Anyone who has ever adopted a dog knows the feeling of excitement when you finally decide which pup you’ll bring home. Adding an animal to your family is always a joyous occasion.
That feeling is certainly not lost on Tracy Voss and her husband, Scott Whyatt of San Antonio, Texas. As the founders of the online adoption organization Tracy’s Dogs, Tracy and Scott rescue dogs from high-kill shelters and find them loving forever homes.
But there was one dog in particular whose story affected them more than any other. they recently delivered a dog to a couple who’d applied to adopt him online, the tears were flowing. They’d never met him in person before, and when they did, they couldn’t contain their emotions.
Tracy’s Dogs, a non-profit animal rescue and rehabilitation center in San Antonio, Texas, aims to save as many animals from high-kill shelters as possible. The staff then works hard to find these pups loving homes—and a new lease on life.
It was founded in 2011 by Tracy Voss and her husband, Scott Whyatt. The couple took a cue from the ASPCA National Animal Relocation Initiative and decided to save dogs who were brought to shelters that already had an oversupply of stray or lost pets.
Tracy and Scott even relocate dogs to different states. Of course, new adoptive puppy parents are often incredibly moved by the experience, and the smiles you see in pictures like this one aren’t at all uncommon…
“Tracy, she’s been an animal lover all her life. Then at some point back in 2011 she was furloughed from her job for about six weeks,” Scott explained in an interview. “She started going down 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 was then that Tracy came up with the idea for Tracy’s Dogs. “She started posting those videos on YouTube, and we started getting recognition from people all over the country wanting to adopt the dogs,” Scott recalled.
“From there, it just ballooned into this organization where we would go rescue the dogs ourselves, bring them into our facility and then rehome them ourselves.”
In its short six years, Tracy’s Dogs has managed to help find families for upwards of 3,700 dogs. And in order to ensure that each and every dog is given the proper care it deserves, they’ve set up a rigorous adoption process…
To begin the process of adoption, the family first fills out an online application. A Tracy’s Dogs team member reviews it and decides if they’re a good fit. Only when the family is pre-approved will they receive a call letting them know their application was successful. It’s a thorough process, for sure.
The application process doesn’t end there, either. At that point, the would-be adopters are contacted by a Tracy’s Dogs counselor, who helps them find a dog who would be a good fit for them. Once the pup is relocated, the family will then pay for their awesome new pet!
The dogs are delivered to their new hometown, where they meet their new families at PetSmart, a partner of Tracy’s Dogs. This way, they can get to know their adoptive owners before being taken to their new home.
Scott operates the company trailer that transports the dogs to their new owners, and their first meeting often becomes a community event. Large crowds will gather in anticipation of the pup’s big adoption day. It’s amazing how supportive this community is!
When these adopters meet their new dogs for the first time, the occasion tends to become incredibly emotional. This is especially true since the adoption process can be long and tedious for both the people and the animals.
One such couple, Brian Roseto and Megan Peters, recently started the adoption process on the Tracy’s Dogs website. With one pup already at home, they decided it was time to extend their family, and they turned to Tracy’s Dogs to help them do just that.
Brian and Megan discovered Tracy’s Dogs through Petfinder, a pet adoption website. It was then that they discovered a pup—whom they later named Finn—and knew he was the little guy they’d been looking for.
Just before their in-person introduction, Megan told interviewers, “I’m so excited, I’m trying not to cry.”
While the meeting of Finn and his new forever family was undeniably beautiful, it wasn’t the only introduction of the day. In fact, there was another just a little bit later that really got the tears flowing…
As an unnamed couple stood in the PetSmart parking lot, surrounded by people eagerly anticipating their new dog’s arrival, it was clear the emotional stakes were at an all-time high. When Scott walked toward them from the truck with their dog in his arms, the new adoptive owners couldn’t hold back their tears.
Scott knows it’s moments like these that make his and his wife’s work with Tracy’s Dogs worth their time. “It’s really one of the best feelings in the world,” he explained. “I might have a poker face, but it’s all butterflies riding up here.”
People who work with Tracy’s Dogs, like operations manager Liz Grabarits, believes the vetting process they use for prospective owners is part of what makes their approach so unique. “We think our organization does add a lot of value for families… we’re really filling a niche,” she told reporters.
Liz also reminds people of how important adopting a helpless dog can be. “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,” she began.
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,” Liz explained. “So, when Scott pulls away with the trailer with maybe 60 dogs, that opens up another 60 spots.”
And, of course, the third dog rescued is the one who is rescued from the street and accepted into the high-kill shelter. “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.” How wonderful is that?
Tracy and Scott are really doing some great work! Not only have they found thousands of dogs loving forever homes, but they’re helping to rescue even more dogs from the streets. Bravo to these selfless people!
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