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 lifelong animal rescuer and writer, our founder and publisher Heather Dowdy launched Nashville Paw in April 2006 as a free community resource to celebrate the pet lifestyle as well as to support local animal rescue and welfare. Heather 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 Nashville Business Journal, and was recently presented with the Frankie’s Best Friend Award from the national animal welfare organization Frankie’s Friends. She is grateful to share her heart and home with her loving and supportive husband, Chris, and their rescued dogs Briley, Shelby and Molly. 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, including Animal Fair and Fido Friendly, as well as in local magazines such as Nashville Lifestyles and Her. Her work has also been published in the hard cover book, "Little Dog: A Love Story", published by Hodder. Feel free to drop her a line anytime at

Lauren Finney
Art + Design Director

Lauren Finney joined our team in 2011 as our art and design director. With an extensive background in the design of everything from large-scale museum exhibits to ad campaigns and publications, her signature clean, modern design brings beauty and functionality to our magazine. In other words: she has mad skills! Lauren is an incredibly compassionate and dedicated advocate who donates much of her time to make Nashville Paw a publication we can all be proud of. A self-proclaimed cat lady, Lauren works tirelessly to help feral cats in her East Nashville ‘hood where she lives with her husband, Mark, and their six cats, Zoe, Mystery, Ellington, Robin Hood, Bella Luna and Hermione.

Michelle Conner
Contributing Photographer

We are thrilled to welcome photographer Michelle Conner to our freelance team as of our August 2013 issue!  While Michelle has only been in the Nashville area for about a year, she's already making a tremendous impact with her beautiful photography, donating time to photograph adoptable pets with Snooty Giggles Dog Rescue and more. Want to capture treasured memories of your furry family? Michelle's "Whisker Sessions" are now available for Nashville and the surrounding areas, offering beautiful pet portraits that reflect your pet's unique style and personality. For more info, check her out online at!

Rebekah Olsen
Contributing Writer

Rebekah Olsen is a freelance writer who specializes in feature stories about people, places, pets, pilots and 'preneurs (aka business). She lives in Memphis with her husband, Matt, and their dog, Midas. In addition to writing, Rebekah and her husband own a small business and volunteer their time mentoring underprivileged youth and fostering rescue dogs. You can check out her blog 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.

Paula Hiltunen
Community Event Assistant

Paula has been a smiling face at Nashville Paw events since 2009, when she began helping out with her rescued Sheltie, Remington. After Remie's passing, she rescued another Sheltie, Roxie, who now accompanies her when she works our event registration tables. Her positive attitude, heart for animals and love of people always helps make our community events better, and more recently she's come on board in an official capacity as a freelance event assistant. We are fortunate to have Paula and Roxie as members of Team Paw!

And a very special thanks to the delivery team who makes our magazine possible each issue!
Cathy Brockway, Millie Brown, Morgan Castillo, Hing Hoskins, Amber King, Stephanie McKee, Carol Medley-Herron, Maggie Odle, Meredith Robinson, Cindy & Bob Rudolph, and Marge Wild.

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.