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M. F. Jones  

Writer, Editor, Animal Advocate

A Heart for Shelter Dogs

The animal shelter I call Northside in this blog annually takes in over six thousand animals, mostly dogs and cats. Some are surrendered because of crises in their humans' lives; others have been abandoned or abused. 

As a longtime volunteer at Northside I chronicled the daily dramas I witnessed and was often a part of. My posts are mainly about dogs because they are the animals with whom I have the strongest bond of love and understanding. 

I hope these stories will open reader's minds to the diversity and exemplary qualities of shelter dogs, and move people to adopt their animal companions from rescue organizations. I hope, too, that my writing will open hearts and inspire people to work for a kinder world for all creatures. 

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Posted by M. F. Jones on July 9, 2021 at 12:50 AM

In my last post ("Volunteers Do It For Love, Part I) I gave a tour of the animal shelter where I volunteer, to show the wide variety of roles that my fellow volunteers fill onsite.

But outside the building, throughout the community, countless people are donating their time, passions and talents, day and night, year round, for the benefit of shelter animals. Many of their contributions are unrecognized, unsung, and they deserve to be celebrated.

The followin...

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Posted by M. F. Jones on July 8, 2021 at 1:30 PM

Have you ever thought you’d like to volunteer at an animal shelter, and wondered what kinds of opportunities are available and how your gifts might align with the shelter’s needs? Take a tour with me on this Saturday around our busy shelter, to see the many roles volunteers play. Maybe one of these jobs will seem like a perfect fit for you.

Entering the building we’re greeted by Elaine at the information table inside the front door. Her job is to welcome...

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Posted by M. F. Jones on July 8, 2021 at 1:30 PM

A Love Letter


You’re sleeping now on the rug in my office as I write, dreams flickering behind your eyes, making your paws twitch. Looking at you I smile, and my heart squeezes.

Despite having loved all our other dogs totally, I have to say that you might be the all-around best one ever. You have never destroyed anything; you don’t have to be told things twice; you lie quietly in your bed beside ours until we decide to get up; you love other d...

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Posted by M. F. Jones on July 8, 2021 at 1:15 PM

When most people think about getting a dog, what options do they consider?

Speaking personally, in years gone by, my husband and I, infatuated with golden retrievers, sought out breeders and vetted them until we were sure that they were responsible in their practices, not just casual backyard pup producers looking to make a buck. Equally, they vetted us, nearly as thoroughly as if we were adopting a child. We paid a lot of money and got a succession of three beautiful dogs w...

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Posted by M. F. Jones on July 8, 2021 at 1:05 PM

When I tell people I volunteer at an animal shelter, I sometimes see their faces fall, and they'll say something like, "I could never do that. It would break my heart." I believe this reaction is based on certain misconceptions and would like to try to correct them here. 


Misconception #1: Shelters are sad places. A well-run shelter is actually quite a hopeful and cheerful place. First of all, in the words of the volunteer coordinator who trained my class of new...

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Posted by M. F. Jones on July 8, 2021 at 11:15 AM

When my husband and I moved from New York to Tennessee four years ago, we left behind our full-time jobs. My husband, a former orchestral trumpet player and music professor, took up composing, learning the piano, and studying music with a focus that had been impossible in his busy working life. His days were happily filled.

Although I continued a part-time magazine editing job, and m...

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