Christina and Vincent always knew that they wanted to start a family together, especially once they became engaged. But having children was a commitment they weren’t sure they were ready for yet, so the next best option was to adopt a pet.
They instantly fell in love with a beautiful Tamaskan husky puppy named Raven. They thought she was the perfect addition to their family but it wasn’t long before they had a change of heart. A month later, they returned to the shelter with Raven and made a strange request…
Starting A Future Together
This is Christina and Vincent. The couple knew that they were made for each other and couldn’t wait to start their lives together. They always envisioned some additions to their little family in the future and the moment they got engaged, it seemed that that future was starting to become a reality.
Of course, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to starting a family, especially for a young couple like themselves.
Important Things To Consider
When it comes to starting a family, there are a lot of questions that come up. Certainly, bringing new life into this world is no minor decision for some people so it was very important that Christina and Vincent have “the talk.”
They would have to think about so many things, such as how many kids they wanted to have and if they could afford to have them. Should they even have them at all?
Parenting Is A Full-Time Job
Having children is a decision that will change the course of anyone’s life. While a lot of couples come into parenthood unexpectedly, it does also help to have plans set in place for whenever the time comes.
After all, being a parent is a full-time job from which you never really get a break. Knowing this, Christina and Vincent weren’t sure if having children was the best move for them at this stage in their relationship.
Having Fur Babies Is Another Option
Couples who decide that having a baby isn’t quite the next step for them opt to have fur babies instead! Welcoming a pet into the home can be nearly as demanding as having a baby, especially if the animal is still in its infancy.
Some couples even end up loving their pets so much that the animals are treated as if they are kids! For Christina and Vincent, they decided that taking on a pet was the safest move.
They Adopted A Husky Named Raven
Christina and Vincent browsed their local animal shelters until they laid eyes on one particular Tamaskan husky puppy. They named her Raven, which may have been inspired by the pup’s beautiful dark coat.
Raven was a welcome addition to their little family and they couldn’t have been more excited to raise her as one of their own. But not long after they took Raven home from the shelter, they soon realized their mistake.
Raven Was Adjusting To Her New Home
Raven warmed up to her new surroundings quickly, especially since she was now constantly surrounded by the love that Christina and Vincent had for her. She finally had her own warm bed to sleep in, fresh food and water every day, and people to snuggle with throughout the night.
But as Christina and Vincent began adapting their new fur baby to their home, there was something about her that they just couldn’t ignore.
Raven Was Full Of Energy
Christina and Vincent loved having Raven in their home but they noticed that she was full of energy and constantly wanted to play. This didn’t always work out, since Christina was busy at work and Vincent was studying in medical school.
Returning Raven was out of the question so the obvious solution was to find her a sibling! If Raven had another friend who was constantly at her side, then perhaps she’d be better occupied.
They Knew Exactly What She Needed
So with Raven in tow, the little family returned to the animal shelter to find her a new furry best friend. Christina knew precisely what kind of friend she was looking for.
“I had always wanted a dog and a cat to grow up together. It’s been like a life goal,” Christina told The Dodo. At an animal shelter in Lubbock, Texas, four little kittens were presented before Raven with the hopes that one of them would make a connection.
Raven Found The One
Most of the kittens that Raven met that day didn’t show much interest in the hyperactive puppy. All of the kittens didn’t react or recoiled to Raven’s “hello” nuzzles—except for one.
There was one tiny feline that seemed open to Raven’s curiosity. It almost seemed as if the two animals had some sort of connection. The kitten in question was an adorable little guy named Woodhouse and he turned out to be The One.
They Had To Get Along
Christina knew that you simply couldn’t pick someone’s best friend for them which is why having Raven meet the kitten was so important. “I wanted them to be able to get along well. So I wanted her to actually meet the cat and have the cat get along with the dog as well,” she told The Dodo.
Just a month after they’d adopted Raven, papers were signed and they took Woodhouse home as well.
