Meet your animal rescue organizations in Nashville!

Nashville is a place that is booming. Many people are moving here and many people are starting their lives over here. But, with so much traffic in Nashville, the amount of animals and pets in need rises. Nashville has a huge amount of animal rescue groups who are helping to save these lives through Nashville and find them good homes. The mission of these rescues is to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home these pets. Adopting your next pet is the best route to take because you are not only saving the life of the pet you are adopting, you are enabling the animal rescue to take another life that needs their help.

There is a large “pit bull” problem and a lot of the dogs going into rescue are of the “pit bull” breeds (a breed made up of 16 different dog breeds – the term “pit bull” does not refer to any single breed). Luckily, there are many people in Nashville that are dedicated to saving these lives.
Nashville Pittie Logo
Nashville Pittie is a great rescue located in Nashville that takes on the pit bull type dogs specifically and gets them healthy, finds them foster homes and sets them up for success in their forever homes. Through Nashville Pittie, dogs are taken into home like settings and treated for any rehab that is needed to get these dogs healthy and ready for their forever homes. They do great work and have anywhere from 15-30 dogs at a time, depending on the availability of foster homes. You can read more about Nashville Pittie and keep up with them on their Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/NashvillePitBullsScreen Shot 2015-11-19 at 12.22.09 PM
Pittie in Pink
is another breed specific rescue that focuses on the “pit bull” type breeds. They are a bit of a larger scale rescue than Nashville Pittie and have around 40 dogs at a time. Pittie in Pink is run by a lovely lady named Laura Love, whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know through my work. Laura and her rescue team are always looking for ways to raise money and help these dogs that are in need of homes and help. If you’d like to keep up with Pittie in Pink, you can visit their Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/Pittie-in-Pink-111078782238015/

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Another great place where you can find dogs and cats in need of their homes is Metro Animal Care and Control. MACC is located off Harding Place in Nashville and is run by the city. They are an open intake shelter so the amount of dogs and cats that come through MACC is astonishing. They are a low-kill shelter, which means they do not euthanize pets unless they are showing aggressive or ill behaviors. They are doing great things in Nashville and are trying to save as many dogs that come in. This is the shelter where I got my sweet, little pit bull Eisley Jane and I am so happy I went to MACC so I could allow for another dog to make it to the adoption floor. You can follow MACC on Facebook for more information: http://www.Facebook.com/MetroAnimalCare

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Another great rescue doing a lot of work in Nashville is Proverbs 12:10 Animal Rescue. Proverbs 12:10 is a foster based rescue group as well, meaning that all of the animals taken in live in a foster home until they find their forever homes. Proverbs 12:10 rescues dogs and cats, rehabilitates them and finds them their homes. They are a no-kill rescue group that runs off of donation from their followers. Their mission is to end the over population rate and find all animals in need a forever home. To keep up with Proverbs 12:10 and find out how you can help, you can check out their website here: http://www.proverbs1210rescue.org

This is just a small group out of the ginormous amount of rescue groups and people doing good with animals in Nashville. These are some great places to start when looking for your new family member!

 

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One simple way to support your local animal rescues during the holidays!

Hi friends! The holidays are a great time to give back. Since most people are already in the giving and shopping spirit, there are a lot of donation drives going on like Toys for Tots, Donation Gives, and many more. We are really excited about this holiday season because we were asked to participate in this little thing called the “Monster” Holiday Drive.

Holiday Drive banner with past “monster elves” collections

The “Monster” Holiday Drive is a nationwide and even world-wide fundraiser. It is put on by a “pit bull” and good dog advocacy group called I’m Not A Monster. This group aims to share the stories of hundreds to thousands of pit bulls that come from rescue, puppy mills and much more awful backgrounds. It aims to show society that just because dogs have a big, block head, it does not mean they are vicious or dangerous. I’m Not A Monster is a website where “pet parents of misunderstood dog breeds can showcase how lovely these dogs are as a way to change public perception and fight dog discrimination & abuse.” says founder and owner of the organization, Imelda Suriato.

