for the dogs
She is known as the dog yenta (matchmaker). Judy LeRoy has been matching homeless dogs with new guardians in Monterey County for the past 18 years.
Judy and her husband, Larry, moved to Monterey 21 years ago. Shortly after arriving in Monterey, Judy became a volunteer at the SPCA for Monterey County. She loved walking the dogs and giving them love. Eventually, Judy was hired part-time to work in customer service at the SPCA.
Five years into her career with the SPCA, Judy spearheaded a new off-site adoption program, which would take the dogs out into the community to get them more exposure. For the next 13 years, Judy and her volunteers were a regular fixture at local Farmers’ Markets, pet supply stores, and other pet-friendly businesses. She would bring three or four dogs with her and set them up in pens to meet the public in the hopes of finding homes for them.
Choosing which dogs to bring could be a challenge, with so many dogs needing homes. Judy focused on bringing the older dogs, big black dogs, and odd mixes. She chose the dogs that were not getting attention at the shelter.
Judy does not know the exact numbers, but she suspects that she helped find hundreds and hundreds of dogs new homes over the years. As the “dog yenta,” Judy was contacted by people who needed to find their dog a new home as well as people who were looking to adopt a dog. With so many people giving dogs up and looking for dogs, Judy would often just “make a match.” She would connect the potential adopter with a dog who needed a new home. Sometimes it was eerie how the matches and the timing would be so perfect. It was as if some divine intervention was at play, and Judy was the conduit for the matches.
In February of this year, at the age of 70, Judy retired. What does the dog yenta do after retirement? More of the same, of course. When you are doing what you love, you don’t stop just because you are retired. Judy has stayed involved with dog adoptions by volunteering to help with off-site adoptions for both Monterey County Animal Services and Peace of Mind Dog Rescue.
It is safe to say Judy will continue to be the dog yenta for many years to come!