Volunteer Spirit: Facebook-er finds homes for more than 500 dogs

KNOXVILLE, TN (WVLT) -- It's not a shelter or a pound, but serves as a perfect home base for magical match-ups.

The "Plaid Apron" restaurant in Sequoya Hills is where you can often find Tinah Utsman's mobile office.

She is the founder of the TRU Dog Network.

"I use Facebook for the good of dog. I have 5,000 facebook friends to help network and find dogs homes. I help shelters, divorced dogs, people who have been affected by the economy, find homes," says Utsman."

She started the network more than 6 years ago when she adopted Louise, a pitbull, whose family could no longer care for her.

Utsman's home had been robbed, and police suggested a good watchdog to keep criminals away.

"We became a team, and then I thought more people should realize what a dog does for a person. So many more dogs like Louise out there need homes. according to Utsman."

Barbara Grobicki adopted two small dogs through TRU named Muffin and Peanut.

"One of the pictures of Peanut crossed my desk, I just looked at him. They said he had only one eye and crooked leg. I went to meet him and said I have to have him."

And then there's Axel the pug, who has a home now with Angie Evans, thanks to Tinah's Networking.

Angie says, "Tinah knew my husband was looking for a pug. She sent me a text with a picture of him. He was lost on highway and picked up by a police officer. They kept him for the required amount of days. He needed a new home."

And over the last six years Tinah has rescued and placed more than 500 dogs in loving homes.

It's not a job, but a passion, it's volunteer spirit.

Utsman says, "I do it because I love it, I don't get paid."

Sadly, Tinah's dog Louise recently expired, but not before she inspired.


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  • by Sharon Location: Chattanooga on Jan 30, 2012 at 08:16 AM
    TRU Dog Network is the best. I have received so many emails regarding the creator of the network for several years. She is very dedicated and sincere. Wish more people would go to the shelters and give a wonderful dog a good home. I encourage all my friends and co-workers to save a life not buy a life. God bless all dog lovers and God bless TRU.
  • by KD Location: Knoxville on Jan 11, 2012 at 03:02 PM
    Amazing and awe-inspiring!
  • by Ruth Location: Knoxville on Jan 9, 2012 at 09:09 AM
    It's great to see a story about one of the folks in our community who are making a difference for dogs that need rehoming. I know Tinah through her network and am so glad that she thought of using facebook to network in a more organized way for the benefit of homeless dogs. I would love to see more stories about the people in our community who advocate for those without voices to speak for themselves.
  • by Karen Location: Knoxville on Jan 9, 2012 at 08:58 AM
    Tinah is TRUly amazing. I found my little dog thru her network and I've been fortunate enough to place two stray dogs with new homes through Tinah's network. Please continue the outstanding job you do, Tinah.
  • by Lindsey Location: Knoxville on Jan 9, 2012 at 08:31 AM
    For almost three years now, I've watched Tinah carry out her passion for dogs with her TRU Dog Network. It's great to see this recognition for all her efforts. It's also refreshing to see FaceBook used as a positive tool. Way to go, T!
  • by Dan Location: Maryville on Jan 9, 2012 at 06:54 AM
    Thanks Tinah for all that you do and thanks Michelle for the great story. Tinah is such a giving and caring person, I will never forget how she helped me when I was in grad school.
  • by MSamstag Location: Knoxville on Jan 7, 2012 at 11:30 AM
    I adopted my Juno through Tina's network and also found the inspiration for our documentary, Tails in Flight thanks to Tinah. I now foster puppies and have saved dozens of dogs. All thanks to Tinah!
  • by kp Location: Murrrville on Jan 6, 2012 at 11:05 AM
    TRU's network of amazing people helped to place two abandoned dogs that came across my path. Thanks Tinah!
  • by Tinah Location: Knoxville on Jan 6, 2012 at 10:05 AM
    just a reminder....i am a networker, not a rescuer...too emotional to rescue...but i couldn't help the dogs without my rescue friends!!!!
  • by LikikiHwyHI Location: Honolulu, Hawaii on Jan 6, 2012 at 09:59 AM
    We need TRU Dog Network in Hawaii.... there are many misplaced cats and dogs.
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