The “Monster” Holiday Drive is made up of 75 different “Monster Elves” – these are all rescued bully breed type dogs that fund-raise for either a state, or a few shelters in their region of the state. My dog Gabriel and I were asked to represent Tennessee and be the Monster Elf for the state of Tennessee. Through this, we chose a few shelters to fund-raise for. We chose Nashville Pittie, a Nashville based pit bull rescue that runs on foster homes instead of having a kennel facility. They do great work and help promote the bully breeds in such a great way around Nashville. Our second shelter we are fundraising for is Tennessee Animal Rescue & Shelter Inc., a small suburban shelter out in Waynesboro, TN – about two hours outside of Nashville. This shelter is run by a lady name Mandy. She has made it her mission to save the animals in that area and do as much as she can with the money she got from her work in the National Guard. These two shelters do so much great work saving and helping where they can and how they can. So, we decided it was our turn to give back!

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Monster Holiday Drive poster         Gabriel’s Monster Elf Card

The “Monster” Holiday Drive is a big deal, and I don’t think I fully realized that when I was asked to participate. However, we are realizing what kind of support our community has to offer to the animal shelters in Tennessee that need our help. The “Monster” Holiday Drive spans out to New Zealand and has a representative in almost every state in the United States. Each of these Monster Elves are fundraising for various shelters, some raising for six shelters. A lot of the Monster Elves have a large pull on their Facebook or Instagram pages, therefore receive a lot of online donations. Some elves attend events, like we did this year, to promote and to raise supplies. And, some elves sell shirts or auction off items with all of the proceeds going to their local animal shelters.

Our booth set up at the pit bull awareness day event earlier this year

In the past years, the “Monster” Holiday Drive has had a great turnout of donations. From 2013-2015, the “Monster” Holiday Drive has raised over $540,000 in donations of food, toys, enrichment treats and other supplies. They have also raised over 57,000 pounds of dry food and over 10,000 cans of wet food that went straight to the animal rescues in need. They also raised over 10,000 dog and cat toys and almost 5,000 Kongs and Nylabones. This is huge for some shelters, and ultimately can be some of the biggest donations they receive all year, especially for the smaller shelters.

But, none of this could be possible with out the help of our friends, family and followers. So, you may be asking, “How can I help?” – there are several ways you can help your local pets in Tennessee, or around the country.
1. Visit our Amazon Wishlist – Our Amazon Wishlist is stocked with all the things our shelter needs and wants. This is an easy way to donate and it will be straight to us. We will then deliver it straight to our animal rescues we are supporting.
You can view our wishlist here: http://amzn.com/w/3T0UY5I7ZW28I2. Visit any of our drop-off locations, pick up a flyer and buy any of the items needed.
2. We have three drop-off locations located around Nashville where you can buy supplies needed and put in our box!
You can find the drop off locations at:

  • See Spot Eat Doggie Bakery / Dog and Kat – 2605 Winford Ave. Nashville, TN
  • Wags and Whiskers West Nashville – 3771 Charlotte Ave. Nashville, TN
  • My Second Home Pet Resort – 101 Mission Ct. Franklin, TN

3. Through one of the sponsors of the “Monster” Holiday Drive, if you visit BZees.com and purchase a pair of shoes using the code ‘ELFGABRIEL’, $5 from each pair of shoes will go back to our rescues.

Those are three simple ways to help your local animal shelters during the holidays.
You can learn much more about the holiday drive at http://www.MonsterHolidayDrive.com
You can also learn more about I’m Not A Monster by visiting http://www.ImNotAMonster.org
Monster-Elf-Gabriel

The best healthy treats to keep your dog busy!

