Feature Stories

These stories have been featured in our monthly newsletter, The Pet Gazette. Subscribe now to get the Pet Gazette delivered to your email inbox! 

November 2018

Marshall is a gentle, five-year-old Boxer / American Staffordshire mix with a sweet personality, soft brown eyes, and a snazzy brindle coat. Evidently he is quite the ladies man, as everyone at the shelter says he loves the women he meets! His favorite toy is a green tennis ball and he likes to play with other dogs his size. Marshall was brought to the shelter by people whose landlord would no longer allow them to have pets. He was first taken to Animal Control but time was running out. In other words, he was a death row dog.
Before you get upset, remember that our friends at Franklin County Animal Control do the work that no one else wants to do. They take in all of the strays and abandoned animals that are the result of irresponsible owners who do not have their pets spayed or neutered. They pick up animals who are sick or injured. And, they take in dogs like Marshall who have run into a spot of bad luck. They work hard to find homes for all of them, and we work with them to try and take great adoptable pets like Marshall and give them a second chance.
Marshall's journey to the Harbor hasn't always been smooth. Perhaps that is why he can be a bit nervous in noisy situations, but we think he would thrive in a home with adults or with older children. Marshall is neutered, microchipped, and up to date on shots. We thank Animal Control for bringing him to us to find his forever home.

Just like Marshall, Elinore and her daughter were brought to us as the result of a landlord who not only banned them, but threatened to do away with them himself in an unpleasant manner. Poor Elinore must have felt like a displaced person during her first days at the shelter, and even more so after her daughter was adopted without her. Now she has blossomed and become the "top cat" on the cat tree where she loves to snooze inside in the sun.
She is a lovely four-year-old tabby with with a special feature. Take a look at her picture: she has one eye with a star shaped splash! What better name could she have? Elinore means "shining one." Her starry eye makes her a very special kitty indeed. She is about four years old, friendly and outgoing, but also likes to lounge and spend time near you. She could be the "star" of your Thanksgiving celebrations and the real life "Star" under your Christmas tree this year!
Elinore is spayed, microchipped and current on vaccinations. Elinore is waiting for a secure and loving home with someone who appreciates a calm and loving kitty.

March 2018

Janie may look a bit disheveled, but she was brought to Animal Harbor just a couple of days ago. After a proper grooming, her glamorous, fluffy long-haired gray and white coat will be as fashionable as they come. At just about two and a half months old, she will soon be spayed and ready to go to her forever home. Come to the Harbor and see her transformation!

Ann is a ladylike Shetland Sheepdog mix who is about six years old. She came to Animal Harbor as a stray, bedraggled, skinny, and heartworm positive. With loving care, her treatment was successful. Now, one of her adopters has become ill and cannot care for her. She would love to have a stable home, keep you company, and shower you with love. Ann is heartworm negative, spayed, microchipped, and up to date on shots.

February 2018

Updates on Two Very Special Pets

Thomas, a one year old male Mountain Cur / Shepherd mix, has a jaunty look about him with his rich brindle coat and his "Let's play" personality. In spite of being hit by a car, suffering a shattered pelvic bone and needing weeks of twice-daily therapy during which he was not allowed to stand, he has burst on the scene with an abundance of energy and a drive to walk and even run a bit!

The other day in the lobby he could not decide which he wanted more - a green tennis ball (he is mad about "fetch") or a mini-romp with Charlene, the office cat. Charlene had her own opinion, but Thomas did not seem to mind one bit and talked up a storm. He kept returning to Harbor Helper Gloria Stuart for support. It made me think of the Bill Withers song, Lean On Me: "Lean on me, when you're not strong, and I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on." Perhaps you are the right person for Thomas to lean on now.

Turnip is an eight year old Tabby who came to Animal Harbor over nine months ago on April 18, 2017. She usually stayed to herself and would avoid human contact. A volunteer dubbed her "Grumpy," but some of us knew that there was more to the story. Turnip had been declawed, so we took her to the vet to see if, as happens in some cases, her claws had started to grow back in. They had not, but she had developed an equally painful arthritic-type condition from where the cut had been made in the bone, and from the way declawing makes a cat walk in an unnatural way. Every step was misery.

Turnip is now receiving a medication that lessens her pain and also her fearfulness. (Mood change is another possible effect of declawing - cats know that they can't really defend themselves, and are wary of humans and other animals.) Now Turnip is beginning to approach people to both accept and show affection. As one of our senior kitties at the Harbor, Turnip would love to be adopted into a home where, continuing her meds, she could relax free of pain and anxiety. She deserves a wonderful future. Please NEVER declaw your cat. It is not just the claws that are removed, but the third toe bone. For more information, go to http://forallanimals.org/cat-declawing-faqs/

January 2018

Special Pets​ with Special Stories

This month we are featuring two shelter pets who have been through difficult circumstances and come out on the other side with their trust and ability to love unaffected. Read their inspiring stories, and perhaps one of them will be the perfect companion for you.
Thomas is a one year old Mountain Cur / Shepherd mix that came to us on 21 November 2017​ u​nable to stand on his back legs. ​ ​​F​ound on the side of the road​,​​ he was brought to us by a couple of Harbor Heroes, ​who assumed he ​had been ​hit by a car.​ ​ ​He​ was in an immense amount of pain and​ ​was urinating​ blood. Diagnosis: ​Thomas had a shattered ​right ​pelvic bone​ and ringworm. ​ ​F​luids, pain medication, further x-rays and ​an ​ultrasound​ helped stabilize his condition. Back at the Harbor, his treatment plan over the next six weeks included extremely limited mobility and physical therapy twice daily in our isolation kennels. On 21 December 2017, a staff member checked on Thomas, and he was standing on his own! We have started slowly, and will gradually increase the distance that Thomas can walk each day. He may never be able to run, and most likely will walk with a limp, but his spirit remains undaunted. Thomas has a kind and loving disposition, greets us with his tail wagging and, loves to "talk" to everyone. He would be the perfect companion for someone who wants to "stop and smell the roses."

