Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

postheadericon Local Volunteer Opportunities with Animals in Knoxville

knoxville rescue dogAccording to the ASPCA, millions of animals call a shelter their home. Additionally, millions more rely on foster parents, rescue organizations, and animal sanctuaries to provide them with the love and care that every animal deserves.

Without the assistance of volunteers, caring for the many animals in need would be impossible.  In fact, some of these establishments rely entirely on the kindness of those in the community to keep them running.However, volunteering with animals can mean so much more than just touching the heart of an animal, it can also mean impacting the human population of a community as well.

Often times when we think of volunteering with an animal, we picture helping to bathe or walk an adorable puppy at our local animal shelter. While this is one way of lending our love, there are a myriad of other options that are as diverse as the animals in our community that are in need. Some of these opportunities include:

Smoky Mountain Service Dogs: The work of this organization touches the lives of not just the animals, but the Veterans with disabilities that these special dogs will one day devote themselves to. Providing our service men and women with fully trained assistance animals is a big job and that is where volunteers come in. Ways that volunteers can help are by working as a Puppy Raiser, Socializer, or a Respite Provider.

Puppy Raisers work with puppies for a six to nine month period. During this time, they work closely with trainers to housebreak, crate train, and teach the puppy good manners and basic obedience skills.

For those who like to get out and about, that is where a Socializer comes in. Socializers introduce the animals to the public and different environments. They form a strong bond with the animal and are instrumental in working with the dogs beyond the puppy stage to teach them the basic skills that every service animal needs.

Respite Providers are those with huge hearts coupled with the ability to provide homes for service animals in cases of emergency, vacations for Puppy Raisers and Socializers, or while an animal is awaiting adoption.

H.A.B.I.T.: This acronym stands for Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee. The group is comprised of representatives from the University Of Tennessee College Of Veterinary Medicine, volunteers from the community, and private veterinary practitioners with the goal of exploring and promoting the human-animal bond.

The special thing about H.A.B.I.T. is that the volunteer position is available for pets too! Human and animal volunteers visit the elderly, special needs children, hospitals, and mental health centers. To work in this program is to provide those in need with companionship as well as to give the animals the opportunity to do what they do best, be social!

Feral Feline Friends: For those who feel comfortable working with and providing care to those animals who do not have a home, this is the perfect opportunity. Volunteers feed, water, and provide medical care for homeless cats in East Tennessee.

The Elephant Sanctuary: Elephants are majestic animals and the opportunity to work for their benefit is indeed a rare treat. Tennessee has the privilege of being the home of our nation’s largest natural-habitat refugee built specifically for endangered elephants. Many of the animals that come to this sanctuary have inspirational stories of survival and perseverance, and as the goal of the sanctuary is to give them a place to roam free and feel safe, volunteers do not work directly with the animals. To give time to this cause is truly a selfless act that includes helping the staff with the numerous tasks necessary to give these gentle giants a home.

The Knoxville Zoo: If going to the zoo is exciting, imagine working with the animals and trainers! Adults and youth can volunteer with this opportunity doing such varying tasks as assisting staff with educational programs and interpretation services, general upkeep of the zoo, and fundraising.

STAR: The Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding is unique in that it allows Special Needs individuals the opportunity to work directly with horses which provides long-lasting, well-documented therapeutic benefits. For Special Needs individuals, this therapy is invaluable to quality of life and the need for volunteers to work with this organization cannot be overstated.

Youth as well as adults are welcome at STAR and ways that they contribute are by helping directly with the animals, facilities tasks, and working with those receiving therapy during lessons.volunteer with dogs knoxville

Happy Paws Kitten Rescue: Happy Paws is a wonderful opportunity for those who have room in their homes and in their schedules to foster a kitten. The organization supports those who are able to foster by providing funding for all medical expenses and only asks that foster parents provide other basics for the foster animals such as food and litter.

Small Breed Rescue of East Tennessee: This volunteer opportunity focuses on fostering small breed dogs.

AARF (All About Rescue and Fixin’ Inc.): Multiple opportunities available including fostering a pet. This group does not euthanize or put time frames on when an animal in their care must be adopted out.

