Meet Our Team

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About Nashville Paw Magazine

Nashville Paw is proud to be Middle Tennessee's community pet magazine celebrating the pet lifestyle and supporting animal rescue and welfare since 2006. Published six times per year, each bimonthly issue is distributed for free pick-up to Whole Foods stores, as well as to more than 200 high-traffic locations such as luxury hotels, cafes, restaurants, salons and pet businesses, as well as sidewalk boxes and at local events. Each issue is also direct mailed to a growing number of subscribers and is available on our website in digital format. In print and online, we connect with 50,000+ engaged, passionate and loyal pet lovers throughout Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Sumner and Wilson counties every issue.

Nashville Paw provides trusted resources and engaging content in every beautifully designed, full color issue as well as online and via our social media pages and email network. However, we are more than just a magazine. We are, at our core, a grassroots effort that is deeply committed to helping the animals across our community by empowering our readers to get involved and by actively uniting local animal lovers for our common cause. We host a variety of pet-friendly events throughout the year, donate advertising to many local nonprofits and fundraisers, and help raise vital funds for spay and neuter.

Simply put, Nashville Paw is a powerful and united network of pet lovers and animal advocates just like yourself! We hope you’ll join us in our mission today!

Meet Our Team

Heather Dowdy
Founder + Publisher

A native of Chattanooga, Heather lived in Chicago from 1998-2005, after which she relocated to Nashville. A lifelong animal rescuer and writer, she launched this magazine in April 2006 as a free community resource to celebrate the pet lifestyle as well as to support local animal rescue and welfare. She is grateful to share her heart and home with her loving and supportive husband, Chris (who helps at many of our events), and their rescued dogs Briley and MollyBear. They lost their beloved Shelby -- their dog of 13 years and the inspiration behind this magazine - in February 2016.

In addition to her own work with Nashville Paw, Heather's feature articles have been published in a variety of national pet and travel magazines. She was honored to be named a winner in the 2011 Women of Influence Awards in the Nashville Business Journal and to be featured on a 2013 cover of the same publication; she was also presented with the Frankie’s Best Friend Award from the national animal welfare organization Frankie’s Friends in 2013. This magazine and mission is her heart’s passion, and she is incredibly grateful for the chance to do this work each day! Y

Feel free to drop her a line anytime at

Lauren Finney
Art + Design Director

Lauren joined our team in 2011 as our freelance art and design director. With an extensive background in the design of everything from large-scale museum exhibits to ad campaigns and publications, her clean, modern design continues to bring beauty and functionality to our magazine.

Lauren is an incredibly compassionate and dedicated advocate who works tirelessly to help feral cats in her East Nashville neighborhood, where she lives with her husband, Mark, and their six cats, Zoe, Mystery, Ellington, Robin Hood, Bella Luna and Hermione. This publication simply would not be possible without her continued dedication and efforts, and we are beyond grateful to have her talent and heart on our team!

Michelle Conner
Contributing Photographer

A lifelong animal lover, Michelle joined our freelance team in the summer of 2013. Her beautiful photography captures the true personality and spirit of the pets we feature on our covers and in our editorial content, and her work lends so much to our publication each issue. She made the move to Middle Tennessee in 2012 and has already made a big impact on our community by donating her time to photograph adoptable pets at Snooty Giggles Dog Rescue, Williamson County Animal Center and others.

“Photography is a rewarding career in itself, but the most fulfilling aspect of my job is giving back to the rescue community,” she says. “A single photograph can often be the catalyst for an abused or homeless animal in finding a loving family, and creating a brand new story.”

Michelle lives in Murfreesboro with her fiancé, Chris, their cat, Logan, and two pup pals: Gracie, adopted from Snooty Giggles and Clarabelle, adopted from Agape Animal Rescue. Want to capture treasured memories of your own furry family? Michelle's "Whisker Sessions" are a fun and affordable way to enjoy beautiful portraits that reflect your pet's unique personality. For more info, check her out online at

Rebekah Olsen
Contributing Writer

Rebekah is a professional writer who contributes to a number of publications and blogs. She lives in Memphis with her husband, Matt, and their fur-child, a Cane Corso named Midas.

"I've always been a writer, but I didn't start writing professionally until four years ago,” she says. “I was fostering a puppy—he ripped through our home and hearts like a tornado—and after he went to his forever home, I sat down and wrote about the experience. I realized then that I wanted to merge my passion for writing and pets together. Heather gave me the opportunity by writing for Nashville Paw.”

Rebekah has made an incredible addition to our team, penning some of our best feature editorial as well as much of the content on our blog at Feel free to visit her online at

Dana Costantino
Advertising Account Rep

Dana is our newest member of the team, joining us in March. A recent transplant from Los Angeles with a background in advertising, yoga and dogs, we think she’s a great fit for our grassroots mission! Dana will be helping to grow our free publication by expanding our advertising market within Middle Tennessee.

“I am excited to be on board because I am passionate about dogs and making the world a better place,” she says. She shares her life with her adorable rescued pooch pal, Patrick. Together, they live in West Nashville. You can reach her at

Pam Johnson-Bennett
Contributing Columnist

Pam Johnson-Bennett is a certified cat behavior consultant and star of the television series Psycho Kitty airing in the UK on Discovery Channel and in Canada on Nat Geo Wild. Her column, “The Feline Kind” appears in each issue of Nashville Paw. Pam is the best-selling author of seven books and owns Cat Behavior Associates, a private veterinarian-referred behavior company based in Nashville. For more information, visit her website at

Marlene Richardson
Contributing Writer and Photographer

Marlene Richardson is a member of the House Rabbit Society and has been a rabbit enthusiast and rescuer for over 15 years. She volunteers for Southern Bunny Advocacy, Clover Patch Sanctuary and the SPCA of TN as well as at many Nashville Paw events. She and her husband, Brent, live in Nashville with their 7 rabbits, 2 dogs and 3 birds.

Delivery Team
Many thanks to Cathy Brockway, Millie Brown, Morgan Castillo, Hing Hoskins, Stephanie McKee, Carol Medley-Herron, Maggie Odle, Meredith Robinson, Cindy & Bob Rudolph, and Marge Wild for helping us get our magazines to stands each issue! Our mission would not be possible without their support.

Event Team
We would also like to thank the many individuals who regularly make our community events a success, including our core event team of Christyna Hall, Kristen Hendrickson, Jacey Houghteling, Christa Krasneck, Stephanie McKee and Marly Richardson as well as many others who help from time to time. Our community events would not be possible without these animal lovers!

Join Us
Interested in joining our team? If you are a writer or photographer, please view our Submission Guidelines; or, if you'd just like to lend a hand, please check out our page on volunteering at our fun events or via magazine delivery! And don't forget, we offer great internships, too!

Some of our "Team Paw" at our 2015 Barktoberfest event. Photo by Michelle Conner. Pictured are: Chris Dowdy, Heather Dowdy, Stephanie McKee, Kristen Hendrickson, Angela Bredt, Christyna Hall and Marly Richardson.