Leela, a five and a half month old black and white kitty with dazzling hints of silver in her coat arrived at Animal Harbor with her brother Pumpkin ​on 22 November 2017. ​ ​​Like Thomas, t​he​se kitties were ​fo​und ​by​ the side of the road​, and a family of Harbor Heroes​ rescued them. They​ were suffering ​with conjunctivitis and upper respiratory infection​s​.​ ​ ​Little ​Leela was in need of further medical attention as her left eye appeared ​to have ​ruptured​,​ possibly ​because of​ abuse before ​she​ w​as​ ​aban​doned. As much as ​we wished her eye could be saved, ​there was no hope. On 1 December 2017, Leela underwent the eye removal procedure known as enucleation​.​ ​ ​ Leela has never shied away from attention​, and after surgery, has been as loving and curious as always.​ She is the first one to greet you​, ​and ​gives kisses​ freely​. We were fortunate to have a foster care provider step in and allow Leela to be a part of ​her​ family during ​the​ recovery process. Leela's sight is set on a forever home with someone who will see her through the eyes of love and realize what a unique and wonderful friend she will be.​

December 2017

Diogee and Turnip are ready to fill your stocking and your heart with joy!

Here are two longer term residents at Animal Harbor that are hoping for a home. Like the cats and dogs in "The Perfect Christmas Pet," each one has been overlooked or rejected, and their continued stay at the Harbor only creates more stress for them. It must be said up front that each one has some challenging behaviors, but also that each is worth the time to cultivate. The rewards will be many. If you could find it in your heart to adopt either one, each would be so much happier, and you would have saved a special pet.

Diogee is a white, spotted American Bulldog who longs for affection. The staff call him a real Cassanova because he woos you with his eyes and affectionate ways. He loves tummy rubs, puts his head on your shoulder, and would gladly be a fellow couch potato on chilly winter evenings.  Diogee's one weakness is that he has a very strong prey drive and must be adopted by someone who does not have cats or other small dogs, can keep him in the house or fenced-in yard, and can give him lots of love and attention. He has an uncontrollable desire to chase and catch small animals, but in the perfect setting, he could be the best dog anyone could ever hope to find.

Diogee has been with us since February, and is close to five years of age. One more thing - if you like to hit the open road, Diogee is your man - he LOVES car rides! If you would like to meet him, drop past the shelter, and also ask about our Foster-to-Adopt program.

Turnip, a lovely, quiet tabby, has had some rough spots in her eight years. She has been with us since June and is not truly happy at the shelter. She can be a bit like Tallulah Bankhead with an "I vant to be alone" attitude, but consider this: she has been declawed, which is a traumatic experience for many cats, who feel defenseless and can continue to experience chronic pain. Coupled with the fact that she was given up by her family with whom she had lived for several years, it is no wonder that she might have become disenchanted with life. Turnip LOVES treats and canned food, and will respond to them, but doesn't want to be overly petted or held. She mostly ignores the other cats, sitting alone. She could blossom with someone who had the gift of calm and patience, and who would be content to let her set the tempo of the relationship and let her develop a new sense of confidence and safety. If you could give Turnip a new lease on life, come see her at the Harbor.

November 2017

Rusty Learns to Trust

Rusty is a three-year old Boxer rescue who has been through some very rough times. When he came to us he was skin and bones, missing part of one ear, had scars and tooth marks along the side of his face, and was heartworm positive, all of which indicated that he had been denied proper veterinary care for a long time. Told by others that he was aggressive, the only thing our staff saw was a shy and scared dog who tried to shrink into the corner of his kennel. Our manager sat quietly with him until one day, he crawled into her lap and seemed to say, "I trust you to help me."

Just about a week and a half later, Rusty was spotted by a couple looking for a Boxer. Even amid all of the cute puppies and more elegantly turned out dogs, their hearts went straight to Rusty. It was one of those moments for which shelter workers live and breathe! It is because of you that Rusty now has a home where his people love and cherish him, treat him with the dignity that every living creature deserves, and protect him from further neglect.

Amelia Gets a Chance to Soar

Little Amelia was named after Amelia Earhart—a truly brave and independent woman. Amelia was abandoned and came to us in a debilitated, malnourished condition with fleas, ringworm, the usual intestinal worms, and with one damaged eye. After an exam, our veterinarian concluded that the injury had been a deliberate act of abuse. Though causing her to lose sight in that eye, it has now completely healed.

At five weeks old Amelia was not flying very high, but Ms. Earhart's namesake has proved to be every bit as spunky as the original. The loss of sight in one eye has not hindered her in the least, and she can pounce on a toy or string with deadly precision. In spite of all her troubles, Amelia loves a good conversation, wants to be with people, begs for attention, scratches, and love, and will soon be ready for adoption. With her spicy Calico coat and lively spirit, we can imagine Amelia circling the globe as an ambassador of charm and mystery. Your support has given Amelia a "paw up" in her journey. We are sure that she can soar!

You can give a second chance to pets like Rusty and Amelia

February 2017

A Pig's Tail Tale

Hickory did not want to go into the trailer. We used apples. Rini Tyler, our Assistant Manager tried to sweet talk him. "Come on, Handsome Boy, you can do it." Sam Hamilton encouraged from behind. Hickory was NOT amused. Even though the trailer (loaned to us by Doug Swann and Josh Cole at the Franklin Farmer's Co-op) was decked out with fresh straw, a bowl of tasty pig chow, and another of water, he did not see the ramp as the entry to piggy paradise. In fact, as the minutes ticked by, he did everything to either stall, or bash down our makeshift barriers. What to do?

Hickory had been found by the good folks at Animal Control, wandering on his own. They brought him to Animal Harbor and he took up digs with the Harbor dogs in a kennel of his own. But no one wanted an un-neutered Vietnamese Pot-Bellied Pig with sizable tusks. In my quest to find a nearby pig rescue, I learned about the astounding number of miniature pigs abandoned each year. All the sanctuaries were full. Poor Hickory had gone to the dogs!