It’s fall season, finally! Crisp air, quite a few rainy days, beautiful leaves. With that, comes a wet yard and a lot of rainy days, thus meaning a dog with a lot of energy without outside play time or a walk. My dogs have energy, almost too much energy for their own good. But, we have a few tips and tricks of keeping an energetic dog busy and entertained on a rainy day!

The first easy way to keep your dog entertained – Kongs!

Kongs are very durable and safe for your dog to keep in their kennel with them. They are made of super durable and strong material, therefore almost no dog can tear through them. These are great as just a toy, but the real trick with these is the hole in the middle. You can stuff peanut butter, canned wet food, pumpkin or whatever your dogs favorite treat is in there! That is great as it is, but you might find that your dog gets all of the stuffing out really quickly. The secret trick in our household is the freezer! Stuff the Kongs with your pets favorite treat and stick it in the freezer. For a medium sized Kong, it takes my large dog about two hours to get through all of the goodness inside.

You can also do this trick with bare bones. You can find these at almost any pet store and they are just a bone that has been cleaned so it is just a hollow bone. These are good for this trick so that the dogs can chew on the bone as well when they finish up the goodies inside. Freeze these too for longer lasting fun!

Frozen raw marrow bones or rib bones! These are a favorite in my house. These are great for long lasting chews as well. They are healthy and full of nutrients, and safe since even if the dog eats the raw bones, they’re still able to digest it. These come frozen in single packs or packs of multiples and can be found at most pet stores, but not PetSmart. Most local, holistic pet stores will have them!

Bully Sticks!
Bully sticks might be the favorite treat in my house. These are beef/bull tendons that are dried out and cooked. They usually last most dogs around an hour to eat, depending on the size of the dog and the size of the bully stick, but they make great short term baby sitters that every dog is sure to love!

These are the healthiest and best options for keeping a dog busy on a rainy day! My dogs love all of the above and your dog should too!

Benefits of a raw fed dog

The norm these days for pet food is going to the store and buying a bag. Most people don’t even bother to read the labels to know what they are feeding their pets. But, the most nutritional diet a dog or cat can eat is a completely raw diet. This means feeding your dog raw meats of various types, including meaty bones, organs and meat cutlets. This is one of the most biologically available diets for pets and gives them the a lot of nutrients and vitamins that are usually cooked out of foods when the “normal” dog food is cooked. When “normal” dog food is cooked at high temperatures, it looses a lot of needed vitamins and minerals. A lot of great things for your pet come out of a raw diet.

Improved teeth and gums

When you feed your dog or cats just kibble and do not throw in any bones to work their teeth and gums, tartar builds up, and this can lead to dental diseases. Above, you can see the difference in a dog that is eating a kibble diet and a dog that is eating a raw diet.

Improves digestion and health
When a dog eats a leaner and more healthy diet, the dogs will have a lean body, muscular build and overall a healthier body. Raw feeding also improves skin and coat and makes them shed less. Your dog will have a healthier, shiny coat that is soft to the touch! Pictured below is my dog, Eisley Jane. She is a raw-fed dog and has the almost-picture-perfect body mass and muscle content. The benefits I have seen from feeding her raw are amazing!

Who doesn’t want less poop?
When a dog eats a healthier, leaner diet, the amount of poop compared to when he or she is eating a diet made up of fillers, your dog will poop less times in a day. This means a lot less poop you, as a pet owner, have to pick up! This is due the amount of fillers and stuff that your dog does not need being eliminated from the diet.

The benefits of raw feeding your pets are endless and range from your dog’s overall well-being to your dog’s energy and vitality. These are just a few of the diet benefits of raw feeding pets.

The best Fall events to take your pup to!

It’s that time of year! The weather is changing, it’s beautiful outside and what better activity is there to do than get outside to the fall events with your pup! I will show you some of the best dog-related events you can take your pup to and enjoy a day full of doggy-lovin’!

