Tracy Del Duca of Goodrich comes from a family of intense animal lovers. Her father, an immigrant from the Netherlands, was notorious as a young boy for sneaking into the Amsterdam Zoo… he was so well known for his antics that the zoo finally hired him. Years later, Tracy’s parents met at the Omaha (Nebraska) Zoo where her mother was a zookeeper.
Tracy eventually found herself in Goodrich working for family friends on their horse farm – the job paid for her tuition to The University of Michigan-Flint where she received a degree in clinical psychology. She met her husband Jim and in 2007 enrolled Baker College for her veterinary technician degree. Briarwood Veterinary Hospital in Grand Blanc hired her and she found a mentor in its owner Dr. Joe Hendricks. “He taught me how to put compassion before business,” says Del Duca. “That’s why we established the ‘Stonington Way.’ We all are a family here – our immediate family, staff, our clients and all of our pets. My faith drives why I live in service to our families.”
The Del Ducas and their 16- and 19-year-old children have owned Stonington Kennels, a full-service boarding, grooming and training facility (www.stoningtonkennels.com), for two years now and have found ways to build family traditions around the business. “Sunday night is our Family Night and we release the dogs together to play with them – one-by-one. We don’t put dogs out in the runs together…. WE want to develop the bond with them,” explains Del Duca. “It would be so stressful for them if each time with us they are running with different dogs. We are the consistency when each dog or cat is here.”
With Tracy’s two degrees, she is able to fully understand the relationship between owners and their animals. Plus she can integrate medical care such as injections for diabetics or post-surgical care into a dog or cat’s stay. The kennels can house up to 80 dogs and 6 cats at one time.
“I just want our families to go enjoy life,” says Del Duca, “because being here is what makes me love my life.”
Village Funeral Home in Ortonville, Michigan has been directed by Roy Langolf since 2008 and offers a full range of bereavement services – funerals, cremations, headstones, jewelry, grief counseling and local support services. The funeral home has been in the community since 1947.