Dixie Pet Underground Railroad

Partnering with Adopters and Caretakers to Help Dogs and Cats


It all begins with the application! Check our adoptable pets and if you find one that seems like it might be the perfect addition to your family, complete our adoption application and e-mail it to [email protected].

LOCAL ADOPTIONS: We strongly encourage local adopters to visit Cleveland Animal Control or the SPCA of Bradley County. if you are searching for a new family member. Dogs and cats at the shelters are kept for a very limited time before they are killed. The adoption fee is $50 and covers spay/neuter, first set of vaccinations and de-worming. Because of this, we do not perform local adoptions.

NORTHEAST ADOPTION PROGRAM: For adopters outside the local area, including those in the northeast, once your application is approved, we'll give you a call. During the telephone call we'll tell you more about the pet you've chosen, tell you more about how the pet will get to you and when, explain the veterinary care the pet has received and try to answer any questions you might have. If you decide to commit to adopting the pet, we'll then send you several e-mails to complete the process. Your adoption fee will be paid via a Paypal invoice and you'll return your adoption contract and commitment contract to us. We'll then book your pet's transport via a USDA-licensed pet transport service and your new family member will soon be on his or her way to you!

For our Northeast Adoption Program, the standard adoption fee for dogs is $450 and the standard adoption fee for cats is $300. For local adoptions, the adoption fee is significantly reduced. The difference in the local fee and the Northeast Adoption Program fee is the result of the increased expense to Dixie Pet Underground Railroad for additional veterinary care, Interstate Health Certificates and transportation for those pets who are traveling great distances. 


VETERINARY CARE: Dogs and cats, puppies and kittens are up-to-date on their vaccinations, spayed/neutered, de-wormed, treated for fleas/ticks and heartworm negative before leaving rescue. You will receive complete medical records for your dog or puppy, cat or kitten at the time of adoption. If your pet is being transported to you, the pet will go for a health examination and be issued an interstate health certificate and you will be given the original document when you receive your pet.

DEATH ROW: All of our pets come into rescue from the 'death row' of animal shelters in the south, or are owner surrenders or strays who were 'pound bound' before coming into rescue. Adopting a pet from the Dixie Pet Underground Railroad means you are truly part of a partnership to save the life of the dog or puppy, cat or kitten, that you welcome into your family. Our dogs and puppies, cats and kittens are fostered at our rescue in Tennessee, meaning that it isn't always possible to meet the dog or puppy, cat or kitten before adoption, depending upon where you live.




Three 9-month-old feral puppies began the Dixie Pet Underground Railroad. When Beth Foster was faced with the prospect of finding homes for three feral puppies -- Jackie, Zorra and Freckles -- she was at a loss. There were 7,000 perfectly adoptable dogs and cats being killed in  her county's animal shelter -- not to mention the thousands and thousands of others being killed at other shelters in the area. Where could three terrified feral puppies find a home? Through chance meetings or divine intervention, Beth was introduced to Cindy Rhoda of Pooches on the Move. Zorra and Freckles quickly found homes in the northeast (Jackie stayed with Beth) and the Dixie Pet Underground Railroad had begun. In the ensuing months, Beth and Betti Gravelle, executive director of Dixie Dogs & Cats, emptied Cleveland Animal Control of all its dogs and cats twice--sending the pets to forever homes in the northeast and the Dixie Pet Underground Railroad really began to move.



Dixie Pet Underground Railroad

315 Homestead St., Cleveland, TN 37323

[email protected]












Here in this house ... I will never know the loneliness I hear in the barks of the other dogs "out there." I can sleep soundly, assured that when I wake my world will not have changed. I will never know hunger, or the fear of not knowing if I'll eat. I will not shiver in the cold, or grow weary from the heat. I will feel the sun's heat, and the rain's coolness, and be allowed to smell all that can reach my nose. My fur will shine, and never be dirty or matted.

Here in this house ... There will be an effort to communicate on my level ... I will be talked to and, even if I don't understand, I can enjoy the warmth of the words. I will be given a name so that I may know who I am among many. My name will be used in joy, and I will love the sound of it.


Here in this house ... I will never be a substitute for anything I am not. I will never be used to improve peoples' images of themselves. I will be loved because I am who I am, not someone's idea of who I should be. I will never suffer for someone's anger, impatience or stupidity. I will be taught all the things I need to know to be loved by all. If I do not learn my lessons well, they will look to my teacher for blame.

Here in this house ... I can trust arms that hold, hands that touch ... knowing that, no matter what they do, they do it for the good of me. If I am ill, I will be doctored. If scared, I will be calmed. If sad, I will be cheered. No matter what I look like, I will be considered beautiful and thought to be of value. I will never be cast out because I am too old, too ill, too unruly, or not cute enough. My life is a responsibility, and not an afterthought. I will learn that humans can almost, sometimes, be as kind and as fair as dogs.

Here in this house ... I will belong, I will be home.


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