CMA Fest’s Most Surprising Stars Are Nashville’s Shelter Dogs

Six-year-old Aubrey will be one of the 14 dogs in attendance at the celebrity softball game on Saturday. Credit: Metro Animal Care and Control

Six-year-old Aubrey will be one of the 14 dogs in attendance at the celebrity softball game on Saturday. (Credit: Metro Animal Care and Control)

The thousands of tourists who come for CMA Fest aren’t just good for the country music business or downtown hotels. They’re also good for pet adoption.

Last year, the country music festival was the second largest adoption event of the year for Metro Animal Care and Control, thanks in part to canine-loving tourists from out of town.

“They finished their fun time at CMA Fest, and then they came to the shelter and picked up their dog,” says Rebecca Morris, the agency’s spokeswoman.

A few days before this year’s event, the kennel at the Metro Animal Care shelter was full of barking dogs waiting to be adopted — including Aubrey, a sweet, 6-year-old beagle mix. She is one of the 14 dogs that will be up for adoption at the CMA’s celebrity softball game on Saturday.

Morris says this is an important day for the shelter.

“The summertime is a hard time for shelters in general. We tend to be at capacity every week.”

And adoption opens up a space for another animal. Last year, the agency took in 2,400 dogs and euthanized 60 percent — three times the adoption rate. And both of those numbers were an improvement from the year before.

The agency was criticized in February 2013 for its high euthanasia rates. Activists pointed out that Nashville far exceeded cities like Denver, which had a 16 percent kill rate, and called for more funding and partnerships with nonprofits.

Morris says the shelter has made “significant strides” in the past year in increasing adoption numbers. The shelter now gives out discounts throughout the year and has a Facebook page filled with adorable pictures of adoptable pets.

It will cost $90 to adopt a dog at Saturday’s event. Cats won’t be there, but for all those feline lovers, the shelter is promoting a special $5 adoption rate this month.

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