Friday, October 16, 2009

Ross's Landing Opens to Dogs

Bentley cuts the ribbon.
"Could the Walnut Street Bridge be next?"

Sunday, October 4, 2009

McKamey Pets Day at Chattanooga Market

Elizabeth ponders adopting the cat Afina.
The season's last tomatoes are joined by the first pumpkins.

Top dog enjoys some bluegrass.

Bone Appetite brought the treats.

Dan and Buckley, a mix of Labrador Retriever and German Pointer.

David offers popcorn to Socco and Jass.

Mac, Fluffy and Biscuit get to know one another.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Petsmart National Fall Adopt-A-Thon

In another time and place, I was fortunate to be part of a group photography show. Opposite the gallery is the local humane society. While we had been talking about bringing a dog into our home, no plan had formed that morning when I felt compelled to cross the street. Yes, our lives were about to be transformed by a Westie taken into their shelter only an hour before my visit. Somehow the former owners and this dog had failed one another, but we and Biscuit have made a success seven years running.

This weekend, PetSmart and McKamey are offering the same bargain. Healthy cats and dogs will be available at PetSmart on 5591 Highway 153. For each adoption, $25 goes to McKamey. Dogs are $100 and cats, $40, so stop by Friday, Saturday or Sunday afternoons and get some furry love of your own.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Doggie Paddle

For some dogs, the only thing more fun than a ride in our cars is a dip with us. Saturday the Warner Park pool opened its gates to the Doggie Paddle, which raised serious money for McKamey Animal Center.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

McKamey News

Doggie Paddle
benefiting the McKamey Animal Care & Adoption Center
Saturday, August 8, 2009,
Warner Park Pool, 12-3pm
Come join the fun and swim with your dog in an Olympic-sized pool or in one of two wading pools. Beverages, snacks and event t-shirts available for sale during the event. Canine admission is $10 (goody bags available while supplies last). For more information visit

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dog Days at Greenlife

Something tells me I'm going home with these people ; )

Need a cat?

No, thank you.

Not for you....

...unless your name is Labradoodle.

A wet terrier is not pleased.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Weekend Dog Doin's

'Tis a good weekend for our furry friends. On Saturday Greenlife presents Dog Days from 11am until 3 pm. Cool your critter in a refreshing bath and support area animal rescues. Sunday finds the American Cancer Society's Bark For Life at The Chattanooga Market. From 11am 'til 4pm, there will be human/dog team competitions, a one mile walk and other diversions for $20 registration fee that supports ACS. Bone Appetite Bakery will bring the treats, so make tracks to the First Tennessee Pavillion.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

McKamey Photo Contest Deadline Extended

The McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center has had such wonderful response to the Pet Photo Contest that we have now extended it through the month of August! Please submit a photo (hard copy only) of your beloved pet along with $5. Photos will be displayed in the adoption area of the Center where the public can vote for $1 on their favorite photo. On August 30th at 2pm we will have a celebration and adopt-a-thon at the Center with local celebrity judges and prizes for the most popular photos. We will be accepting photos until August 29th. You can bring them (along with $5) to the Center or mail them to Amy Nelson at MCAC, 4500 N. Access Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37415. Please print your name, phone number and email address on the back of your photo. Let's celebrate your pets and our one year anniversary!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

North Chattanooga Strays

Here are two of the four loose dogs we saw on a recent morning's stroll through North Chattanooga. Hazzards to traffic and vulnerable to injury, their plight is the product of the same negligence that caused the ban on pets in parks, trails and the Walnut Street Bridge.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Fairy Tale Ending

Sometimes the knight in shining armor is a lady in blue, but the distressed party falls in love with his rescuer all the same. Captain Dianna Burrow, who in May saved Rux from near death, is now his lawful keeper, after a Hamilton County General Sessions Court awarded custody of the abused dog to McKamey Animal Shelter last Wednesday. Today life is good for Rux. At age nineteen weeks, he now tips the scales at a strapping thirty-six pounds and has lost his first puppy tooth. I found him to be a sporting tug-of-war partner. "He likes to watch TV," says Captain Burrow of her new best friend. The celebrity couple have drawn a crowd at the drive-through coffee window and are planning a honeymoon tour of area schools this fall to educate youth about animal cruelty and to dispell myths of pit bull behavior. Anyone wishing to support their cause may give 'Rux Bucks' here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Puppy and Kitten Shower