Horse Haven of Tennessee: Nonprofit rescue operation for abused and neglected equine. Opportunities include the ability to directly provide support to rescued horses through various tasks at the facility.

SPCA of Tennessee: Dedicated to rescuing, providing care to, and finding of homes for all breeds of dogs. Volunteer opportunities vary.

Adopt A Golden: Specifically for Golden Retrievers with fostering as a primary opportunity.

Humane Society Of The Tennessee Valley: This organization works to end homelessness in the dog and cat population of our community and volunteer opportunities vary.

Young-Williams Animal Center: Instrumental in providing a myriad of public services including public education, outreach, and other services that benefit animals and humans alike. Young-Williams offers a wide spectrum of volunteer opportunities.

photo credit: 2014-SAT-Emerging Leaders Adoption Event(license) and

A3109252 (6)(license) via photopin

postheadericon Adopt, Don’t Shop!

Adoptable DogEvery year approximately 2.7 Million cats and dogs are euthanized due to the fact that there is simply no more room to house them. They are not sick, aggressive or non-home-able, there are just too many unwanted animals. Despite the valiant efforts of local animal shelters and rescue organizations they are continually flooded with pets.

There are many reasons that so many animals are euthanized ranging from financial, to relocation, to divorce. But the reason does not matter, nor does it help these poor innocent animals find homes. There are so many wonderful reasons to consider adopting versus shopping when you’re thinking about adding a new pet to your family.

Here are some wonderful reasons why you should Adopt vs Shop for your pets:

– It is highly likely that you will bring home a healthy pet when you visit an animal shelter or rescue. They examine and vaccinate your potential pet, not to mention neuter or spay in most cases. Their mission is to save lives and reduce the pet population. When shopping for a pet you can often will come across puppy mill dogs who were breed with profit over welfare in mind. AND the horrid conditions which most puppy mills are run is cruel, unconscionable and inhumane.Adoptable Dog

– Puppy mills are run with the dollar in mind, not your pet’s welfare. They over breed, allow the dogs to live in filthy conditions, and then ship them across the country to shops around the world. Do you know how traumatized that puppy is by the time he lands in your lap? The behavioral and medical issues that plague pet shop pups are beyond your wildest dreams.

– For those who want a certain breed, luckily there are rescues for virtually every breed imaginable. With a little research you can still save a life by adopting.

Adopt. Don’t Shop! You will be rewarded with many years of loyalty. These pets truly sense that they are being saved and you are the person providing that warm and loving fur-ever home.

Photo Credit: stephskardal via photopin cc

postheadericon Deaf Dog Awareness Week September 2014

It’s Deaf Dog Awareness Week!

This amazing event is held during the last week of September, and this year Deaf Dog Awareness began last Sunday and wraps up this coming weekend.

Thblind dog awarenesse event is sponsored by Petfinder and the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund, and its sole purpose is to generate awareness of our furry friends who are deaf. It is also a great opportunity for these pups to be recognized as fully loveable, trainable and trustworthy pets. They may have special needs due to their inability to hear, however they are still so worthy of our love and care, making outstanding pets. SO many deaf dogs are killed each and every year simply because of this impairment.

There are a variety of ways in which a dog may end up deaf:

-Untreated ear infections

Some of the above causes can be treated if you work with your vet to avoid hearing loss. Some dogs are just born this way. If you work with your deaf pet and have patience you can have a wonderful friend! A deaf pet is just as easily trained as their hearing litter mates but only as long as humans let go of the myths and stereotypes associated with deaf dogs.

All dogs are amazing at learning visual commands. In fact, most dog trainers say that we use TOO many words when talking to our dogs. Most deaf dogs can learn to be desensitized to being startled due to not being able to hear people, pets and cars etc., and approach them. Most dogs will never act aggressively due to their hearing loss – in fact, it’s quite unheard of. When selecting a deaf pet that will be around children, the selection process is no different then when choosing a hearing pet.

