help schools and libraries celebrate ‘Paws to Read Month’ in March and all year long.

Posted 12 weeks ago

January 17, 2018

Animal Harbor has received a grant from the Bissell Pet Foundation for our Low-Income Spay/Neuter program. The Foundation has given Animal Harbor a wonderful opportunity to make 2018 a year that will improve the lives of companion animals and the lives of the citizens of Franklin County.

The ability to spay or neuter approximately 110 to 125 additional cats and dogs through our program will prevent the birth of hundreds of puppies and kittens that in turn could produce hundreds of litters over the next decade. Spayed and neutered pets are healthier, and the surrounding neighborhoods have fewer stray and abandoned animals living lives of starvation and illness.

We at Animal Harbor thank Bissell for their continuing generosity and dedication to improving the lives of pets all across the United States, and for helping us fulfill our motto: Saving Lives, Four Paws at a Time!

For more information about our Low-Income Spay/Neuter Program, click here.

Posted 13 weeks ago

Party for Paws Honors Local Harbor Heroes

The Fall Party for Paws, held on November 11th, 2017, hosted a standout crowd of animal lovers. The silent auction saw items flying off the tables, and the food by Old Mill Manor Caterers proved to be a culinary experience that left everyone wanting more. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Jean Patton Humanitarian Award to Joseph Sumpter, and the recognition of Sue Hartman, Dianna Ogden, and Charley Watkins as Harbor Heroes. All of these kind people, each in their own way gave time, money, or special skills to help the mission of Animal Harbor. Our quest to treat and find loving homes for abandoned companion animals, reduce pet overpopulation, and prevent cruelty to animals while providing community education on animal welfare can succeed only when many people join hands in the effort. Thank you Joseph, Sue, Dianna, and Charley.


Left to right: Charley Watkins, Dianna Ogden, and Joseph Sumpter. Not pictured: Sue Hartman.

Posted 20 weeks ago

New Director of Development at Animal Harbor

Stephanie Wilson has been selected as Animal Harbor’s new Director of Development. Wilson is a native of New Hampshire, but grew up in Florida and most recently lived in the Atlanta, Georgia area before relocating to Winchester in May 2017 with her husband, Cliff who is the chief operating officer at Southern Tennessee Regional Health System.  

Wilson comes from an extensive background that includes over 15 years working in both corporate and small business management, business development, and event planning. She has also worked with Main Street programs, welcome centers, and the Chamber of Commerce as a fundraiser and event planner/coordinator in areas where she has previously resided.

Possessing a passion for everything she does, Willson says she gets the most enjoyment from being an active member of a vibrant community.“I immediately fell in love with Animal Harbor after spending some time at the shelter and meeting the dedicated people that make it such a great organization. I am honored to have this opportunity to work with Animal Harbor and represent the outstanding work it does within Franklin County,” she said.

Stephanie has three daughters and a stepson whom she says keep her young at heart. She enjoys traveling, lake life, shopping, and supporting the local community. 

Posted 20 weeks ago

2018 Rescue Me Calendar Available

Story reprinted from the Herald Chronicle, Friday, October 27, 2017


Text from the article:

Man’s best friend will forever be those furry little creatures eagerly waiting to greet us every day in hopes of making our day better.

It’s a sad fact, but not every dog or cat has a person to greet. It’s our turn to help these homeless pets by donating $12 for a 2018 “Rescue Me Calendar” featuring beautiful, colorful photos of local rescue organizations with adopt- able pets. Photos were taken by photographer Charlie Watkins.

All proceeds from the calendar will help Animal Harbor feed and care for their deserving homeless pets until they can be adopted. Animal Harbor is a 501c3 no-kill shelter run by the Franklin County Humane Society and any donation is tax deductible. To learn more, go to or call the shelter at 931-962-4472. The shelter is located at 56 Nor-Nan Road in Winchester. Shelter hours are Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Animal Harbor has been connecting hearts for over 14 years. Please help them continue their mission by purchasing a 2018 calendar today. By buying a calendar, you can help support an animal for just $1 per month.

