Emmylou Harris’s first calling in life was music. Her second? Pet adoption and animal rescue
Years ago, Harris started Bonaparte’s Retreat, a non-profit organization that seeks to rescue dogs that could not be adopted through the Nashville Humane Association. Bonaparte’s has since evolved into rescuing dogs that have run out of time at Metro Nashville Animal Control.
In an effort to raise greater awareness for animal-rescue and pet adoption, Harris will host the first annual 2012 Woofstock at the Fontanel Mansion, in Nashville, on August 18. All proceeds will benefit Bonaparte’s Retreat.
This all-day concert event (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) includes performers Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller and Shawn Camp, among various others. Admission is open to the public and tickets can be purchased in the form of a $20 donation, which will be collected at the gate the day of the event. Children twelve and under will be admitted for free. All proceeds will benefit Bonaparte’s Retreat.
We recently chatted with Emmy about the event and the issue of dog rescue.
What was the inspiration for Woofstock?
Well, we have a pet adoption event that’s in its third year now called Miracle on Music Row, where we have music and auction items and a parade. At the last event I was in a convertible holding this poor dog that was up for adoption that had been tied to a trailer for twelve years. He had been blind his whole life. Bonaparte’s Retreat ended up adopting him, by the way. So I’m holding this dog and we’re driving down the road and there’s a guy in a wheelchair with his little Chihuahua and he’s wheeling along and he says, “You need to have an event and call it Woofstock.” I swear to you!
And I thought, “What a great idea.” But then we saw that Woofstock is all over the country. So, because of the generosity of the Mandrells offering Fontanel, it became Woofstock at Fontanel.
Bonaparte’s Retreat seems to be very involved in educating the public about animal rescue. Has awareness increased?
I don’t know. I think it probably has. I mean, of course, I’m still right at the front lines at Metro Nashville Animal Control Services. There are close to a thousand animals. It’s just endless, the flow of unwanted dogs and cats. So obviously, people aren’t spaying and neutering. But we have to think positively and do positively. We have to try to get low-cost spaying and neutering and educate people and make it the hip thing to do, but also make it easy. We probably need more PSA’s [pet shelters].