A woman in Frisco can now call herself a published author. She wrote a book to support shelter dogs. And, her passion for rescue dogs is a story in itself.
"If you told me five years ago, this would be a passion of mine, I'd have said you were crazy," chuckled Tracey Altman. "I can't believe I've lived 50 years without loving dogs the way that I do now."
Three years ago, Altman went from boy mom to dog mom.
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"I was 50, and my son said, 'Let's get a dog,'" she explained.
"A good friend of ours works for a rescue and she came over and said, 'You need to make a list," she recalled. "I was like, 'a list of what?' And she was like, 'Well, do you want a black dog or a white dog? A dog that's active or not active?'"
The list led to Boston in February 2016 — a name picked on purpose.
"I'm a Bostonian who now has her heart in Texas," she laughed.
Harper, a foster dog, followed a year and half later. And, again, that's where Altman's thick Bostonian accent comes through.
"Harper came with the name, Harper, but I can't say "har-purr" unless I do it slowly, so now she thinks her name is Ha-purhh," she said with a big laugh.
But it was the adoption of the second dog that opened another door for Altman.
"When we were thinking about getting her, it made me laugh as I thought, 'I wonder what her list is? I wonder if we're 'gonna meet her list?'"
Altman, who works in marketing and works on projects and campaigns all the time, put her thoughts on paper and found herself writing a book.
"Special Paws: The Family List" is a story about her own dog, Boston, and a friend's dog, named Hunter, as they wait in a shelter for a family.
Altman is quick to point to her favorite page. It shows Boston and Hunter "laughing and talking about why they want to live in a house of kids." Which as any dog knows is because kids drop food on the floor.
"I really would love for rescues to use the book. We'd give it to them at cost, then they sell it for whatever they want and keep the proceeds," Altman said. More books will follow. She hopes to write a series and publish two a year.
"It really is a labor of love and to see where we started with sketches and to see now where we are, it's a real book. The publisher sent it to me and I cried. I'm crying now, I cried because it's real," she said.
"And, I did it at 53! That's even a little crazier! It's like you can do anything at any age, and that's a really good thing to feel," she said.
And, it all happened because she opened her heart and home to two special creatures who needed her as much as she needed them.
"I really want people to not shop for dogs, but to adopt dogs," she said.
"There's this unconditional love, almost like they know you've rescued them. And people have said that to me, and I didn't believe them but they are so right."
"They unconditionally love me, and they're just part of my life now," she smiled.