National Pit Bull Awareness Day
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Each year in October, the local pit bull rescue group Nashville Pittie holds a Pit Bull Awareness Day event to showcase a breed that is very misunderstood. Being a pit bull mama myself, we love this event! It is an event of education and a whole lot of people who love pit bulls. There are booths of all different companies, and hundreds of people gather to showcase a breed. A lot of people bring their pit bulls and kids. The kids, can get their face painted, play with a ton of adoptable dogs and even play some games! It’s a lot of fun. This year’s event has passed, but next year it will be on Oct 22 at Centennial Park, so mark your calendars!
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Barktober Fest

Up next is Barktoberfest! It is an event put on by local dog magazine Nashville Paw! This event is a fall celebration, but a celebration that focuses on your pups! It is a free event and will have tons of booths and food trucks. There is a doggy Halloween costume contest in which you can win over $2,000 in prizes. It is only $10 to enter your dog. This is a rain-or-shine event, and it is this upcoming Saturday, October 17th, 2015 at the Harlinsdale Farms in Franklin.

Now moving onto the not-so-dog-related festivals!

Pumpkinfest

Oct 24 is the city of Franklin’s large Pumpkinfest! This is a festival for all of the family, even your pups, that is all about everything fall, including the pumpkins! It has a contest for largest pumpkin, plenty of music to entertain and lots of fun booths and play zones for the kids. There is even a chili cook-off! This is a free event and is being put on by Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson Co.!

This is nowhere near all of the fun events going on in Nashville during this beautiful weather we have, but it is just a few that your and your pups can love! Be sure to check them out, and they all even have their own Facebook events.

Get out with your pup and enjoy that beautiful weather before the winter sets in!

Tips for being prepared for a new member of the family!

A lot of people think I am a bit nuts about my dogs and everything I do to make sure they are the happiest and healthiest dogs around. I get called “that crazy dog mom” all time, and I am actually pretty OK with that. However, some people that I meet are genuinely curious and want my help in becoming that better dog parent. Being a responsible dog owner is important in owning a dog. You can’t just get a dog and hope that it turns out OK. I will share with you 6 steps to make sure you pets are taken care of and ready to be a happy and healthy pet!

