“I have always been an animal lover”
July 17—KINGSTON — Tracey Morgan-Chopick loves animals.
So much so, in fact, that in her spare time outside of her 40-hour nonprofit fundraising workweek, she works tirelessly to help families recover their lost or missing pets.
“I’ve always been an animal lover, ever since I can remember, ever since I was born. I was always the one, you know, helping the tortoise across the road, picking up the stray cat. If I saw a dog, I would bring it home, trying to find its owner. It’s just who I am,” Morgan-Chopick said.
And with that love and passion for helping animals, she created Alfalfa County Pet Recovery Services.
Morgan-Chopick, who turns 45 this week, has been providing pet recovery services for just over a decade. She also worked as a humanitarian police officer for a time, although the pandemic threw a wrench in that. Morgan-Chopick is also the coordinator for the Luzerne County Animal Response Team, which coordinates emergency response efforts with 911 and the Emergency Management Agency for sheltering, rescuing technical and a litany of other emergency services to keep animals out of harm’s way.
Citing a need for animal recovery services in the county, Morgan-Chopick began her quest to help those in need. Although she mainly runs the show solo, she occasionally gets help from friends and her husband, Jeff.
Both Jeff and Tracey are trained Missing Animal Response (MAR) technicians. “It’s basically a crash course where you learn about dog behavior, different ways to trap dogs, even cats too. So they go over a lot of stuff about what to look for, how to trap. There are things called calm signals, which basically (say) you never look a lost dog, a scared dog, directly in the eye…so, you know, things like that. between them, I knew them instinctively before taking the course,” Morgan-Chopick explained, also noting that MAR is a national organization.
And although Alfalfa County Pet Recovery Services offers services throughout the county, they are not limited to our area.
“I do a ton of Lackawanna County. I also do surrounding counties normally, but I mean I’ve done Wayne County, I’ve done Columbia County. I’ve been to New Jersey for some dogs “I just went upstate New York for the dogs they couldn’t catch. It really depends on the situation and my schedule,” Morgan-Chopick explained. And in the event that she cannot personally service a matter, she is more than willing to do consultations by phone or email.
The full list of Alfalfa County Pet Recovery services includes:
— Consultations by telephone, Facebook and e-mail.
—Human capture of lost dogs and cats (although Morgan-Chopick has been in many cases, including horses, goats and others) via state-of-the-art traps that use laser triggering, ensuring that the cage closes when the animal steps inside.
— Investigations of stolen animals.
—Designs and placement of posters to increase awareness.
—On-site consultations and research
—Camera setup and monitoring
—Advice and support on cases, instructions for families conducting solo searches
Morgan-Chopick admits it’s a lot of work, but seeing a worried family reunited with a beloved pet is worth it.
For many, pets are part of the family, after all.
“So, you know, if I lost one of my dogs, God forbid, like I wanted someone who was there and knew what they were doing to help me get my dog back. You see this I mean? Because I would ‘I don’t sleep… I would be up 24/7 looking for my dog. Nothing would stop me,'” she said. declared, and it is with this mentality that she lets nothing stop her from reuniting the lost animals with their people.
Morgan-Chopick was also honored for her selfless efforts by the NEPA Chapter of the American Red Cross with the Local Heroes Award for Animal Rescue a few years ago, but she doesn’t do what she does for the accolades. It’s all about helping animals. As she said, “If someone loses a pet and they need help, I can help them.”
For more information about Luzerne County Animal Recovery Services or to request their assistance, visit the organization’s website at alfalfacountytrecoveryservices.com or their Facebook page @ LuzerneCountyPetRecoveryServices.