Six dogs and three years later, it’s safe to say that Misfit Hounds has changed her life in a way few things can.
“It’s everything,” McKeel said. “My life has changed — and every way for the better. Absolutely better.”
And at a fundraiser at the Millennium Center on Friday night, it’s likely that at least one of the dozens of fundraiser attendees will also have their life changed, though maybe not as fundamentally as McKeel’s.
“With the benefit here, what we’re hoping to do is to buy a piece of property and expand and hopefully go from around 22 dogs in the rescue to get close to doubling that,” said Misfit Hounds founder Brad Marlow.
To do that, they’re looking to raise to raise a few thousand dollars, with Marlow saying that ideally they’d be able to raise around $5,000, but that “anything we make is great.”
The benefit featured both a silent and traditional auction for items donated from over 60 regional and national organizations such as Bristol Motor Speedway, East Tennessee State University, Guy Harvey, Barter Theatre and Ober Gatlinburg, among dozens of others.
“I’m very thankful for the local support, thankful for the support for a local animal rescue,” said Ashley Vaughn West, who organized the fundraiser.
And though most — if not all — of the dogs Misfit Hounds cares for are senior hound breeds, McKeel says you shouldn’t let an older dog scare you off, even if it means they won’t be in your life as long as a younger dog would.
“They’re the ones that nobody wants,” she said. “And they’re the ones, in my opinion, that deserve it the most. They’re the ones that are left in the shelters, and basically just (left).
“Some people will say, ‘Oh I don’t want a dog for (just) a year,’ but, in my opinion, making that year worthwhile is worth every bit of it,” she added. “I lost one last month, but we had him for a year and a half, and it was pure bliss the entire time.”
For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit www.themisfithounds.weebly.com, or visit their Instagram or Facebook page at misfithounds138.
“Even if they only have six months, a year, it’s definitely worth making them realize what love is — real, unconditional love,” McKeel said.