The upcoming (and first-ever!) StyleBlueprint-Hollywood Feed Best Dog in the Mid-South contest starts soon – and we can’t wait to meet all the precious pups of the Mid-South!
On October 15, 2016, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. you can bring your dog to one of three Hollywood Feed locations (2015 Union Ave., Memphis, TN 38104; 5502 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN 38119 or 3615 Houston Levee Road, Collierville, TN 38017) to have their picture taken and to enter your dog into our contest. All breeds are welcome. A panel of judges from StyleBlueprint and Hollywood Feed will choose the finalists for the contest, which launches on October 19, 2016. Voting takes place online and lasts until October 26, 2016. Our winner will be announced on October 28, 2016! The winner, chosen by a panel of judges and our loyal readers, will receive a year’s supply of dog food from Hollywood Feed! We couldn’t think of a better way to announce the contest than by introducing our readers to the founders of the Streetdog Foundation, who are committed to finding forever homes for stray and unwanted dogs in Memphis.
It has said that the dog is a man’s best friend but here in Memphis, a homeless dog’s best friends may just be Melanie and Kent Pafford, a loving couple who have helped more than 800 dogs find their forever homes.
The Paffords never intended to start an organization dedicated to helping rescue dogs from the streets and shelters of greater Memphis but in 2009 as they helped a friend look for a lost American bulldog, they realized they had found a calling. As they looked at the hundreds of dogs at Memphis Animal Services, they saw faces, says Melanie. They saw grandmothers and teenagers and babies in every dog at the shelter.
“Nobody looks in their eyes,” says Melanie. “They don’t want to look in their eyes because they know their fate. In there are lost souls and we just felt that, too.”
The Paffords left the shelter that day with one American bulldog (not the one their friend was searching for, unfortunately), two other dogs and a steely resolve. “We knew we couldn’t un-see and un-feel what we had experienced that day,” says Melanie. “Holding hands across the table, we decided this was going to be our mission.”
That mission is called Streetdog Foundation, a grassroots organization with a focus of rescuing dogs from the street and from shelters and helping place those dogs in the right homes across the area. Melanie is a choreographer and Kent is an air traffic controller, so their jobs often have them working the late shift, which left them time during the day to create the structure for the foundation — building an all-volunteer force of dog walkers, adoption counselors, foster families, fundraisers and trainers.
As of this writing, there are about 150 dogs being fostered through Streetdog. Foster families are everyone from longtime dog lovers to those who were adopted by a dog that wandered into their yard. Melanie and Kent take calls and one of their first tasks is to help convince those who have been kind enough to take in a lost dog to keep it – temporarily.
“We tell people we’re not asking them to keep the dog forever, just for a few days or a week, until we can find a foster family,” says Melanie. Kent notes that argument usually works, as people will usually agree to care for a dog in the short term. Streetdog makes it easy for folks to say yes by providing everything from leashes to crates for foster parents. Many of the dogs rescued by Streetdog volunteers require medical treatment, as well.
Hollywood Feed is a partner of Streetdog, helping through product donations, employees fostering dogs and holding adoption events at its stores throughout Memphis. “Melanie and Kent have made a commitment to help the dogs of Memphis and Hollywood Feed is always happy to partner alongside them,” says Hollywood Feed’s Jean McGhee, who notes their commitment to pitbulls, “an often misunderstood breed very close to our hearts.”
Hollywood Feed also promotes the foundation’s Howl at the Moon fundraiser, an all-out extravaganza of music and dining that takes place at The Warehouse in the South Main Historic District. The Warehouse’s Kris Kourdouvelis is a supporter of the foundation and opens the giant space for the fundraiser each year. This year’s fundraiser is November 12 and tickets are $40 in advance; $50 at the door.
While finding permanent homes for rescue dogs is the primary goal of Streetdog, Melanie, Kent and their 400-strong volunteer force are equally committed to finding the right home for each dog.
“When they (foster families) adopt their dog out, they don’t have to worry whether it is the right home for the dog or whether it is a safe home for the dog,” says Kent. All applicants are vetted and dogs and humans are matched as carefully as possible.
Thanks to Lisa Buser for her great photos of the Paffords and their pups!
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