One couple fell in love with a rescue dog online. They knew that he was the animal for them, so they applied to adopt him. Thankfully, their application was a success – and when they finally got to meet their new pet, they couldn’t hold back their tears any longer.
Tracy’s Dogs is an animal rescue and rehabilitation center based in San Antonio, Texas. The non-profit organization focuses on saving animals from high-kill shelters. It takes dogs who have almost reached their euthanasia dates and provides them with a second shot at life.
Tracy Whyatt and husband Scott established the organization in 2011. They found their inspiration in the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ National Animal Relocation Initiative. The idea behind the initiative is to move animals from areas with an oversupply of their species to places where there are few of their kind available for adoption.
With that in mind, the Whyatts set out on special trips to save the kill shelter dogs of Texas. Once they had the animals in their possession, they transported them to other states where forever homes were easier to locate. And it was thanks to these rescue missions that Tracy’s Dogs was subsequently born.
Explaining the origins of the organization to HooplaHa in June 2017, Scott revealed that the non-profit had come about by chance. “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,” he said. “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.”
“She started posting those videos on YouTube, and we started getting recognition from people all over the country wanting to adopt the dogs,” Scott added. “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.”
Since the not-for-profit started work, it has helped more than 3,700 dogs find families. It doesn’t adopt its animals out to just anyone, however. In order to ensure that its dogs find the best possible match, the organization has a rigid adoption process in place.
If a family are interested in one of the organization’s dogs, they must first fill out an online application form. Someone from Tracy’s Dogs will then review the information and decide whether to pre-approve it. If pre-approved, potential forever homes will then receive a call from an adoptions manager.
Once the application manager has approved them, hopeful adopters are put in contact with a counselor. The counselor helps to find the family a suitable dog. After an animal has been located the family must then pay for the dog, finalizing the adoption process.
The final step in the operation is introducing the dogs to their new forever families. Tracy’s Dogs does this with a little help from its partner PetSmart. The pet supply store allows the not-for-profit to use its parking lots as meeting places for dogs and their adopters.
So, each month, Tracy’s Dogs co-founder Scott puts the chosen dogs into a large trailer, before delivering them to an assigned parking lot. When the animals get there, they find dozens of eager families awaiting their arrival.
These encounters are often intensely emotional. For both the dogs and their families, the meeting will have been a long time coming. So, when they finally set eyes on each other, there’s no overestimating just how special the moment is.
Megan Peters and Brian Roseto had been searching for a dog for sometime. They already had one at home, but were keen to expand their brood. As a result, they embarked on the Tracy’s Dogs adoption process.
After noticing the organization on Petfinder, the couple fell in love with a dog called Benny. Before Peters and Roseto had even met the dog for the first time, they’d already decided to rename him Finn. And when they finally got to hold the animal in their arms, Peters said, “I’m so excited, I’m trying not to cry.”
And theirs wasn’t the only emotional encounter of the day. A YouTube video by HooplaHa captured many more moving introductions between dogs and their new owners. One in particular tugged on the heartstrings, though.
During the moment in question, a couple waited patiently while Scott went to retrieve their new fur-baby from his trailer. As the moments passed, however, they couldn’t suppress their emotions any longer. And when Scott emerged with their dog in his arms, the tears soon started to flow.
Moments like these make all the effort involved worthwhile for Scott. “It’s really one of the best feelings in the world,” he said at the adoption event. “I might have a poker face, but it’s all butterflies riding up here.”
And according to Tracy’s Dogs operations manager Liz Grabarits, more people can share in the joy by adopting an animal themselves. She believes that the process is rewarding for both dogs and their forever owners. “We think our organization does add a lot of value for families also,” she said. “So we’re really filling a niche.”
“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,” Grabarits added. “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,” Grabarits explained. “Tracy immediately goes to shelters and gets 60 more. That also means those shelters can take in another 60 dogs. So we do this every month.” And, no doubt, they will continue to do it until no shelter dogs are at risk of euthanasia.