Featured photos on the calendar include: Life Force, Franklin County Animal Control, Franklin County Sheriff’s Dept., Cowan Fire Dept., Southern Tennessee Regional Health System, Sewanee Fire and Rescue, Franklin County Swimplex lifeguards, Tims Ford State Park Wildlife Services, Decherd Fire Dept., Franklin County Rescue, Winchester Fire and Rescue and Animal Harbor’s staff.

Calendar Locations: Pick up your calendar today at the following locations: 

• Franklin Farmers Co-op 

• Animal Harbor 

• Animal Care Center 

• Midtown Veterinary Clinic 

• Town and Country Veterinary Clinic 

• Heath Automotive • Winchester City Swimplex 

• Bubbles and Bows 

• Wags and Wiggles 

• Lakeside Veterinary Clinic 

• The University of the South Bookstore

Posted 25 weeks ago

First Pool “Paw-ty” Was A Big Bow-Wow Splash

Story reprinted from the Winchester Herald Chronicle Sept 15, 2017

Written by Assistant Editor Linda Stacy

It’s a first for this area, but if the furry pals in attendance at a recent unconventional pool party have anything to say about the event, it certainly won’t be the last. About 25 dogs and their people participated in a pool “paw-ty” for dogs held at Tims Ford State Park’s swimming pool last Saturday. The event raised a little over $400 to help support Franklin County’s Animal Harbor shelter.

Despite the fact that no swim suits were required for this pool party there were no covetous fights to break up between furry friends. And no water rescues were involved, even though some dogs were more dauntless than others. Phyllis Larson, Animal Harbor treasurer, reports: “We had one black lab that loved the diving board and tried encouraging her new friends to join her. The weather was fabulous, and the owners were having as much fun as their canine children.” A couple of puppies came so their owners could teach them to swim. Sally was the only adoptable dog in attendance from the shelter. “Hopefully, next year we’ll be able to bring more of our shelter dogs,” Larson said.

Splashing and having a ball in the pool was a family and their pets who had just evacuated from Hurricane Irma and were staying at the park and wanted to take part in the fun. Larson said of the family and their pets, “Their fun was much deserved, considering the stress of having to leave their home.” Organizers are grateful to those who participated at this first of what is expected to become an annual end-of-summer fundraiser for Animal Harbor. “We are very pleased with the turnout and very excited to build on the success for next year,” Larson said. “A huge thank you to Rangers Sean Vinson and Stacie Rains for their support and for allowing us to have the event at Tims Ford State Park pool. This could not have happened without their support.” Animal Harbor staff also expressed appreciation for the help provided by Sheila Partin and Samantha Lusk who handled canine control and for the two lifeguards, Michael Cortazzo and Meghan Mulhern. “All in all it was a great day and we hope more dogs will join us next year!” Larson said.

Animal Harbor’s first “Pool Paw-ty” fundraiser was a definite hit for dogs and owners alike last weekend at Tims Ford State Park. All skill levels had a blast, from those who preferred relaxing in the kiddie pool to the showoff who just couldn’t get in enough dives off the diving board. A little over $400 was raised to help Animal Harbor provide for homeless pets.

Photos by Linda Winn.

Posted 31 weeks ago

Bone Drop Winners Share a Big Win

When Animal Harbor Vice-President Cecelia Brodioi placed a call to Lucy Hill and told her that she and Rhonda Tawwater had won the $5,000 Bone Drop prize, they couldn’t believe it. The two friends who had shared the cost of a ticket were on a shopping trip to Huntsville, and were so excited that they turned right around and headed back to Winchester. All of us at Animal Harbor want to thank each and every one of you who bought a ticket. Taking a chance on the Bone Drop means that many more animals will have a chance at a good life in a loving home.
Below are Rhonda Tawwater, left, and Lucy Hill, right. With them are Susan Rupert, Animal Harbor President, second from left, and Cecelia Brodioi, Vice President, third from left. 

Posted 31 weeks ago