With some sleuthing by Cecelia Brodioi, we found a clinic in Fayetteville which specialized in - wait for it - neutering miniature pigs! Hence the standoff at the trailer. Sam scoured the fridge for something tempting. Hickory's weakness turned out to be POUND CAKE. He couldn't resist the sweet morsels, and just like Hansel and Gretel, followed the crumbs. Then he stopped. He was in, but his beautiful feathery tail was just peeping out of the door that I had been assigned to slam shut. No one breathed. One more morsel from Rini and he was in!
Hickory is now at a foster home, neutered and tusk-less, relaxing with another of the Animal Harbor staff, Fryea Loder. He has been re-named Alfred, and we think he prefers that moniker far better than Hickory (which may have reminded him of barbecue). Alfred the Great is ready for a new home in the country. Call Animal Harbor at 962-4472 for adoption particulars. To help all the Animal Harbor animals, earmark your checks for the Alfred the Great Fund in honor of a fine pig!
November 2016

Adelaide's Story

It wasn't Adelaide's fault. Her owner didn't spay her, so she got pregnant. But the owner didn't want the pups, and didn't want her anymore. In fact, he told his family he would shoot her if they didn't get rid of her and the puppies!  Luckily, other family members reached out for help, and Animal Harbor had a place for Adelaide and her pups.
Adelaide's pups were healthy and were soon adopted, but Adelaide herself had some problems. She lunged at the kennel barrier and snapped and snarled at visitors. She looked very ferocious and people wondered why we had such a mean dog!  Was Adelaide unadoptable? Fortunately, the Animal Harbor staff understood Adelaide's "kennel aggression" behavior. Adelaide wasn't able to investigate the people and dogs that constantly went by her kennel. For her, the sight of other dogs and people became associated with frustration and agitation.

As soon as Adelaide was let OUT of the kennel, her behavior changed. She was very loving! She became a favorite dog among the staff and volunteers. After 11 months at Animal Harbor, Adelaide was finally adopted by a family who loves her.

You can give dogs like Adelaide a chance to show their true nature and get a home of their own. 

Kittens in a Box

One day last June, two of our volunteers saw a box on the side of the road in Estill Springs and decided to investigate. They found the box full of five kittens!

A box of kittens, dumped like trash on the side of the road! They certainly didn't deserve this!

The volunteers brought the kittens to Animal Harbor. The staff named them Bobby, Sam, Castiel, Crowley, and Dean. Although they were three months old, these kittens had not been socialized at all. They were scared of people and didn't like to be handled. The staff took turns taking the kittens home at night to give them attention and physical contact. This approach was effective, and the  kittens became outgoing and affectionate. Soon all of them were adopted into loving families of their own.


                                       Castiel                                                                                           Dean


June 2016

Sadness To Joy

Last February, Animal Harbor was called on to help with a sad situation involving seven dogs belonging to an older woman with dementia who was living in extreme poverty. The woman had been taken to a care facility and something needed to be done with the dogs. A couple of the woman's neighbors started feeding them and called for help. An Animal Harbor volunteer contacted a volunteer with MARC—Marion Animal Resource Connection—and together they went and assessed the situation. The conditions at the home were quite deplorable, but the woman had loved these dogs dearly; they were all she had. The dogs appeared to be well-fed but some had very severe cases of mange. Some of the dogs were friendly, but others were very skittish. None of the dogs had been given any vaccinations or any kind of health care.

One of the seven dogs was adopted by a neighbor; MARC took two of the dogs; and Animal Harbor agreed to take four of them. Bae was a cute older puppy who was adopted soon after her quarantine period. Sandy, the dog in the poorest health, was being nursed back to health at a vet clinic when she unexpectedly died one night from an unknown cause.

Kelly had a sweet personality but she had a serious skin condition, and it took 10 weeks to treat her with several medications and let her hair grow back. Her nails had also grown out so far that it took a while to clip them back gradually so that the quick could recede. She also needed some extensive dental work. Her adopter, Keith Driscoll, fell in love and came to walk her every day while he awaited her going home date. "Kelly is a wonderful dog," Keith says. "Kelly still has some health problems, but my wife and I love her and are very happy."

       Kelly in the original home


     Kelly in her new home


 Melvin was a healthy beagle who was afraid of everyone. He spent 12 weeks at the shelter, during which time AH Staff worked with him to bring him out of his shell. We socialized Melvin by spending time sitting quietly in his kennel with him until he trusted us enough to let us hand feed him. Then we fed him his supper every night by hand and slowly he started becoming more affectionate with the shelter staff and volunteers. His personality blossomed and he became joyful and excited about life, like a Beagle should be! Melvin was adopted by Rachel Hilliard, who says, "We came to the shelter to look at another dog, and Melvin kept looking at us, and drew us to him. He was very loving toward us, and wanted to be in our presence. We felt connected. At home, he is doing great. He fit right in with our other dogs, and our little girl. We couldn't have gotten a better dog."

Thanks to your support, we are able to provide help to pets in need, like Bae, Kelly, and Melvin. Every day – together – we are making a difference in their lives.

Help us improve the lives of pets all over Franklin County.  Send a check to PO Box 187, Winchester TN 37398 or donate online here. The animals need you!

Thank you for your generosity and compassion. Bae, Kelly, and Melvin are very fortunate to have friends like you who believe that all animals deserve to be healthy and loved.

May 2014

Sick Kitty Gets Help

Sometimes a stray cat knows exactly where he needs to go, and shows up on the porch of an Animal Harbor employee.  When this rangy stray did just that, he had a really bad respiratory infection, and an injured eye.  "He was filthy, covered in fleas, his eyes were matted, and the poor guy could hardly breathe. We barely wanted to touch him, but we knew he needed help!" says kennel manager, Ronnie Kelley.  "We started calling him 'Sick Boy' because he was so pitiful."  After a course of antibiotics, we had room at the Harbor for him. Then we found out that he had FIV (a feline disease that affects cats the way HIV does humans), as well as Feline Leukemia, which is contagious and deadly to other cats.  A double whammy!  Now what do we do with this loving kitty we've bonded with, who doesn't have long to live?
Another AH staff member, Rini Tyler, decided to give him a chance at her home. She doesn't have any cats there who could catch these feline diseases, and her dogs would be safe. From the moment he stepped into his new "fur"ever home, he went to work training his new family: they should always be petting him, he should get full access to anything and everything, and anything is a toy if you try hard enough. Renamed “Sik Boi,” he now spends his time sunbathing in his window, putting the dogs in their place, or cuddling up to sleep with his humans. Rini says, "Having him has changed my life more than I ever expected. His affectionate, playful attitude never fails to cheer me up. He has breathed a whole new life into my entire household."

