Story by. Julie Tristan
Across the street from a horse ranch in St. Louis county sits a new type of ranch offering a smaller animal a second chance!
“We are at the Second Chance Ranch which is at Valley Mount Ranch in Valley Park, MO & we are a home for senior dogs,” says Tracy Rumpf, Second Chance Ranch Founder & Executive Director.
Tracy Rumpf and her group, “The Wet Nose Project” (), turned this old house into an old dog home and sanctuary. “Its the first senior dog home and hospice sanctuary for senior dogs and cats and there’s not anything around here like this,” she says.
Tracy started rescue about 6 years ago “and about 3 years ago I started “Wet Nose Project” which really was to raise money for small rescues here in St. Louis we then created “Whiskers on Wheels” so we donate to people on fixed incomes,” Tracy says.
“I really had a soft spot for senior dogs” she continues “and wanted to create a home where senior dogs and cats can go if they have lost their owners. A lot of times they are surrendered because of health issues and the owners can’t afford it or take care of them anymore and some of them are from breeders.”
Since the residents are older, a lot of sleeping goes on here but there’s also lots of playing especially with the volunteers and the dogs! “It’s all volunteer driven, no one is working here,“ she says.
Tracy says that every dime donated goes to the animals. She’s hoping to get 1000 people to donate $10/month “I always say it’s a Starbucks and cup of coffee,” Tracy says.
People who donate their time are equally important. “A lot of volunteers tell us that this is their time to unplug and play with dogs and read them books and play outside with them and this is their real happy time,” Tracy says.
One volunteer says “It gives me a lot in return, my own 2nd chance I call it, since I’m retired.”
“When I spend the night we watch Friday Night Lights,” Tracy Rumpf says.
Tracy spends a lot of nights here, that’s when she’s not working her full time job or being a mom to human kids. “I have 4 children yes, I have twins who are 26 and a freshman in college and a senior in high school. I definitely have to try to perfect time management,” she says.
This house has come a long way since they started working on it. “The Kraus family, Steve Kraus donated the house to us and in March started the rehab and let me tell you it was a rehab. This house was built in 1937, we were literally tearing up old carpet and tile and painting over the paneling, it was quite an undertaking to say the least. We wanted this to be an open floor plan, no one is in crates unless they want to be,” she says.
The big dogs live on the main level and the smaller guests reside in the penthouse. Each of them has a unique story like residents Frosty & Snowy. “So Frosty and Snowy are brothers whose owners passed away within 3 months of each other because of covid,” Tracy says.
They also have a dog named Sadie who is blind and deaf and her owner died but now she’s living the life at Second Chance Ranch.
“Just because a dog is a rescue, it doesn’t mean that they are broken it just means that a human let them down & our goal is to make up for that and give them a second chance at a forever home and forever family,” Tracy explains.
It’s a home full of hope and help. It’s a place where dogs are living their best lives surrounded by loving volunteers and warm comfy beds!