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Animal Harbor News

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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 102 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 107 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 116 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 116 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 131 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 133 weeks ago

2015 Bone Drop Winner Announced 

Story by Linda Stacy, published in the Herald Chronicle, Friday, August 7, 2015


Animal Harbor’s Bone Drop winners are Sue Brownfield, left, and Kathy Griffin, center, who are all smiles as they receive the grand prize of $5,000 (split between them) from Pat Dover, Animal Harbor President. Bones were dropped from a bucket truck onto a target with the closest to the center winning the jackpot. Proceeds from this fundraiser, held on Aug. 1, went toward Animal Harbor’s building fund.

Last weekend was an exciting time for those who participated in a fundraiser to help the local animal shelter. Animal Harbor’s third annual Bone Drop had two winners this year — Sue Brownfield of Winchester and Kathy Grifth of Chattanooga. These women went in together on the cost of the $100 bone entry and split the $5,000 prize they won after their “bone’ landed closest to the bullseye after being dropped from a bucket truck. The bones were about one ounce each and were in plastic packets.

“It was kind of windy, so many of the bones blew off target, but some of them did land on the target, and we had a clear winner,” said Patricia Dover, president of the non-proit organization. Griffith and Brownfield are animal lovers, and they work at Southern Tennessee Regional Health System Winchester in the Materials Management Department. Brownfield has two dogs adopted from Animal Harbor.  Grifffith said when her friend asked her to join in on the bone purchase, “she didn’t have to twist my arm.” She has a soft spot for pets herself and is owned by three adorable cats. “Any time we can help the animals, it’s a good thing,” Griffith said.

The Bone Drop raised $10,000 to go toward construction costs for Animal Harbor’s new shelter facility at 56 Nor-Nan Road, off of Highway 127. This amount brings the total raised for building the shelter to $560,000 — just $40,000 short of the goal of $600,000. “Animal Harbor is grateful to all the businesses and individuals who purchased a bone,” Dover said. “We also thank our Bone Drop sponsor, Joseph’s Remodeling Solutions and we are very grateful to Duck River Electric Membership Corporation for providing the bucket truck and operator to drop the bones.” DREMC also partnered with CoBank’s “Sharing Success” program in 2013 to donate $4,000 to the building fund.

“Because of the amazing support of this community, Animal Harbor has an attractive and effcient facility in which to house homeless animals and prepare them for adoption,” Dover said. So far this year, Animal Harbor has made more than 160 pets happy by placing them in “forever homes” with their new owners. The organization has also spayed or neutered more than 150 feral cats and has worked with many young people in the community to teach them about animal care and welfare.

Posted 135 weeks ago

Sam Hamilton Awarded Volunteer of the Year for 2014

WINCHESTER, Tenn. – At its Open House on March 28, Animal Harbor presented the Volunteer of the Year award for 2014 to Sam Hamilton of Estill Springs.


Sam Hamilton is presented with the Volunteer of the Year award for 2014 from Patricia Dover, President of Animal Harbor.

Sam grew up in East Tennessee. He served in the Marine Corp and then worked for Roadway Express for almost 40 years. He has lived in a variety of places, including Ohio, and then in Smyrna for almost 30 years. He retired and moved to Estill Springs 7 years ago, where he lives with his wife, Billie. He and Billie have been married for 55 years, and have two sons who live in Murfreesboro and Smyrna.

Sam had two dogs for a long time– Jessie and Fletcher. He lost both of them to old age about two years ago, and just last week, he adopted a little black lab mix from Animal Harbor who he has named Mia.

Last September, Sam found a stray dog named Lacy and kept her for about a month until Animal Harbor could take her. His wife cannot handle a large dog when he is not home, so they couldn’t keep her. When he brought Lacy to Animal Harbor, he was impressed with the way things were run, and enjoys being around dogs, so he started volunteering.

Amber Kelley, shelter manager, says “Sam has been saving us over and over and over. He comes out almost every day (often twice a day) to walk dogs and do whatever odd jobs we need. He takes pets to the vet when needed, and has been transporting cats all over the place in his truck, helping with our feral cat spay/neuter program. He donates things he notices that we need, and he took both of our mowers to be serviced and prepared for spring. Most recently he obtained two tons of gravel and filled the potholes in our driveway. He’s awesome!”

Sam is not a stranger to volunteer work. He also works for the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort, which responds to any major disaster in the continental United States by sending truckloads of emergency food, water, cleaning, and other supplies to disaster victims. He takes supplies all over the country to where it is needed.

Sam says that he is just glad he is able to help. He says, “It’s just like recycling– everyone wants to live in a cleaner environment, but few people get involved with the work to accomplish this. People want animals to be taken care of and have a home, but only a few spend the time to help. I enjoy doing this work; if I had the time, I would just stay here until they told made me go home.”

Animal Harbor is grateful to Sam for all of his work, and proud to recognize him with this award.

Posted 154 weeks ago