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Tennessee Deployment: Power of the Human-Animal Bond

The days are long for the American Humane first responders and local partners on the ground in Tennessee tending to more than 30 neglected dogs. From sunup to sundown, the rescue team cares for the malnourished and emaciated pups, bringing them back from the brink. However, no matter the effort, the experience is so worthwhile as we witness the dogs grow healthier and stronger and see the incredible, meaningful connections begin to form between dog and human.

Dogs are inherently social creatures, and like humans, they need love, attention and interaction to remain happy and healthy – both physically and mentally. Tragically, these thirty plus dogs that were seized by law enforcement due to the horrendous conditions of their “home” did not receive any of these important basic needs. As a result, they are extremely apathetic and fearful when it comes to dealing with people. The rescue team is working fervently to make the dogs more comfortable and trusting, and every day, we see enormous progress and promise.

One special girl, who we nicknamed “Darling,” started out cautious and nervous just like her furry companions – a consequence of their highly neglected upbringing. However, she continues to come out of her shell and become more comfortable and relaxed when being handled by the first responders. In just the last few days, a noticeable change can be seen in her demeanor. Instead of cowering when approached, her face lights up with joy and she begins to wiggle and wag her tail in excitement. She has come so far as to jump up on the responders and nuzzle up to them asking for attention. We have started to form a connection with “Darling,” and this is the power of the human-animal bond in action.

“Darling” with Laura, an American Humane Rescue volunteer has who has been volunteering since 2011.

This is such a change from the skittish dog we first met, and we can’t wait to see the progress continue for Darling and all of the other dogs. It’s stories like this that keep us going.

To help us save, treat, care for and rehabilitate these sweet dogs that are in need of love, donate at


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