Tiny Paws Sanctuary for Special Needs Animals is located in beautiful East Tennessee among the hills and valleys of Appalachia. We are a 501(c)(3) organization guided by a board of directors.
Tiny Paws is the home of the sick, handicapped, senior, and/or formally abused animals. Many of our animals were puppy mill and hoarding rescues. Others from individual homes where they suffered physical and emotional scars from their treatment. A few came from good homes, but the family could not afford the veterinary care for a chronic illness. Others lost their humans and because of their medical condition, needed a special place to live.
Our founder and executive director, Jamie Farris, is the full time caretaker and lives with the animals. Jamie works daily to feed, medicate, clean and enrich their lives.
Even though most of our animals had sad beginnings, Tiny Paws is a happy place. Among the barking and purring of the cats, you will also hear zebra finches chirp, the rescued mice chatter, the guinea pig whistling and squealing, and the chickens clucking. We have found that a regular routine, not only makes the management of the animals easier, but keeps the animals calmer. This routine repetition often helps us earn the trust of a dog or cat as he or she learns to expect good treatment, regular feedings, and even daily naps. We believe strongly in the "power of pack love" particularly among the dogs. The established pack teach the new members the routine, but more importantly, that the caretaker, can be trusted. Several years ago, Teddy, the pack leader, began a daily howl. It has become a key in the rehabilitation of the animals. All the dogs participate, and when it is over, everyone rests and the sound of silence brings a sense of peace to Tiny Paws.
Many Tiny Paws residents have special physical needs requiring prescription and over-the-counter medication. This medical cost alone averages $12,000 per year, but it keeps the animals comfortable and gives them a good quality life for as long as possible.
Several dogs and cats are on special food including Royal Canin Urinary S/O dry dog and cat food, as well as Royal Canin Glycobalance for Diabetes. Natures Recipe Grain Free Salmon is used on dogs with skin allergies. Dogs not on prescription food, eat Purina One Vibrant Maturity. The cats not on prescription food, eat Purina One Tender Selects dry cat food. Feeding time at Tiny Paws is a combination of careful planning mixed with a little bit of chaos, as everyone waits for their bowls.
A daily cleaning schedule is in place to ensure that the animals have a healthy, disinfected environment. An average of 2-4 loads of laundry are done every day. The use of three rain barrels and indoor and outdoor clothes lines greatly reduce the cost of this daily regiment. Feeding and cleaning takes 2-3 hours each morning and is repeated in the evenings. Cleaning supplies cost about $1600 per year. Additional supplies add another $800.
The cost and time required to care for this special group of animals with all their medical needs, past traumas, and behavioral issues is worth it all.
Recently, our board voted to begin a pet food bank, the first of its kind in Hawkins County. We are still in the planning stages, but hope to be ready by April 1, 2020.