“These dogs know that they’ve been saved. If you get a breeder dog, it’s a breeder dog. If you get one of these dogs, they are the most loving animal you can have.”
-Terry Hulen, Coffee County animal control officer
For Bluie, a Pitbull-mix whose new family has named Chance, life came down to the wire.
Word came down the week following Thanksgiving that his time at the Coffee County Shelter was at an end. One way or another.
It’s not that the animal control officers didn’t love the 12-year-old, heartworm positive male – Bluie had become something of a mascot for the shelter. But a world-weary, mature pit like Bluie doesn’t get adopted as easily as a younger dog and resources are limited.
Animal Control Officer Terry Hulen said, “He’s a good dog. We spent a lot of time with him.
“We thought for a while he had cancer,” she said.
Hulen said that Bluie came in in rough shape: very skinny, with a terrible skin condition and heartworm positive.
“He is an all-around good dog, very happy. He thought this was home for quite a while. He’d yell if he wanted something, or to be fed first.”
She said that once he started getting fed regularly, Bluie improved quickly.
“He started taking us for a walk.”
Bluie was basically a street dog before he came to the shelter.
“He was staying with a lady in Tullahoma. She was kind of keeping up with him. She didn’t say it was her dog, but we pretty much believe it was her dog. She had let him breed with her dog.”
At the shelter, he became a regular face since his capture in July. He had his own pumpkin squeaky toy that he would carry around looking for one his officers to play with him.
But resources are limited, and no matter how beloved, dogs cannot call the shelter home.
“We have 17 runs at any given time for the entire county,” Hulen said. “We stay pretty close to full.”
So when the word came that Bluie’s time was up, the officers put a desperate plea on social media.
“Please share … Believe in the miracle. Don’t let Bluie die here. He has likely never known a real home,” the Facebook post read.
One family saw the messages on Facebook and decided to act.
Tara Adams, Bluie’s new puppy parent, said that her family had recently lost a dog, and decided to give him a chance.
“I’d seen that people had shared the story. I shared it myself. I noticed that it was getting down to time,” Adams said.
She said that her four children love Bluie.
“He’s been so calm. He’s a good dog. He loves the outside. He’s never really had a home. You can tell by looking at him that he hasn’t had a good life.’”
The Adams are giving Bluie treatments for heartworms. He appears to be responding well.
“He has to have treatments once a week. We’re on the second treatment. He’s done really well, just has to take it easy after a treatment,” Adams said.
Coffee County Animal Shelter and Manchester City Shelter is located at 156 Freedom Dr.
Those wanting to adopt must have a valid identification.
Fees are $10 if the dog is spayed or neutered or $35 if it needs to be spayed or neutered.
Hulen said that having the dogs fixed is important to help control the pet population down the road.
“There are a lot of low-cost options. If you’re not spaying or neutering, you’re going to come up with the same problem next year,” Hulen said.
She added that adoptions are what keep the shelter going.
“We survive on adoptions. Most of the rescues are full because they’ve taken in dogs from Florida, and Texas after the hurricanes,” Hulen said.
“We get some great dogs in here and some great stories. Every once in a while we get one that comes back, but for the most part they work out.”
Hulen said dogs that are adopted are forever appreciative and loyal.
“The dogs know that they’ve been saved. If you get a breeder dog, it’s a breeder dog. If you get one of these dogs, they are the most loving animal you can have.”