Tracy and Scott were just an ordinary couple who stumbled upon their passion that would change the lives for not only hundreds of dogs but their new owners, too. In 2011 they started a non-profit organization called Tracy’s Dogs, and the work they would end up doing was incredible.
From the moment they saw the photo of the dog online, a couple instantly fell in love, and knew they had to rescue him. And because he was placed in a high-kill shelter, they needed to act fast. When they finally laid eyes on the dog for the first time, the tears started flowing…
A Dedicated Group of Volunteers
Based in San Antonio, Texas, Tracy’s Dogs is a non-profit animal rescue and rehabilitation center for canines. The staff is extremely passionate about helping these animals and need, and dedicate their time for free.
They all have the same goal: to find each dog a caring and loving forever home, and save every dog from having to step foot into a high-kill shelter. As you can imagine, it’s no easy feat, as lots of dogs are at risk.
Saving Dogs Since 2011
Tracy Voss and her husband Scott Whyatt had a passion for dogs, and in 2011, they decided to go above and beyond to take care of the dogs in their area who didn’t have a home. After learning about the National Animal Relocation Initiative.
They decided to dedicate their time to save the dogs who were brought to shelters that were already over-capacity. Those dogs would be at the highest risk for being put down because there would be no room for them.
Relocating the Dogs For Better Opportunities
After doing their research on the National Animal Relocation Initiative, they learned that there were other areas and animal shelters that had room for the pups while they waited for their new family to meet them and adopt them.
While some shelters were over-crowded, others still had room. Even if it meant driving another state, Tracy’s Dogs volunteers were ready to make that commitment to the animals they cared so much about.
Tracy’s Passion Arose When She Had Free Time
For about six weeks in 2011, Tracy found some downtime while she was furloughed from her job. During her time off, her husband Scott explained, “She started going down to the local city shelter in San Antonio to video dogs that they were stationing at another facility because they knew they wouldn’t get adopted.”
It wasn’t before long that the dogs were pulling at her heartstrings, and she knew that she had to continue her passion even after she went back to work full-time.
How The Organization Started
That’s how Tracy came up with the idea for Tracy’s Dogs. Scott said, “She started posting those videos on YouTube, and we started getting recognition from people all over the country wanting to adopt the dogs.”
YouTube and social media became a very important tool for Tracy. It’s how she got the word out about dogs who needed adopting. Pretty soon, Tracy had created an official non-profit. Everything was coming together.
They’ve Made A Huge Impact
Tracy’s Dogs has only been officially opperational for six years, but in that time, the organization has managed to rehome more than 3,700 dogs.
The team takes special care to ensure that every dog is going to a place where they can feel safe, loved, and cared for. Their adoption process is pretty rigorous. They don’t just give these adorable pups to any person who walks in off the street.
The Adoption Process
If you want to adopt a dog from Tracy’s Dogs, you have to fill out a lengthy online application. Then, a member of Tracy’s team reviews the application to figure out if the adopter is a good match for the dog.
Once the family is approved, they’ll be informed that their application was successful. But the application process doesn’t end there. Tracy’s team still has to figure out if the dog and the family get along.
Next Steps In The Process
After all of the paperwork is filled out, the potential adopters are contacted by a counselor from Tracy’s Dogs. The counselor helps the adopters find a dog that fits in well with their family.
Once the dog is safely in his or her new home, the adopters will pay for their new pet. That adoption fee gets put right back into the organization and it goes towards helping other dogs find good homes.
Tracy’s Dogs Has A Partner In PetSmart
Tracy’s team brings the dogs to meet their new families at a PetSmart close to where the family lives. The family can get to know their new pet in a positive, open space before they bring their new addition home.
Tracy’s Dogs and PetSmart are actually business partners, so Tracy has definitely got friends in high places. While at PetSmart, the family can also stock up on some dog owner essentials.
