Difference making through donations



Mary Ellen Tidwell realized other pathways had to be considered to keep animals from being put down. However, Blount County was never going to be able to adopt enough to get out of the situation.

Tidwell, of Crossing Paths Animal Rescue, and Jo Chamblee co-founded another division of Crossing Paths – Fix Your Mama, a donation-funded spay and neuter program.

“I have probably 50 animals waiting for a spay/neuter appointment at any one time, so I think that part of the equation is understood,” Chamblee said.“It’s very important and will one day get Blount County out of the killing business.”

In attempt to eradicate these killings, Chamblee and Tidwell continue to promote Fix Your Mama to keep litters of puppies and kittens from being born in an already crowded animal population.

Recently Jennifer Price picked up her dog, Gizmo, after utilizing the Fix Your Mama program.

“This is a godsend for low-income families,” Price said. “We had six dogs at one time, and they were all rescues. We didn’t have the money to get Gizmo fixed, but Fix Your Mama was able to help us. The animal population is out of control, and we need to be responsible.”

Ginni King also was picking up two dogs, Lollipop and Freckles, who she found abandoned. She said the program is especially helpful to her.

“If I see a dog abandoned on the side of the road, I won’t leave it,” she said.“The population is unrelenting in Blount County.”

Animals accepted in the program include female dogs and cats and male and female pit bulls.

The program has made evident improvements in the county, and Tidwell says she sees fewer abandoned animals when she visit shelters.

But Fix Your Mama is only part of what these ladies are doing to counteract the killing of these innocent animals. Crossing Paths Animal Rescue is continuing to do its part.

“Mary Ellen rescues animals, mostly dogs, from the pound but could save a lot more lives if she had additional foster homes,” Chamblee said.“Wonderful, healthy animals are dying at the pound because there’s nowhere for them to go for just a few weeks or months. There is no financial burden to fostering. Crossing Paths pays for everything.”

Chamblee said the animal rescue adopts more dogs than any rescue she has ever heard of. The group even has a heated/cooled truck to take animals to their new homes.

“Mary Ellen and her organization have worked so hard over the last eight years to make Crossing Paths the exception to the rule. I can’t emphasize enough that Blount County is fortunate to have her yet some don’t support her efforts to save these animals. I’m reminded of the Bible verse, ‘A prophet is not without honor but in his own country.’ I know from talking to the thousands of people who have taken advantage of Fix Your Mama that many Blount County residents love their animals deeply. However, somehow we must get them to extend the love and compassion they feel for their own dog or cat to those who are suffering or who have not even a dim hope of waking up in the morning.”

For more information, contact Tidwell at 559-7648.