There are several ways you can help during this week long event as well as long after:

-Promote Deaf Dog Awareness week.
-Help raise awareness during the rest of the year.
-All pet rescues are always in need of food, bedding, and other supplies!
-Adopt a friend in need as there are so many rescues who are dedicated to homing these pups.
-Learn sign language and use your skills with all dogs.boy and dog love

We’d love to hear your stories of deaf dogs that have entered your life, and help spread the positives about adoption of hearing impaired pets. There are so many things you can do to show your support. There is no reason why these pups cannot know love and kindness and find a “furever” home.

photo credits: Janaviemae and sperkyajachtu via photopin cc

postheadericon Celebrate the Dogs that Serve: 2 Local TN Organizations

Today wraps up the week long national celebration of International Assistance Dog week. This annual event is celebrated on the first Sunday of August for one week. Due to the efforts of Ms. Marcie Davis, the celebration honors and raises awareness for assistance animals across the world. These amazing animals work to serve disabled men and women, thereby reducing their limitations in day-to-day life!

service dogHere in East Tennessee, we’re fortunate to have a local service dog organization, Wilderwood Service Dogs, located in Maryville. With their mission “changing the lives of families, one dog at a time” they help in providing highly trained service dogs, specialized in helping people with neurological disorders. If you are interested in getting involved with this local assistance dog organization, they have opportunities for puppy foster families, puppy walkers, kennel volunteers, and a variety of other sponsorship or donation opportunities. Check out their page How Can I Get Involved? for more information.

Another local East Tennessee service dog non-profit is Smoky Mountain Service Dogs. This group has a mission of “providing public access tested/approved mobility assistance service dogs to disabled Veterans and providing service dogs to autistic children.” SMSD also offers the opportunity to volunteer as a puppy raiser, socializer, and respite provider. Check out their Volunteer Page for more information.

service dog


The founder of this week of recognition, Marcie Davis, is the CEO of Davis Innovations, a consulting firm located in Santa Fe, NM. She has also been a paraplegic for over 35 years, and has put forth much effort to further awareness and provide services for assistance dogs and their owners. She is an author and has a well known radio talk show called “Working Like Dogs” which can be heard via Her talk show provides valuable information for service and working dogs and their humans. Her show has also hosted various celebrity animal lovers, such as Betty White.

International Assistance Dog Week exists to recognize organizations such as these that are focused on devoted, hardworking assistance and service dogs that work to help their humans overcome disability related limitations. The week’s main purpose is to: – recognize and honor these amazing animals – recognize and honor the people who raise and train them – to raise awareness – to recognize the amazing and heroic deeds accomplished by these animals To learn more about this annual event, stop by

military service dog

photo credits: Lisa NorwoodfallsroadDVIDSHUB via photopin cc

postheadericon Knoxville Pet Photography

KnoxvilleDogPhotosfamilyI recently posted about losing my sweet boy Coda to bone cancer, and how much I appreciated the in-home vet care provided to me by The Visiting Vet, allowing me to say goodbye in the comfort of our own home.  When we learned of Coda’s cancer last fall I knew I wanted to do something that I’d kept putting off.  I wanted to get professional photos taken of us as a family.  I knew it wasn’t going to be the easiest task for the photographer, and I needed the right person who would be able to take on the job.  I was asking for “Christmas card – worthy” photos of 3 large dogs – who know their basic commands, but are not perfect angels :), two adults, and a 1 year old who had just learned to walk.  Needless to say I was asking for a lot!

I came across Jennie Huettel with Mountain Mutt Photography, and I knew we had found the right photographer!  She specializes in taking professional photos of dog and kids.  Perfect for us!  She actually takes the photos of the dogs up for adoption at Young Williams Animal Center, so if you follow Young Williams’ Facebook page, you’ve likely already seen her work.  She is happy to suggest a location to have the shoot, or you’ve welcome to have her come to your house and property if that’s more comfortable for you.  Jennie took our photos at Sequoyah Park and spent several hours making sure she had everything that we were looking for.  After loosing Coda this winter, the photographs mean even more to me and I’m so glad we did this together as a family.  I would highly recommend Jennie and Mountain Mutt Photography! I’ll let the photos speak for themselves …



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