Your gift today will enable us to save more pets like Sik Boi and find loving homes for them.  Thank you so much for your continued generosity and support.

Donate now!

 May 2014

Orphan Puppies

Someone called us after finding a sad scene: a dead mother dog and her litter of 6 very hungry infant puppies.  The puppies were not old enough to try foraging, so they were malnourished and dehydrated; one was extremely weak, and another had an injury requiring quick surgery.  We really didn't know if we could save them all, so we split the puppies up into two groups, then two staff members could take them home and give them the TLC they needed. 

After a couple of days, we lost the runt who was so weak to begin with, but the rest were thriving.  Even the one who needed surgery made a great turnaround.  After a couple of weeks of care and weaning from puppy formula, they were ready to come to the Harbor and start looking for homes.  Two of them (Chunk and Gabriel) found homes locally, and the other three caught a ride on the Rescue Waggin'.

This is Chunk, one of the puppies.

March 2014

Fraidy Kittens

One of our recent adopters, Robley Hood, writes about her experience adopting two kittens from Animal Harbor.

After my elderly cat was euthanized in mid-October, I decided to wait until after the holidays to go feline-hunting. I knew that kittens would take more time than I could give them while traveling. I kept checking the Animal Harbor website, looking for the right pair of sisters, the younger the better. A mysterious post appeared about a litter of five blue kittens, but there was no picture. When I asked my friend Sue Ridyard, a Board member, what that might mean, she said, “Email Amber.” And so I did.
Amber suggested I check with her again in about a week or so to see if the kittens’ respiratory infections had abated, and when I did, she said, “Why not come and see them this weekend?” Off I went that Saturday.
Separated into two large cages, the kittens seemed healthy, if a bit sleepy. It was mid-afternoon, after all. When I looked at two kittens caged together, one rushed to the opening door, nuzzled me, rubbed herself in my hair, and purred. I was a goner.

When I reappeared a week later to adopt, I took her and the only solid gray (seemingly the runt of the litter) home. I began blogging about them that day with this post, “Fraidy Kittens: Cleo and Clue, Day 1.” They were bashful to the point of disappearing any time I approached.

I determined to let them warm up to me without my forcing anything. (This comes from a lifetime of living with cats.) So I moved downstairs and we all inhabited the living room for a week. They slept under “the fraidy couch” and I on it. In this way, they become accustomed to my smells. Finally, yesterday, after I managed to cuddle each several times over the previous day and a half, we made the move upstairs. All the doors are now open, and while I slept alone in my bed last night, they spent most of the day asleep in it today. We have turned the corner, and they feel right at home now.

They even recognize their names, built on sounds of their shelter names. I give you Cleome and Doodlebug!

To read more about Robley and the kittens getting to know each other, you can read her blog, "My Daily Snap."

As Robley discovered, adopting from Animal Harbor has a number of advantages. All of our pets are spayed or neutered, microchipped, and vaccinated. In addition, each pet comes with a free vet visit at one of our local veterinary clinics.

Help us to take care of all of the kittens, cats, puppies, and dogs that are waiting for their “forever” home. Your donation will help us to provide a safe, healthy, and comfortable environment, so that the pets are the best they can be for their new owners!

Donate here

February 17-21, 2014

SAS Winterim Class Promotes Animal Welfare at County Schools

Every year the students at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School get the opportunity to choose a Winterim project and learn more about a subject by working in a group and completing a variety of educational activities.   This year, 13 students chose a class coordinated by faculty member Katherine Anderson, to work with Animal Harbor. These students were Vanessa Luo, Lilly Zhen, Deserea Horton, Anna Stapleton, Keeley Ellison, Kendale James, Lauren Arnold, Emily Turner, Sam Thomas, Elizabeth LoMonoco,  Blaise Zeitler.

Throughout the week, these students could be seen out at Franklin County’s elementary schools presenting an educational skit emphasizing the importance of being Kind, Helpful, Responsible, Diligent, Respectful, Honest, and Neat, with respect to animals. The elementary school children’s faces lit up when they saw the Animal Harbor “dog” and “cat” had shown up to visit them.

The SAS students acted out a skit about a young girl adopting a dog and/or cat but then not taking care of it, so her mother made her return the dog/cat to the shelter. Luckily, another family who could properly care for it later adopted the dog/cat. This taught the students to be responsible, and if they do have a pet, then to make sure they feed it on a regular schedule and take it on walks and clean up after it.

Click here to watch a video of the skit at Clark Memorial School!

“It's Cool to be Kind" (words written by Susan Rupert) was the song the students sang to the elementary students after they performed the skit. The SAS students would sing the song through to teach it to the students and then asked the students to stand and join in singing the song all together.

During their visits, the SAS students gave animal-themed books that emphasized different aspects of character development to the schools’ libraries.  All the books presented were donated on behalf of the Templeton Foundation.

Sewanee Elementary

At the end of the week, the SAS students went to Tracy City to meet the staff of and see the office and operations of Animal Alliance South Cumberland. The mission of Animal Alliance-South Cumberland is to reduce the number of unwanted and abandoned dogs and cats in Grundy County, and areas of Marion and Franklin County, Tennessee located on the Cumberland Plateau by providing affordable and accessible spays and neuters.

Commenting on what they’d gained from their experience, SAS students said they had a great time learning about what Animal Harbor and Animal Alliance do to support animal welfare. Other  activities the students took part in as part of their project included working at the Animal Harbor shelter, going to local businesses and asking for supplies for the shelter and touring the new Midtown Veterinary Services and Hospital facilities for a behind the scenes look.

Gail Castle, The Development Officer with Animal Harbor, thanks Katherine Anderson, Animal Harbor Directors Susan Rupert and Cecelia Brodioi, and all of the 13 students for being so helpful in assisting with the organization’s cause and spreading the message of animal welfare across Franklin County and the South Cumberland Plateau.

