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Bonaparte’s Retreat

Bonaparte’s Retreat Dog Rescue located in Nashville, Tennessee is a small foster-based 501(c)3 pet adoption, community service, nonprofit organization. It was founded in 2004 by Emmylou Harris, a fourteen-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, musician, and lifelong dog lover. Bonaparte’s Retreat was named in memory of one of Harris’s beloved adopted shelter dogs, Bonaparte.

Bonaparte, possibly a poodle mix, loved interacting with people and other animals and because of his friendly personality Harris decided to take him on the road with her. He became her constant companion for 10 years until he passed suddenly in 2002. Harris was devastated and said, “Once you have the experience of having a dog on the road with you, you don’t realize how lonely you’ve been without one.” As a tribute to her loyal traveling companion, she wrote the very personal and moving song, “Not Enough.”

Oh my darling, I miss you so

How I loved you, you’ll never know

Though it’s time for me to let you go

Oh my darling, I’ll miss you so . . .

In July of 2004 she took in her first shelter dog. Her focus has always been to help shelter dogs who might otherwise be overlooked or passed over due to age, size, neglect or medical concerns. To this day she continues to rescue, nurture, care for, and find forever homes for adoptable dogs who would otherwise be euthanized after their allotted shelter time has expired. According to Heather Hixson, Communications and Marketing Coordinator of Bonaparte’s Retreat, “Bonaparte’s Retreat pulls the majority of our dogs from Metro Animal Care & Control (MACC) in Nashville. We focus on pulling the neglected and forgotten—senior dogs, large dogs, or dogs in need of imminent medical care or surgery. Our mission is to love and care for these wonderful animals for as long as it takes to find their forever homes.”

Dogs available for adoption through Bonaparte’s Retreat can be viewed here. Because they are foster-based Bonaparte’s Retreat does not have a public facility. Animals in their care are placed in foster homes. All of the dogs to be adopted out have been vaccinated, spayed or neutered, tested for heart worms and either treated or started on prevention. They are also current on flea and tick prevention.

The Adoption Process is as follows:

1. Submit an on-line application

2. If approved, meet and greet with the dog

3. A home check visit

4. 3-week trial adoption

5. Sign adoption contract

If for any reason the match is not a good fit, the dog must be returned to Bonaparte’s Retreat. Caring for an animal is a lifelong commitment, and the match must be right.

Looking forward to the next 5 years, Bonaparte’s Retreat hopes to increase funding and expand its donor base so it can continue to rescue dogs with extensive medical needs who might not otherwise find placement through local shelters. As Heather Hixson notes, Bonaparte’s Retreat will work to “increase awareness of Bonaparte’s Retreat through local partnerships and continue to grow our foster base to increase the number of animals we can pull, care for, and find furever homes for.”

Contact information Address: A P.O. Box 150232, Nashville, TN 37251 Phone: (615) 484-5193 Email: Website:

By Roberta Sullivan

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