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because of a photograph

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January 2015
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For 94 weeks, on Tuesday, Memphis Pets Alive! has been going to Memphis Animal Services [a notorious, high intake, high-kill facility managed by the city] for the “Wag Along Tuesday” event that offers an open invitation for anyone to attend; when the facility is closed for a holiday, another day that week is chosen.

For 94 weeks MPA! volunteers have photographed every pet possible [dogs, cats, horses, rats, guinea pigs, pigs, goats…] and posted those photos to our Facebook page in an effort to help showcase and network these pets for potential adoption and rescue.

Over this time our volunteers have been confronted with hostile staff, a lackadaisical and defensive support group, a reluctant administration, area access restrictions, photography bans, photography limitations, orders forbidding treats being distributed [though it’s likely pets may be killed in hours] and most painfully … the knowledge that the pet they are interacting with this Tuesday may be the last kind contact the pet ever receives … for in the morning before the facility doors open the pet may be killed and they won’t be there next week.

It won’t matter that the pet is healthy, friendly and perfectly amazing… what will matter is that the city has determined s/he only gets 3 days [or less] to find their home. So, even if there are open kennels and there is no sane reason for the pet to be killed… they will be under the label of “time”.

In the face of these exhausting facts… every week our volunteers square their shoulders, strap on their camera [or their resolve] and dig deep for the courage to smile while fighting this battle… and this is why:


I just wanted to give an update on “Lobo” (#A263466) now named Chrome. I was sharing his photo a lot from Memphis Pets Alive! back in March, trying to convince someone to take his butt since he reminded me of my own scruffy blue eyed dog. Turns out he’s not much like my own dog at all, he clearly has different breeds influencing his looks, but I did convince my grandma to adopt him. So on March 4th, I drove to MAS and adopted him. A few days later I drove him to Chester, Illinois where he would meet Blitzen (the dog he’d be living the rest of his life with). They instantly hit it off, and Chrome was matching Blitzen’s walking the day they first met.

He’s been in his forever home now for nearly a year, and he loves to chew. He is an excellent toy destroyer and would probably love to have that as a job, he’s good at it. He also loves to run when he gets the chance. For the most part he goes to the bathroom on a tie out since my grandma doesn’t have a fenced in yard, but he does get to go run at the nearby tennis courts if no one is using them or at an old softball field that is rarely used (softball fields are where he got completely muddy). He also has “airplane” ears that fall backwards whenever he looks up to beg for a treat, which always makes me laugh. He’s a brat, but he’s a good brat. When he’s being a bad brat, and getting too hyper all you have to do is start massaging his neck and he’ll chill out and start to collapse onto the floor. When you stop he’ll look up at you and thump his tail wondering why you stopped petting him. He loves to play with other dogs. And he’s smart. My grandma doesn’t do much training with him, but when I visit I try to work with him. He has picked up all the basics really quickly. Sit is his favorite since he was taught that first, but he knows down, and stay. Most of the time he’ll come if you have a treat (at least in the house, outside is another matter).

I just wanted to say thank you for taking pictures of all the dogs at Memphis Animal Services, I don’t think I could do it. Without you guys, I would have never known Chrome existed and I’m not sure if he would have made it out.

Erica Abernathy (of Memphis Mutt Pet Photography)

94 weeks [One year, nine months and 25 days].
Hundreds of volunteer hours.
For one person to find one dog or cat [in time] … because of a photograph.



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