Front row: Vanessa Luo, Lilly Zhen, Deserea Horton, Anna Stapleton, Keeley Ellison, Kendale James. Second row:  Lauren Arnold, Emily Turner. Third row (behind cat):  Sam Thomas. Back row:  Elizabeth LoMonoco,  Blaise Zeitler.


Rock Creek School. Back row: Susan Rupert,  Elizabeth Lomonaco, Deserea Horton (cat), Blaise Zeitler, Katherine Anderson, Gail Castle. Front row: Morgan Partin ,  Eric Jones.

Clark Memorial School

Cowan Elementary School

Decherd Elementary School

North Lake Elementary School

Winchester Christian Academy

Winchester Head Start


Broadview Elementary School

Cowan Elementary School

Cowan Elementary School

Huntland School

Rock Creek Elementary School

Winchester Christian Academy

January 13, 2014

Jewel's Christmas Adoption

Jewel started out as a Wal-Mart parking lot "free puppy" adopted by a family for their son, who did not take care of her. In 2010, one of our volunteers (who wants to remain anonymous-- we'll call her Megan), had recently moved to a new home, and found a small puppy running in front of her truck. Megan stopped and picked it up, and walked the neighborhood trying to find the owner. She found the owner, who said, "Oh, my dog must have had puppies again."  Megan says, "I don't know how many litters she had had with no help and only scraps to eat. None of this current litter made past 6 months before they starved or were shot."

When Jewel had her next litter, Megan, along with her neighbor, rounded up the puppies at about 6 weeks and kept them in her barn, and socialized them. These puppies went on the Rescue Waggin'. Then she got permission from the owner, and took Jewel to the vet and had her spayed. Shortly after that, the owner moved out of state and left Jewel behind. The neighbors fed her, and she mostly stayed with one family who had dogs and kids. When that family lost their home to foreclosure, Jewel pitifully stayed on their porch and would not leave. Megan took her home and fostered her until there was room at Animal Harbor.

Amber, our Shelter Manager, tells the rest of the story: "My sister and her husband had been considering getting a dog for their family, but their two daughters can be a little picky about the dogs they like. They had given me a kind of "profile" for the dog they wanted (no jumping, no licking, house trained, but happy to be outside) and I wasn't sure I could find the right one before Christmas. Then Jewel came in to the Harbor from foster care to have a temperament test before being submitted for transport on the Rescue Waggin. About halfway through her test, I realized that she may be the perfect dog for them! 

My nieces know that Auntie Amber works with dogs and cats, so it wasn't too strange for me to go visit them and take a dog along for the ride. They met Jewel, but didn't know that she might be theirs one day.  My sister, wisely, wanted to see how they would react, and how the dog was with them also. Everyone did very well. Since her foster mom had also been her rescuer and taken care of her for quite awhile, she wasn't in a hurry to give her up, so she didn't mind holding Jewel until Christmas, and even delivering her out to their house. Since Christmas, Jewel has settled in and has become part of the family."

It's caring people like Megan-- and like you!-- who will stop the cycle of needless suffering. Help us to continue to spay and neuter all of our pets before adoption, and to provide a safe place leading to good homes for unwanted and neglected pets. Click here to see how you can help!

December 1, 2013

Giving Hope

The big black dog had shown up at a restaurant, lured by the smells of food. He was just skin and bones, and had tufts of winter coat that should have been combed out  earlier in the year. We named him Country, after the "country buffet" restaurant where he was found. When he got to Animal Harbor, he was frantic and confused about being locked up. The only time he was happy was when he was outside with his favorite volunteer, Cameron.

After only a couple of weeks, the Oliver family saw him on our website. They had recently been devastated by the death of their own German Shepherd, and were looking to fill  that void. Country is now well-loved, and enjoys playing with his human and canine family members.

Ira came to us in the summer of 2012 with a serious injury to one of his eyes. The vets said he would never recover sight in that eye, so they surgically removed the eye and sealed the lid shut so he couldn't have any pain or problems there. This made him less attractive to most adopters and he was overlooked for a long time. Ira was with us so long that he became the office mascot! He loved to lie on the shelter manager's desk and demand her attention while she was trying to work. 

He was adopted once, and we thought he had it made, but their cat didn't want a brother, so it didn't work out there. Back to the Harbor he came until he caught the eye of his new family. They were attracted to him immediately, and when he reached his paw out to them in greeting, they fell in love.

Because of Animal Harbor, both Country and Ira had hope. Hope propels us forward as we work to create a safer, more humane community for all of us, furry and human alike. We have rescued and found new homes for over 4,500 dogs and cats since Animal Harbor opened in 2003. We couldn’t do it without you.

Please help us kick off the season of giving with a gift to help more pets in need. Together, we can shine hope in dark places and make life better for all of us. You can donate in honor or memory of a beloved companion animal or a person.

October 1, 2013

Man's Best Friend

The main mission of Animal Harbor is to care for homeless pets and find new homes for them. But a new home is not just a place-- it is a family! We know that a dog or a cat needs people to take care of their needs and show them love, but sometimes we forget that a pet can also fill human needs. Many studies have been conducted to research the physical, emotional, and social benefits of pet companionship. It's been shown that pets can reduce stress, and improve physical health in a variety of ways. Pets can often help ease the sense of loneliness or isolation many people feel.

One day in June, a man brought a Golden Retriever to us that had been hit by a car and badly injured. We told him that he needed to take the dog to a vet, because we did not have the ability to give him the proper treatment. However, the man abandoned the dog with us anyway. Our staff drove him to a veterinary hospital for an x-ray and medicine to treat the infection and pain.

Jimmy, as he was named, had serious wounds, but there were no broken bones.  One of his legs was swollen with abscesses, and Jimmy couldn't put any weight on it. There was a wound to his face that went all the way through to his mouth, and he had lost one tooth. But even though we knew he was in a lot of pain, he was loving and sweet the whole time. Jimmy recovered from his wounds, but he is left with a large scar on his face. This made him less attractive to some potential adopters.