Scott’s Role In The Organization
Tracy’s husband, Scott drives the Tracy’s Dogs trailer. The dogs get to ride in the trailer when they’re being transported to their new owners. Often, Scott will bring a few dogs to a PetSmart at once, and the meeting turns into a sort of community event.
Everyone is so supportive on adoption day, and there are smiles and happy tears all around. It’s hard not to smile when you’re looking at a bunch of adorable dogs.
It’s An Emotional Event
It can be quite an emotional experience to meet your pet for the first time. Some of these adopters have only ever seen photos of the animal they’re about to invite into their homes, so it’s a big deal when they finally meet in the flesh.
There are a lot of tears at these adoptions event, but they’re all happy tears. The adoption process can be long and tedious, but it’s all worth it in the end.
Meet Brian And Megan
Brian Roseto and Megan Peters are very much in love. They contacted Tracy’s Dogs because they wanted to add another furry member to their family. They already had one dog at home, and they needed to find a pet that would get along well with other animals.
They knew they wanted to adopt because they wanted to be part of the solution. They wanted to keep dogs out of high-kill shelters.
How They Found Out About The Organization
Brian and Megan found out about Tracy’s Dogs through Petfinder, which is a website that specializes in pet adoption. While they were on Petfinder, they saw a photo of a gorgeous dog that they instantly fell in love with.
They decided that this was the dog they were looking for. They adopted him on the spot and later named their new addition, “Finn.” When they finally met their new dog, they were completely blown away.
Another Emotional Introduction
Finn wasn’t the only lucky dog who got to go home with a forever family that day. There were so many dogs who were meeting their new families outside of that very same PetSmart.
There was another introduction that happened just a few moments later that had everybody in tears. It was clear that these dogs were so happy to finally be outside in the fresh air. They could barely contain their excitement.
This Dog Looks Way Too Happy
This couple arrived at the PetSmart parking lot ready to meet their new pup. They were already emotional even before the dogs arrived. It was clear that the stakes were high for them.
They couldn’t contain all of their feelings when Scott walked toward them holding a little dog in his arms. The woman scooped up the little pup and I’m pretty sure she hasn’t put him down since. This dog just hit the jackpot.
An Amazing Feeling Scott Will Never Forget
Scott lives for moments like these. It’s what makes doing this job totally worth it. Scott explained, “It’s really one of the best feelings in the world. I might have a poker face, but it’s all butterflies riding up here.”
There is something so special about the bond between a dog and its owner, and watching that bond form is one of the most magical things in the world.
It’s A Method That Works
The operations manager for Tracy’s Dogs, Liz Grabarits, knows that the intense adoption process is what makes Tracy’s Dogs so successful. They have a unique approach, and it’s really working for them.
Liz explained, “We think our organization does add a lot of value for families… we’re really filling a niche.” Liz’s organization skills are definitely to thank for all of the successful adoptions that Tracy’s Dogs has facilitated.
This Is Important Work
Liz is also a huge advocate of the whole “adopt, don’t shop” mentality. She’s aware of how many dogs get put down in shelters every year, and she doesn’t want to see that number get any higher.
Liz said, “When people are adopting a dog from us, I want them to understand they’re adopting that dog, but they’re really saving three dogs’ lives.” What does Liz mean by three lives, you ask?
A Trio Of Good Deeds
Liz explained, “The first dog who is saved is obviously the one who is adopted. The second dog who is saved is the one who takes that first dog’s spot in the shelter.
We have a very limited amount of space at our camp in Texas, so it only holds about 100 dogs, so, when Scott pulls away with the trailer with maybe 60 dogs, that opens up another 60 spots.”
Celebrating Tracy’s Accomplishments
The third dog is the dog who gets that empty spot at the high kill shelter. Hopefully, Tracy’s team will come along and rescue that dog too.
“Tracy immediately goes to shelters and gets 60 more,” Liz continued. “That also means those shelters can take in another 60 dogs. So we do this every month.” Thank goodness for the people in this world who work hard to make sure that every dog can have a loving home.