Who could resist such affection? Get some animal love of your own this Saturday at McKamey Animal Center's Puppy and Kitten Shower. These newbies are in need of wet food, toys, beds and, yes, paper towels. Light refreshments will be served from 11 'til 3, so clean out your cabinets or think of McKamey's Wish List while shopping at registered partners like Target, Wal-Mart and Lowes. Be careful: you might not leave empty handed, either.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Memphis visitors Julianne, Roz and Daphne stroll down Broad Street Friday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On Broad Street

Rachel, Chris and Australian Terrier "Doc" await lunch outside Lupi's Wednesday.

Walnut Street Bridge

Poop underfoot is a problem everywhere in Chattanooga. Let's hope that the development of riverfront housing will bring a more enlightened group of dog owners to the city center.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Stone Cup Visitors

Nora and Blue Heeler "Trigger"

Andrea and Miniature Poodle "Fenway"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Downtown Pet Advisory Board

Homeward bound just ahead an afternoon rain shower, "Chaos" leads Downtown Pet Advisory Board member Vanessa Taylor over the Holmberg Bridge. Please return to Chattanooga Pets for updated news of DPAB and its efforts on behalf of our four legged friends.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Will Goodwill

“Will” met me for coffee one brisk morning in March. Amiable and handsome, he sat with us inside Stone Cup. Wait a minute. “Will Goodwill” is a Golden Retriever. He and his trainer Sarah Hollyday are welcome everywhere because they are 2008 graduates of the Bergin Institute’s Service Dog Training Seminar, an intensive six-week program in Santa Rosa, California.

“Will”’s mission is to be the pilot for a joint Goodwill Chattanooga-McKamey Animal Center venture to rehabilitate suitable shelter dogs as canine assistants to the disabled. From four months of age when his breeder donated him to the program, “Will” has been training for this life. McKamey had just opened in time for his puppy shower and he was enrolled in the gift registry at Bone Appetite.

“The whole first year is basic obedience and making sure he’s comfortable with public access in stores and places where dogs aren’t normally allowed,” says Hollyday, who remembers the work involved bringing “Will” along. “He chewed up everything: my husband’s driver’s license and two number keys off of his cell phone.” While being house trained, “Will” was found one morning, standing over a floor vent, peeing. “No evidence!” Holliday laughs now. It is expected that volunteers will raise subsequent program dogs in their homes.

Away in California, Hollyday kept a blog of her experiences, which began with teaching her newly and scientifically chosen charge “Kate” some ninety commands, including her personal favorite, snuggle. For her own part, Hollyday had to navigate through malls, elevators, escalators and buses, sometimes in a wheelchair. To be sure there was down time, like visits to farmer’s markets and a July 4th swimming party in the Russian River, all with the dogs, of course.

The final two weeks of the seminar are client boot camp. “Working with a person who needs a service animal is the most important thing taught out there. I had to work with someone who’d never had an animal before and spent two days explaining how to enter an elevator.”

Home in Chattanooga, “Will” found a booster in Hamilton County Department of Education Superintendent Dr. Jim Scales, who also sits on the Goodwill board. In addition to raising disability awareness, “Will”’s school appearances have become a fundraising tool for a second dog to be named “Hamilton”, whom McKamey will place with a disabled client. To date, about $13,000 of the required $25,000 has been collected.

It was my pleasure to spend a recent morning with “Will” and Goodwill’s Dog Program Education Assistant Brandy Chambers, who works with him weekly. Always eager to please, “Will” turned the office lights off and on again, picked up his own leash and opened file and cabinet drawers that had been fitted with tassels for his jaws. What a boon his help must be to someone whose mobility is challenged. Add to that the unconditional love for which our best friends are so well known and anyone’s path would become smoother.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Of Ham and Microchips

Ham spent a recent weekend with us, after I found him wandering alone on a busy Frazier Avenue Friday afternoon. Not a typical North Chattanooga loose dog, he lacked both a collar and street smarts and was perilously close to becoming road kill. I caught up to him on the Walnut Street bridge, having been directed there by others who were concerned for his plight and mistook me for his distraught owner.

Safe at home with us, he made our Biscuit quite jealous and prompted Leigh to name him Ham. We placed calls to Luther at WDEF and to the Times Free Press classified advertising department. We even showed him to the good people of Bone Appetite, lest he be a regular customer of theirs. He wasn't.