In July, a lady came in to Animal Harbor with her adult son, Tony. Tony has special needs; unlike other young men his age, he cannot drive and is not independent, and he often gets lonely. He was looking for a new companion. Tony and his mom fell in love with Jimmy and took him home. A month later, Tony's mom reports, "Jimmy is my son's best friend! He is perfect for Tony. Jimmy is still a very young dog, and has a lot of puppy in him, and he is big! He has torn up a lot of stuff, but it's worth it because he has been so good for Tony."

We’re so happy at Animal Harbor that we had the perfect dog for Tony. Not only did Jimmy find a good home, but he is enriching the life of a person who needed him.

 September 2013

Montana's Story

I spent what seemed like forever hanging round what people call a "Drive-in" in a town called Estill Springs, hungry and so, so tired. A few people petted me, but no one seemed to want to take me home. And then one day someone picked me up, tucked me in her arms, and put me in a car. The next thing I knew, we arrived at a place called "Animal Harbor" and someone called Amber took me and put me in a cage. I didn't like the cage one bit; but this person seemed kind, and I was so hungry … 

The next day, they took me out of the cage and -- this bit was awful -- kept trying to stick a needle into me. It hurt, and I was feeling weak and sick, and the people were looking so worried. I heard the word "dehydrated"; apparently that was what was wrong with me, and it was very dangerous. Something else must have been wrong with me too; the people kept checking on me and going away with worried expressions. One of them even came back in the middle of the night to make sure I hadn't become even sicker. They gave me lots to drink, and the best kind of wet food, and gradually they brought me back -- back to being a healthy and happy cat.

They called me Montana after the "Drive-In" where I'd been found, they petted me, and eventually they let me out of the cage. I had the best time being with them in the office; and they looked so pleased when I brought them the mice I caught.

I would have been happy there for ever, but I'm even happier now; just a few weeks ago some people came, petted me and looked at all the other cats; and then they decided that it was me they were going to take home. I know I'll never be hungry and "dehydrated" again. They don't seem to like it when I bring them mice, but I know I can figure out some way to make them happy too.

September 2013

Tilt, the Off-Kilter Puppy

Tilt was brought to Animal Harbor with her 3 litter mates at a very young age. Their mother had died and they had to be bottle fed. The people who were taking care of them were doing the best they could to help them survive, but the pups needed special formula designed to help puppies thrive and medicine to get onto the right track. It was clear that Tilt was a little different from the others. She constantly held her head in a tilted position, and when she was lying down she rolled over and over to one side, as if she were trying to get right side up and couldn't. 
The vet thought that there was a chance she had been dropped on her head causing neurological damage, but could not say whether Tilt's condition was permanent.  We brought Tilt back to the shelter and  gave her a week for evaluation. Every day she improved by small amounts, and eventually she started walking around without falling, and was able to drink formula out of a bowl. She had a way of making us all fall in love so we couldn't possibly give up on her, and we knew she had a strong will to survive.  At five weeks old, Tilt wasn't quite "normal" yet, but she was strong and we were confident that she would be OK from then on. 
Tilt became the luckiest pup in the world (or at least at Animal Harbor) when a large family started searching for a puppy for their youngest child's birthday. The parents wisely came to pick her out in advance. Then they brought the whole family out to Animal Harbor on Tagg's birthday to surprise him with his new pup. The children all played with her and got to know her that day, and the family was able to pick Tilt up after her spay surgery and microchip. 
Tagg's family is getting used to having a new puppy around (which is a lot of work for those who don't know!) and is enjoying her very much. Tilt is steady and smart, and very loving, and we are glad we were able to give her a good start in life!

 May, 2013

The Franklin County Humane Society Delivers Books That Promote Responsibility and Kindness

In May, members of The Franklin County Humane Society delivered boxes of books to all of the public school libraries as well as Good Shepherd, Winchester Christian Academy, the Mennonite School, and St. Andrews Sewanee.  The Franklin County Library also received some children’s books.  Each library received a variety of books with animal themes on different reading levels. The elementary schools received books including titles such as “Tails are not for Pulling,” “A Dog's Life: The Autobiography of a Stray,” and “Cat Found.” The middle schools were given titles for older readers, such as “Nubs: The true Story of a Mutt, a Marine, and a Miracle,” “War Horse,” and “Saving Audie.”  The books were purchased with a grant from the Templeton Foundation to help foster the qualities of responsibility and kindness.

All the librarians were very happy to receive the books.  Helen Stewart, school librarian at Broadview Elementary said, “These are wonderful. The kids will enjoy them so much and will be so excited.”  Kathryn Bruce from Sewanee said, “Thank you for the wide variety of books. How wonderful! The first graders study penguins each year. The Adventures of Riley provides a great visual of the food web – perfect for connecting the science curriculum with literature!” The librarians at all of the schools plan to create a special display to show off the new books, although this might have to wait until next fall, since they have to catalog them first.

We are very grateful to the Templeton Foundation for giving us this grant so we can go to the schools with books to encourage children to read and help promote character development.

Pictured with the librarians below is Gail Castle, Development Officer.

 Broadview Elementary, Helen Stewart, Librarian              Clark Memorial School, Bari Beth Lowndes, Librarian

 Cowan Elementary, Dell Rogers, Librarian                        Decherd Elementary, Amanda Jones, Librarian

 Good Shepherd School, Kelly Doyle, Principal and             Huntland School, Librarian Donna Hill and
  Felicia Martin, Librarian                                                       Nina Jacks, Library Aid

North Middle School, Stacy Brown, Librarian                       South Middle School, Jean Ann Andrews, Librarian

Rock Creek Elementary, Melanie Garner, Librarian             Sewanee Elementary, Kathryn Bruce, Librarian

  Northlake Elementary, Cecelia Brodioi, FCHS Board           Winchester Christian Academy, Caroline Simmons,
 Member, Teresa Wiseman, Librarian, Gail Castle, and        
Principal, Cheryl Heatherly, Librarian  
George Butler, Principal

 Franklin County Public Library, Robin Mays, Librarian

March 2013

St. Andrews-Sewanee Students Spend a Week at Animal Harbor

For one week in February, St. Andrew's-Sewanee School (SAS) holds special "Winterim" courses which allow faculty members and students an opportunity to explore their passions, or choose to do something worthwhile for someone else. For the second year in a row, Katherine Anderson, teacher at SAS, brought a group of students to volunteer at Animal Harbor for the week. They spent mornings distributing spay/neuter flyers in the community, and in the afternoon they helped by cleaning, doing some yard work, gave baths, assisted with giving shots, and played with the animals to help socialize them.

