Tracy McMenamy, who began volunteering as a foster parent for Operation Paws for Homes in 2013, has successfully fostered over 100 dogs. While every foster situation is unique, her current foster dogs – a litter of 10 German Pointer mix puppies and their mom – have captured not only the hearts of their future families, but of the nation.
Tracy and her husband, Tom, a police officer, decided to combine their two passions – fostering and police work – when naming these 10 puppies.
My husband has been a police officer for 12 years. In 2016, the number of police officers who have died in the line of duty had increased over 300%. As the wife of a police officer, this was not easy to swallow. I always worried about my husband when he walks out the door, but this year that worry became fear.
We found out we were going to foster this litter the same day that Officer [Ashley] Guindon had died. While watching the news and hearing all the names of the officers who had died in 2016 already, we decided to name the puppies after them. This was going to be our personal tribute. A way for Tom and I to remember his brothers and sisters in blue.
The 10 puppies – named Dailey, Tartt, Leotta, Guindon, Carrigan, Lem (a nickname for Major Barney), Moszer, Hofer, Colson and Logsdon – will all be keeping the names that Tracy and Tom have given them once they are adopted, something that is a bit unique in the world of fostering.
“…[T]his started as just a personal tribute….[E]very other pup we have [fostered] had their names get changed when they go home. Not these guys. Each adopter will be keeping the names. That has never happened! I have fostered over 100 dogs and maybe a handful have kept their names.”
The impact of this tribute to fallen police officers has expanded further than Tracy or Tom would have ever imagined, even reaching the families of those who lost their loved ones in the line of duty. Puppies Leotta and Guindon will be adopted by the families of the respective fallen officers.
When [a previous adopter] shared the story on her [Facebook] page of how the puppies got their names, the Leotta family heard about it. They applied to adopt and will be adopting little Leotta sometime after 4/21. We received an email from Officer Ashley Guindon’s aunt [who] recently lost her dog as well to a tragic accident and will be adopting little Guindon. Her new name will be ‘Ash.’
Another puppy, Colson, will be adopted by coworkers of Cpl. Colson, and two others – Dailey and Logsdon – will be adopted by police officers who do not have any relationship to the fallen officers but who were touched by the McMenamys’ tribute.
Tracy and Meret Hofer, the sister of Officer David Hofer, spoke several times, but Meret was unable to adopt at this time. Still, Tracy wants Meret to be able to be involved in the life of her late brother’s namesake.
We promised lots of updates so that [Meret] could watch little Hofer grow.
It could be stated that fostering is always a personal experience, but these 10 little pups have left an extra special mark on their foster parents.
“I think the MOST touching thing personally (for Tom and I) was the outpouring of support for our men and women in law enforcement. Of course, speaking with the families was so emotional….Although we never knew these officers, their death hit close to home for us. After talking with the families and learning about each one on a more personal level, made us feel that much closer to them.”
All 10 puppies should be in their new homes by April 23rd, given that they were healthy at their last veterinarian visit.
Whether or not each family of the fallen officers is adopting their family member’s namesake, the incredible sentiment behind their names has been the same.
“Each family member or friend has explained it in their own way, but in the end it was a common thought. These puppies are bringing happiness back to their lives after such a tragic loss.”
Operation Paws for Homes, a 501(c)(3) organization which serves Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C. and south central Pennsylvania, is always looking for additional foster homes, which you can apply to be by clicking here.
H/t Life With Dogs
All images sourced from Tracy McMenamy.