  1. Identification is your pets ticket to get home!
    Working with animal rescue, we see all too often animals that are lost and found as strays that simply won’t make it back to their families due to their family not keep identification on them. There are a few ways you can do this.
    The best way would be to make sure you get your dog micro-chipped as soon as possible. A microchip is a little electronic chip they put into your dog or cats back, between the shoulder blades. This is linked back to you! So, when your dog or cat gets lost, a vet can scan the microchip and find the owners information. This is usually a cheap way to get your pet back to you. A microchip will cost no more than $20 and you can even find free microchip clinics throughout the city, where they will do it free of charge. Because people really do care about your pets!
    The next best way is to simply get an identification tag that your pet can keep on their collar! Your pet should never be without a collar on because that is a key way to know that your dog that got out is actually a family dog and not just a stray. You can get these tags from Petsmart, Petco, any pet stores, or even online!
    People don’t realize that having identification on your pet is the best way to get your dog or cat home safely. I never take my dogs identification off of them!
  2. Find a store you trust!
    A lot of times, people just simply shop at Wal-mart or Petsmart for their pet supplies. While Petsmart has some good options, you would be better off finding a small, local store. Small and local pet supply stores usually have a smaller selection of foods, supplies, toys, treats. But, you know that when you go into these stores, what you are getting is quality and healthy for your pup or kitty! I have found that looking at smaller stores in your local area, you find people at these stores that you truly trust. These people have some great insight into what is best for you pets. Plus, who doesn’t love to support a local business, rather than a large chain!
  3. Feed the right foods!
    Like I went over in my last blog post, feeding the right things to your pets is very important! Because, honestly, what you put into your pet, is what you will get out of them! If you want to feed your dog a cheap dog food you bought at the convenience store, you will get a chubby, low energy dog who doesn’t want to go for walks, but may have a sugar rush due to the amount of sugar in those foods. This is where finding a store you trust is important! Most dog foods you can find at the grocery store are packed with things your pet needs in no way! Corn, cheap fillers, and other bad products that could be making your pet sick or lazy. In the picture below you can see the difference between a dog fed dog food from the grocery store that is full of corn and unwanted ingredients, and then after they made the switch to a healthy and heartier dog food. This is the same dog, and the change is drastic! And, it is all because they switched to a healthier food alternative!
  4. Get your pet some time-consuming treats!
    I know you think that when you get a new dog, you’ll definitely be spending all your time playing with them and it will be so much fun! But, believe me, after a few months, you’ll get tired of always entertaining and your pet will get rambunctious right at the time when you’ve got things to do! Don’t worry, like I said earlier, that store you trust so much should have some great, healthy alternatives for you!
    Bully sticks are a life saver in my household. These are dehydrated bull tendons and will keep my dogs occupied for at least thirty minutes so that I can get some things done! I would also suggest investing in a few kongs or “bare” bones, which are hollow in the middle. Get out the trusty peanut butter that your pup loves so much (or if they are like one of my dogs and refuse the peanut butter, try canned wet dog food) and get to stuffing! Stuff the kongs and bare bones with peanut butter, mixing in a few treats helps to! But don’t stop there. Pop those guys in the freezer and let them sit overnight. This is a treat that my dogs love and it takes them a while to get out all of the goodies! A great time consuming treat so you can finally get some work done!
  5. Buy a good leash, walking harness, and yourself some walking shoes!
    Walking your dog is not only good exercise to keep your pet healthy, at a good weight, and tired; it is also a great bonding experience. Take a few training treats and practice some training on your walks. This is a fun activity that your pet will love and will love you for it! I know in my house, if you touch a walking harness, all dogs are up and ready to go!
    A good leash should be a 4-foot or 6-foot walking leash, not a retractable leash that gives you no control over the dog. You want to give your dog room to roam if you want, but not room to get away from you or cause a problem because you have no control and your dog is 20-feet away. A good walking harness is important. You want something that your pup will not slip out of and, unless they are on a martingale collar, a regular collar is pretty easy to back out of. You want to make sure you find one that fits your pup right and is comfortable. That trusty pet store we talked about should be able to help you get fitted into the right harness!
  6. Get ready to make some of the best memories!
    From going on walks to the creek, on bike rides, and making friends with everyone else in the neighborhood with dogs; you are sure to make some great memories with your new best friends. Cherish every single memory, because as we know, their lives are shorter than ours. Be ready to remember the memories and love your pup, even through old age! Because you know for a fact that your pet will love you forever

The basics of understanding what your pet is eating

When you adopt a dog, the first thing you worry about is dog food. At first, you think, “I’ll just go to the grocery store; it’s fine.” Because you think that if they are selling it, it must be good for your pup! But, sadly, this is not the case. Your pet’s basic needs may not be met through the “big box” food brands, and you may end up seeing your dog’s health in danger if you choose to put him on a food that does not help them at all.

There are so many pet food brands out there that it is hard to decipher what is good and what is not. It’s hard to find one that you can trust, and that is within your price range. I get it; there’s a lot of information and it’s hard to take it all in. When I began working at a holistic pet food and supply shop, I thought I was doing great for my dogs. Actually, while they weren’t eating bad food, they weren’t eating the greatest either. But, then I was faced with, “Where do I even start?” It’s tough to find a dog food that is the best, and that is why I am going to walk you through the basics and the most basic “Do’s and Dont’s” and what to look for when you are buying pet food.

The first thing you need to understand before this is mastering the art of reading a dog-food label. These things are cryptic, I tell ya. It’s almost like pet food manufacturers don’t want you to know what’s in the food. But let me break it down for you!
The first thing on the label is the most prevalent food in the bag. It’s first thing on the bag for a reason, and it is what your food is mostly made up of. Everything that follows is in order of what amounts they are in in the food. Now that that is clear, let’s talk about what to look for and what not look for!