The students said that they like coming to Animal Harbor because of the quality of care they see given to the shelter animals. They can tell the animals are socialized and given the proper health care "with shots and baths and treatments and whatever they need."

Stephanie Waite and Edwin Ashcraft both say they really like coming and helping out with things such as cleaning and providing care for the animals because there is a lot of satisfaction in knowing they have done something to help the shelter animals. They don't mind the hard and sometimes dirty work.

Kelly Pierce (left) says she came to volunteer at Animal Harbor because she doesn't get to play with animals a lot and this is way for her to have the opportunity. Grace Pyle (center) and Anna Ellison (right) both came because they love to play with cats. Anna's family even adopted one of the cats this week!

Katherine Anderson says this will be an annual event as long as the shelter staff will allow them to come. We love having them!

March 2013

Third Grades Learn about Pet Responsibility

During the month of February, the third graders in Franklin County were treated by a visit from "Frankie the Cat" from Animal Harbor. Frankie, along with members of the Franklin County Humane Society, gave each child a copy of two different coloring and activity books. The first book, "How to Be a Helping Hand for Dogs & Cats," teaches children how their pets' needs are very similar to their own. These books were purchased through a grant from the Templeton Foundation, to help foster the qualities of responsibility and kindness. Billy Freeze and Josh Gardner, agents from the State Farm Insurance Company, provided the second book, “Fido!: Friend or Foe?”  This book uses coloring, dot-to-dot drawings, seek-and-find and other activities to teach children how to act safely around dogs.

Frankie spoke to all the children about animal responsibility, stressing that all animals need food, water, shelter, medical care and love.  She also talked to the children about animal safety and how important it was to keep your pet on a leash.  Frankie was very excited to tell the children that Franklin County will soon be getting a new shelter for homeless pets. She can hardly wait until June 22nd when the groundbreaking for the new shelter will take place, and hopes to see all the students there. This will be a free event with food, music, and prizes, including a drawing for a free hot air balloon ride!

Frankie, along with Board Members Cecelia Brodioi and Susan Rupert, visited all of the schools in Franklin County.

Decherd Elementary


 Broadview Elementary

Back row from left to right: Kross Davison, Kettyn Howell, Logan Boudreau, Kara McDaniel, Eli Baggett. Front row: Lexie Peacock.

Clark Memorial

Cowan Elementary

Good Shepherd School

Huntland School

Mennonite School

North Lake Elementary

Rock Creek Elementary

Sewanee Elementary

Winchester Christian Academy

February 2013

Celebrating Animal Harbor's 10th Anniversary

Ten years ago, in February 2003, Animal Harbor opened its doors as the first formally constituted animal shelter in Franklin County.

For many years prior to that, the Franklin County Humane Society had existed as a small group of dedicated people with a dream of someday opening a shelter. Led by beloved community members Grace Gallagher and Chuck Moye, they held fundraisers to save up money, and saved as many animals they could by taking them in themselves. Meanwhile, another group, the Sewanee Animal Rescue League, was formed in Sewanee in 2000. They had a makeshift shelter in a small stable, and rescued as many cats and dogs as their volunteers could handle.

In 2001, some new members joined the Franklin County Humane Society, including some of the people from the Sewanee group. They created bylaws and held elections. In 2002, the two groups merged, and led by then President Lynn James, the group purchased the property on David Crockett Highway and began transforming the dilapidated and filthy former hog auction barn into a working shelter for cats and dogs.

Here is what the building looked like when we first acquired it.

Several inches of hog waste had to be scraped and shoveled off of the barn floor. Wooden pens were removed, and chain link dog kennels were placed in the barn. The large floor scale, which had been used to weigh the hogs, was removed and turned into what is now the cat free room. One portion of the barn was enclosed to add a room to the office, which is now our multipurpose room for laundry, pet bathing, med storage, and veterinary exams and treatment.

During the first year, Animal Harbor had no paid staff. The shelter was managed by Lynn and her sister, Jan Doran, who were there all day, six days a week. They were assisted by other volunteers, and also utilized men on work-release from the County Jail (trustees) to clean kennels every day. As soon as it was financially feasible, a shelter manager was hired, and eventually more staff members were added. In 2005, we were able to phase out the use of the jail trustees and replace them with trained and reliable shelter staff. 

Animal Harbor today

Animal Harbor has come a long way since those early days. We have made improvements to the property, educated ourselves about sanitation, disease control, and other best shelter practices. With the help of generous donors, Animal Harbor has survived and flourished, and we are now ready to move on to the next stage. Our inadequate and increasingly hazardous building is holding us back from being as effective as we could be. We look forward to having a new facility and making a bigger difference in the lives of companion animals in our community.

We invite you to celebrate this ten-year milestone with us by joining our monthly giving club, the Life Preservers. Everyone who signs up for a monthly donation of only $10 a month (or more) will receive a complimentary coffee mug displaying our logo. Also, 10% of your gift will go toward our new shelter campaign.

Show your support and help us to make the next ten years even more successful in our work of “Saving Lives, Four Paws at a Time.”

February 2013

A Little Patience Goes a Long Way

It took almost a month to catch Smidgen. She was running around Sewanee, with an injured back leg. Lots of people wanted to help her, and the community e-mail was flooded with reports of sightings of "little black dog", as she was known, but she ran from anyone who tried to get close to her, moving faster with three legs than any human being could move with two. One evening she even crept into a fraternity house and curled up on a sofa -- until the guys went to pet her, when she fled.