As fate would have it, another North Chattanooga house pet escaped that weekend. Flyers seeking the return of Petunia appeared all over the neighborhood. We had to clarify in our copy that our recovered dog was indeed a different animal. Even so, numerous callers seeking Petunia were disappointed not to find her.

For the most part, "Ham" was a perfect houseguest. Despite our Biscuit's envious ways, he neither growled nor barked and knew what it meant to go outside. To be sure, someone was missing this creature who so adored his belly rubs and slept peaceably between us. Ham's one vice was his will to escape. Every time we opened a door, he was there, not to greet us but to bolt. The front door still displays scratches, tokens of his urge for freedom.

Monday morning our veterinarian passed a wand over Ham's shoulders and found a microchip. What should have been a process whereby data entry to a website would yield an owner's name in moments merely opened another chapter. All we learned was that the breeder had microchipped him and there the trail turned cold. Three telephone calls later we were no closer to finding his home, so Ham and I departed to get on with my day.

That episode bolstered my belief that there are no hightech solutions to human failings. For example, v-chips in televisions do nothing to curb the viewing of gratuitous violence. What use are microchips in pets if people do not register them? I had imagined identification chipping to be a sort of social service, perhaps a joint effort of the AKC and ASPCA. It is instead a for-profit enterprise requiring a registration fee from the pet's owner. Paying to put a chip in the animal is not a fait accompli.

Ham's real name turned out to be Rufus. Credit goes to our veterinary clinic. A fourth telephone call found his owner, who recovered him that afternoon. It seems that Rufus likes to keep cool atop the floor vents, but his dog tags catch in the grating. Add his propensity for flight and the rest became this story. My opinion of microchipping pets is much improved. If need be, please take a moment to update such records. Our furry friends will thank you for it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

at the Who-Fest

What a lucky boy is Enzo. Stephanie rescued this Jack Russell terrier from the Humane Educational Society and now he accompanies her to fun events like the Who-Fest in dog-friendly Renaissance Park.

on Hanover Street

Friday, May 22, 2009

Town and Country Cats

We suspect there was a cat in our rescued terrier’s former life because he adores felines. Like a shy teenaged boy smitten by girls, he approaches them awkwardly, if sincerely, and doesn’t understand why his love often goes unrequited. There is, however, one neighborhood cat that will meet him on the sidewalk, offer a playful swipe of its paw, then loll around on its back or rub against my ankles. Cute.
“I’d have a house full of these things if I could,” declares Caren Anderson of Chattanooga, who had stopped by the McKamey cat adoption room Thursday afternoon “just to give them love.” A dog fancier, I was there to learn more about cats. They, too, were curious about me, sniffing at the camera and pawing my notebook to see what I had been up to. When I dropped down on all fours to take a picture of their social grooming habits, a solitary, cheeky one leapt onto my back.

So, would you like to keep a cat? McKamey has them and right now the adoption fee is a mere $20 for one or for two. All are tested for FIV/FeLV, vaccinated, microchipped and either spayed or neutered. Anderson recommends the double shot. “These are probably the cheapest way of going if you have a pet. Ten dollars feeds both of mine for two months. When you’re gone they have each other. They are perfect for people who work a lot of hours. They don’t chew on anything, but you will need a scratching post.”
Cats who do not lead such pampered lives often face a different reality. “Ferals, the first generation offspring of abandoned cats, are wild and it’s almost impossible to adopt out an animal like that,” explains McKamey’s Amy Osborn. “My program is Trap, Neuter and Release. When we get calls from people who report nuisance cats, I try to talk them into TNR. If a person is willing to feed a colony, McKamey will lend the traps and charge $25 for each spay/neuter surgery, de-worming, and rabies and feline leukemia vaccinations.”

That may sound like a lot of effort versus outright removal, but the rewards are many, according to Alley Cat Allies, whose website explains that even if feral cats are removed from an area, surviving neighbors will over breed to repopulate it. After all, it must have been an attractive spot to call home in the first place. The TNR solution yields a stable population of better-behaved cats. “Once an animal is spayed or neutered, it becomes more docile, less feral and a better neighbor all round,” says Osborne. “We know several people who have barns full of mice. They take these cats and give them a home.”