No Corn, Soy or Wheat
This has been a common thing in the pet food industry for years. These words were the big DO NOT of the past century, but for some reason, people still don’t get what they are looking for when they know what they don’t want. That’s fine!
When you are looking at your pet-food label, if you see anything with the word “Corn” in it, put it back down.
What a lot of people don’t understand when looking for a pet food is that there are actually GOOD GRAINS! Who would have thought? The hot term right now is “grain-free food.”  And I get it; grains are one of the most common irritants for our pups. But when are getting a grain-free food, it simply means that the company has substituted the carb of the grain with another source that is not technically a grain, like a pea. So while grain-free foods are great, since you know there is no corn, soy or wheat, don’t rule out grain free foods all together, because grains like rice and oatmeal are not bad grains at all.

By-Products
Let me give it to you straight; if your dog food contains the word “by-product” on the ingredient list, I honestly could not tell you what you are feeding your pets. By-products are a cheap filler that companies can use in the food, for some awful reason, that is the leftovers of what was actually used. So if your protein is chicken, and one of the top ingredients is “chicken by-product,” you’re not actually getting chicken. You’re getting some chicken beaks, leftover meat, feet and whatever else was left over from the chicken used elsewhere. It’s an absolutely disgusting act that this is allowed by AAFCO to be given to our pets. Be careful!

China Made Products
China is notorious in our country for creating everything. However, when it comes to the pet food industry, be very careful where any product you let your dog consume came from. I would not even let my dog near anything that is from anywhere besides America or Canada. And, sadly, it’s a fact that some of these products from China have actually been proven to make dogs sick and even killed dogs. And then been recalled and put back on the shelves. This is another reason it is very important to know where your dogs food is coming from!

Unspecified Meat
When looking at your dog food bag, if you see very generic, almost-makes-you-wonder wording on there, the manufacturers playing their mind games. “Fish” or “Poultry” is tom-foolery. The manufacturers don’t want to tell you what fish or what bird and that can raise some very bad issues. If you don’t know what fish or protein they are eating and something happens, there’s no pinpointing. Or, if you can’t figure out what fish, then your dog could be eating the goldfish that died last week. It’s important that the protein is clear and specific.

Now that we’ve got some do’s and don’ts out of the way, where do you look for food and what is there to look for?

Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, and Peas!
Commonly, sweet potatoes, carrots and peas are used in place of the grains corn, wheat and soy. These are great alternatives, since they bring some vitamins to your pets that they can benefit greatly from. While dogs are proven to not need any vegetables or fruits at all and survive on solely meat, it does not hurt to give them some extra carbs and vitamins from these great additives to your pet’s diet.

Meat!
Your dog needs meat; it’s a biological necessity. So, when you are looking at your dog’s pet-food list, please be sure that your ingredients are listed with the first ingredient being the protein, meat! If you are not seeing meat as the first ingredient, you don’t need that food. Chicken, bison, salmon or lamb are all great things you would want to see as one of the first ingredients in your pet’s food. You want to see the specific meat!

Meal is okay!
A common misconception is that the word “meal” means something bad. I almost think that the words “meal” and “by-products” have been jumbled and for some reason; people think one of is OK and one is so bad. But meal is simply the sole meat content after cooking, after the water that the meat is cooked in has been drained out. For that reason, you want to make sure that the “[insert protein] meal” is high up on your ingredient list. This is important so that you know that even after the meat is cooked down, and the bulk of the water weight is drained out, that the meat is still the most prominent thing in the food. So on the ingredient list, it is very good to see “meat, meat meal” as one of the first ingredients.

Now, this is not all that there is to dog food, and the list of do’s and don’ts goes on, as I will in later posts. However, I did want to introduce you to the basics of what you should look for in your pet’s nutrition.
In the meantime, check out the info graphic below that goes into a few more things to look for or to not look for in your foods!