For about three weeks one of our volunteers, Sue, tried and failed to get her in a humane trap, carrying the trap to different places where she'd been seen. She caught a little white dog by accident (Wallie); but "little black dog" continued to elude capture. Eventually, a man working on a house renovation found the magic solution: fried chicken! He shared his lunch with her for several days, finally lured her into the house -- and at last Sue was able to get her and take her to the vet. Her leg was untreatable -- an old injury that is certainly not slowing her down. This was the beginning of her rehabilitation.

Amber continues the story: "When I went to pick Smidgen up from the vet's office after her initial vetting, Smidgen was terrified.  She was in the back corner of her cage, and stayed as far back as possible in her crate.  At Animal Harbor, I put her into a cage and left her alone for a bit so she could get used to the smells and sounds, and then took her for a walk.  On leash, she still stayed as far away as possible from me and it was easy to see that she was looking for a way to escape from me.  We came inside and I tethered her leash to my desk so she had no choice but to be near me.  I put a bed on the floor with a chew toy, food, and water and I left her alone.  She settled into the bed and by the end of the day, she would come to me (for bacon treats!) and even sat in my lap for awhile.  The next day, when she knew I wasn't going to hurt her, she was happy to see me and wanted to spend the whole day in my lap.  I was surprised and very pleased that she came around so fast."

We kept her tethered to the desk during the day so that she didn't bolt when visitors came.  She is so tiny, that if she went out the front door, she could have slipped through the fence.  She spent a couple of nights at Amber's house while recovering from her spay surgery, and met new people.  She grumbled at first, but then she allowed them to pet her and pick her up.  She was very content to be passed from person to person and her feet rarely touched the ground. Back at the shelter, she still grumbled when she first met people, but didn't try to bite and eventually she would go to them for bacon treats.

 A nice young lady named Ginger saw Smidgen in the newspaper, and came to meet her.  Ginger had owned a nervous Chihuahua before and understood that she was just acting tough to try to keep anyone from hurting her.  (Who knows what her life was like before she came to us?)  Ginger adopted Smidgen and renamed her Lilly. Lily is happy and loved in her new home and enjoys playing with the neighbor's dogs.

Your gift to Animal Harbor can help us to save more dogs like Smidgen, and place them in loving homes.

December 2012

We Count on Miracles of Compassion

Those of you who visited Animal Harbor in the past couple of years may remember Tokkie, the three-legged cat.This pretty girl has been through a lot in her life.  She came to us when she was a kitten in 2007, with a rear leg deformity which required amputation. Tokkie was adopted, but then returned to us in 2010. Tokkie had some litter box issues that improved when we changed to a box with lower sides, but still made it difficult to place her. Finally, last spring, Ariana adopted Tokkie. She sent us a letter this month, saying, "I adopted Tokkie last May and took her home with me to New Orleans. She is now best friends with my other two kitties and loves sleeping on our sofa. She uses a litter box now with only a few mistakes! She is living with my parents while I finish school at Sewanee and they just adore her. Thanks for taking such good care of her!" 

        Tokkie at Animal Harbor.                                                              Tokkie in her new home.


Recently, we had another pet come into our care who was in desperate need of attention. One of our members set a humane trap for a little black stray dog in her neighborhood who had been evading all attempts to catch it. One evening she checked the trap and found that she had indeed trapped a little dog, but it was white! Wallie was a sweet poodle with a very dirty and matted coat. This little girl was lucky that she wandered into the trap because it was only a matter of time until her skin would have developed sores and become infected beneath the nasty matted clumps of hair which encased her legs like casts. She now has been groomed and is on her way to a new life in a new home. (And yes, the little black dog was also captured later on.)

    Wallie when she was rescued.         Wallie after being groomed.

What would these precious creatures have done if they had not met the compassionate humans who brought comfort and hope into their lives? Perhaps you, too have rescued a helpless, abandoned or abused animal. You know the importance of a 'chain' of caring people whose hearts are open.

We hope you will find it in your heart to help provide a warm and clean shelter— to join us in our effort to establish a new and fresh facility to replace the old hog barn that we've used for so many years. We need your help to provide a safe sanctuary for the dogs and cats recovering from their ordeals.  You will be rewarded with the deep and satisfying knowledge that you are helping to create a safe and comfortable shelter, a place where these little ones can be happy until they are adopted into their forever home.


September 2012

Animal Harbor Helps when Personal Tragedy Strikes


Many of us love our pets so fiercely that we say “I would never give them up.” We tend to disapprove of those who take their pets to a shelter because of reasons we don’t think are valid. But sometimes people are faced with situations beyond their control, such becoming ill or losing their home.

This happened to Irene Fulton. Irene was diagnosed with IPF—idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, for which there is no cure or treatment except for a double lung transplant. Irene began to be away from home quite a bit for tests and procedures, and her cat Roger started to become depressed, with symptoms of weight and hair loss. He also started to disconnect from her. It broke her heart. With the current situation and her uncertain future, she knew the kindest thing she could do was to find him a more stable home. She tried friends, the church bulletin, the classifieds, but had no luck placing her mature cat. Everyone wanted a kitten. Irene also called Animal Harbor and was placed on the waiting list. When an opening became available, Irene brought Roger to us. She was very sad, but also comforted because she knew that we would take good care of Roger. Irene says, “There aren't enough words to    express my gratitude for Animal Harbor. I'd become so     anxious regarding Roger’s future well-being. He’d been my faithful companion and I wanted nothing but the best for him. I found the very best at Animal Harbor.“

We have other examples. Roxie the Boxer/Heeler mix was surrendered tearfully when her owners lost their home and had to live in a hotel for a while. They are hoping to adopt her back if and when they get settled in a new home and if she is still available. Amos, the Chihuahua mix, and Rose, the beautiful    Pomeranian, were given up when their owner became too ill to care for them. Another lady here in Franklin County lost her home because of financial hardship and had to give up her 3 cats and 2 dogs.  There are also many people who have rescued stray cats or dogs and simply do not want them to be euthanized. These rescues stay on Animal Harbor’s waiting list until we have room to take them in.

In all of these cases, Animal Harbor gave the owners peace of mind, and the comfort of knowing that the pets they loved would be well cared for and would eventually get a new home. Animal Harbor provides a safe place for pets whose owners have no choice but to give up their beloved companions.