Raven And Woodhouse Became Fast Friends
Raven and Woodhouse took to each other’s company quite well. Christina and Vincent couldn’t believe their eyes! Raven even started sharing her things with Woodhouse, holding her peanut butter rawhide in place for her new BFF to try. Woodhouse seemed to be adapting to his new surroundings just as easily as Raven did.
“Within 5 minutes of bringing Woodhouse home, they were already so tired from playing they needed some water!” Christina shared on Instagram.
They Were Attached At The Hip
It was immediately apparent that Raven and Woodhouse were inseparable. When they weren’t busy playing together during the day, they were often found snuggling with each other, usually in the morning and before bedtime. Surprisingly, they never grew tired of each other either.
Their relationship warmed Christina and Vincent’s hearts and the proud fur parents knew that they had made the right decision, instead of jumping headfirst into parenting a human baby.
Raven Let Woodhouse Take Control
Raven was clearly the bigger, more physically dominant sibling between the two of them but she didn’t mind having her soft passive side take over. Sometimes, she even let Woodhouse boss her around, even though he was technically younger than she was.
When they adopted Woodhouse, they had learned that he was born just a few weeks after Raven so the two best friends didn’t have much of an age difference.
They Loved Going On Road Trips
The new happy family loved spending time together. The animals had a blast going on road trips with their humans. They never limited themselves to the local park, either. Both animals proved that they could withstand long car rides as well, so they’d sometimes venture out to national parks to hike as well!
But of all the places that they traveled, there was one spot that Raven and Woodhouse were astounded to see.
They Visited The Beach For The First Time
One of the most exciting places they visited was the beach! Christina and Vincent took Raven and Woodhouse to the beach for the very first time. They seemed to enjoy it as much as they could but at the same time, it was only 40 degrees with windchill.
Raven had no issue walking along the shore with Vincent but Christina did have a bit of difficulty getting Woodhouse to budge in the sand!
They Celebrated Holidays Together
Christina and Vincent’s fur babies were growing with each passing day and along the way they’d come across plenty of milestones. On the animals’ first Fourth of July, for example, Christina and Vincent saw the perfect opportunity to get their pets excited for their country’s independence!
Raven looks completely enthralled to be celebrating in her starred scarf, while Woodhouse looks like an absolute darling in his red, white, and blue flowers.
The First Birthday Bash
The biggest celebrations were birthdays, of course! The first big birthday bash was Raven’s first birthday. Christina made a very special peanut butter and hot dog cake specifically for the occasion.
With their party hats on, Raven and Woodhouse shared the cake after the candles were blown out. Raven probably ate most of the cake herself though. These fur siblings loved doing everything together and were there for each other’s special moments.
A Cake Fit For A King
Raven wasn’t the only one to get a very special birthday cake on her big day. When Woodhouse turned two, for example, Christina made a cake fit for a feline king. It included a base of duck and salmon cat food, with a drizzle of Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Beef Roast, and a sprinkling of catnip!
It probably wasn’t so much Raven’s jam, which is why she was just happy to watch her brother do his thing.
Eventually The Family Grew
Within three years of adopting their fur babies, Christina and Vincent tied the knot and eventually decided that it was time to have kids of their own. Here is the family at Christina’s baby shower, where they celebrated the fact that she was going to have a baby girl!
The family of four was excited for their new bundle of joy, though we’re sure Raven and Woodhouse at that point had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
They Loved Having Baby Around
When the baby finally came, the transition was as seamless as when Raven and Woodstock had first joined the family! Christina and Vincent were not only parents to their fur babies, but now they were also new parents to a gorgeous baby girl!
Raven and Woodhouse finally understood what all the flowery baby items in the house were for and were pleased to spend time with their new baby sister. You can bet that once she’s old enough to play, the three of them will be peas in a pod!
Couple Fell In Love With Their Dog Before They Even Met Him
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.