Tanya Willis is the Executive Director of Agape Animal Rescue and has been tirelessly rescuing dogs since 2001. Tanya is married to Josh Willis who also shares her love and passion for helping the dogs in our community. Tanya and Josh are the proud parents of daughters McKenzie, Madelyn, and Marley who are currently Agape volunteers-in-training. Tanya’s passion for rescue was sparked one day by the discovery of a litter of Golden Labrador puppies abandoned in a ditch. The runt of the litter (Mack) touched Tanya’s heart so completely that he soon found his place in her home. All of his siblings found forever homes as well. Due to Mack’s influence Tanya began working with various animal rescues in and around Nashville. In 2004, Agape was born after Tanya decided to forge ahead on her own with the knowledge she had gained as a volunteer.
As Tanya developed her leadership skills and gained valuable experience in the rescue world, Mack progressed as her loyal sidekick and spiritual inspiration for the program. The runt she had found discarded and broken in the ditch eventually grew into a healthy and vibrant 102 pound organizational mascot. Mack passed away from liver cancer in 2016 but his legacy thrives on through the lives being saved at Agape Animal Rescue.
Since the spark of her passion was ignited, Tanya has adopted many other furry children. Currently living in the household alongside Tanya and Josh’s human daughters are Wallace, Bruce and Bella. Wallace, the “awkward child” of the home is a Shih Tzu who was found outside a Laundromat in Alabama. After seeing him posted online, Tanya and Josh adopted him that very same day and dubbed him William Wallace Willis named after Josh’s favorite movie Braveheart. The other hairy brother, Sir Robert the Bruce Willis (Bruce) is a Newfoundland who was posted on Craigslist before the family reached out to Agape for support. After fostering Bruce for only a few short weeks the Willis family knew he was meant to be with them forever and they made the adoption official. Princess Isabella Willis (Bella) is the most recent rescue to join the Willis family. She found herself dumped at a veterinarian’s office just 3 days before Christmas. Tanya and Josh welcomed her with open arms and knew she would be a perfect forever family member for them as well. Bella is currently a certified therapy dog serving children as they push through different obstacles in their lives.
Tanya and her family are dedicated to making a difference for the animals in our community for many years to come.
Photo by: Mandy Whitley Photography