One day in late December of 2023, I was visiting our Norwood Park clinic in Austin. It was an exceptionally cold and rainy day, just a few days before we closed for a short holiday break. In the lobby, I spotted a man, probably in his sixties, wearing a large flannel work shirt. Tucked inside was an adorable brown, black and white puppy. 

He saw me making puppy eyes and kindly asked if I wanted to hold her. Of course I did, so I sat down next to him on the bench and he passed her to me. She was perfectly chubby and still had puppy breath. I asked if she was going to be a Christmas present for someone. He shook his head no and said that he had not intended to get a puppy at all. 

“But…” he said… “I’ve been praying for a while now to have more patience. To be a more patient man. Patience is something I really struggle with in my life. Two days ago, I woke up and this puppy was on my front doorstep. I don’t know how she could have gotten there because we live out in the country and our closest neighbors are about a mile away.” 

I laughed and said I couldn’t think of a better answer to a prayer, because puppies definitely teach us all the patience we could ever need. I asked if he was going to keep her, and he said “yes, that’s why I’m here. I need to get her all her shots.” 

I asked if he was going to name her Patience. “No,” he said, “I named her Love.” 

Back in 2016, when Emancipet merged with a non-profit called Animal Trustees to expand our range of care and services, we hired a marketing consultant to help us unify our two brands into one. After several days of discovery meetings and a deep dive into our work, the lead consultant said: “Oh, I get it now. You don’t just provide veterinary care. You provide veterinary care so that more people can have love in their lives. Emancipet brings more love into the world!” 

Emancipet had nothing to do with little Love showing up on someone’s doorstep on a cold December morning. But, once she had, Emancipet’s services made it possible for her to become part of a family who needed her as much as she needed them. 

My hope for the future is that Emancipet will continue to bring more love into the world by providing high quality veterinary care for those who would otherwise fall into the access to veterinary care gap. My hope is that we continue to grow and expand – opening more clinics in communities that have historically been excluded by market sector veterinary providers. 

My hope for the future is that Emancipet’s bold goal and success opening clinics will inspire hundreds of copycats. I want to see more and more non-profit organizations focused on closing the access to vet care gaps in their own communities. Together, they will form the much-needed nonprofit safety net that eventually covers all 60 million pets in need of lower-cost veterinary care. 

My hope for the future is that you have more love in your life, too. That the pets you have today and in the future will teach you patience, or joy, or how to relax more, or how to play more, or whatever it is you need to learn in your life. Because the magical, ineffable thing about a life shared with animals is that each bond between a person and a pet is totally unique. How you found each other, your shared history, your little routines and habits together: they are all totally special and unique to you, and somehow bring us exactly what we needed most. 

My hope for the future is that pet companionship becomes more and more accessible every day, to more and more people. I hope that every family with a pet can access veterinary care when they need it, to protect and care for these precious lives, who make our own lives so much better. My hope for the future is that we just keep going. We’ve achieved so much in our first 25 years, and I know this for sure: Emancipet is just getting started. Thank you for being a part of this journey. 

With great love and gratitude,