Since I started Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog and began sharing Sophie’s story, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some extraordinary people who work hard every day to save pets with disabilities. These people have become my personal heroes. Recently I added another hero to my list after I interviewed veterinary intensive care nurse, Tracy Smith. If you live in Austin, TX and have a dog or cat with special needs, you should get to know Tracy today!
You see Tracy’s career has taken her from working with critically ill patients in a veterinary emergency hospital to creating a company that cares for sick, elderly and handicapped pets in their homes.
I’ve written before about my Practically Perfect Pet Sitter and how hard it was to find someone who was compassionate and had the skills to take care of Sophie when I had to be away. Living with a disabled pet is physically and mentally exhausting so it is extremely important to have someone you can rely on for support. When I found out that Tracy does this and more, I knew I had to tell her story.
Tracy Smith is the owner of Luv My Sitter, which is Austin’s premiere pet home health provider for dogs and cats with special needs. She started her company while she worked at a very busy emergency hospital and realized how hard it was for pet parents to take care of their animals after they had a life-threatening illness or injury.
“One of my first patients was an older dog who left the hospital with a seizure disorder and diabetes. He needed pills 4 times a day and to start a regulated diet,” said Tracy. “I gave the family in-home education for their dog plus I became their liaison with their veterinarian.”
At first Tracy was only able to accept extremely sick clients who were referred by their veterinarian because her own dog, Kobe was ill. Sadly when her dog died 5 years ago, it allowed her to open her doors to the public and help many more animals.
“When people have very sick pets they become strapped to their house. One of my clients hadn’t taken a vacation in 10 years because they needed to give their dog 24/7 care.”
The most common health issues Tracy handles are pets with: diabetes, seizure disorders, heart failure, kidney disease, hypoglycemia and problems with the esophagus.
She also works with dogs that have spine and neurological problems like, paralysis, Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) and spinal injuries. Over the years she’s taken dogs for walks in their wheelchairs, changed diapers and expressed bladders.
“My goal is to keep pets as comfortable as possible so they can remain in their own home, keep their regular routine and play with their own toys,” said Tracy.
One of Tracy’s long time patients is a now 21 year-old Boxer named Puppy. The dog was originally found running along a rural road outside of Austin. When her now family stopped to see if she had a collar, Puppy jumped into their car and has been with them ever since. No one knows Puppy’s exact age, but she has lived with her adopted family for 21 years. Tracy routinely stops by Puppy’s home to take this still feisty girl for a walk or car ride while her family is at work.
Working for Luv My Sitter
Tracy is expanding her services and she is looking for additional pet sitters to hire, but if you think you might like to join her team, be prepared to wait about 6 months before you see your first solo patient. Tracy has a strict on-the-job training program to make sure every pet care provider gives canine and feline patients the same quality care that she would personally give.
And if you’re not in the Austin area but need support for your handicapped pet, Tracy suggests that you talk with your personal veterinarian about a referral. There are vet techs and emergency room techs in every city who are willing to help.