PHOENIX (KSAZ) - While some spend their early-20s only focusing on themselves, Geri Hormel was focusing on saving lives.
At 22, the Arizona native founded the non-profit animal rescue Almost There Foster Care and now four years later, she's partnered with a Thailand dog foundation taking her impact international.
"And these dogs get shoved into crates that are the size for like one dog and there's maybe 10, 15, 20 dogs shoved into these tiny compartments, so a lot of these dogs don't even make the drive," she said.
One of the biggest challenges Geri faces is the illegal meat trade in Thailand. The conditions and treatment of the animals is devastating.
"A lot of these dogs end up getting suffocated or severely injured to the point where they don't make it by the time they arrived," Hormel said. "Most of them are deceased or severely injured."
ATFC specializes in helping to raise and find homes for large-breed, pregnant dogs and their pups, and even though the work is emotionally draining and financially taxing, it's so worth it.
Geri and her partners have managed to rescue and bring back seven dogs to the U.S.
"It really only took a week for them to start coming out and be really comfortable," she said.
Now, on a mission to find their forever homes here in the Valley, Geri says she can't wait to not only save the lives of more dogs, but rewrite their story.
"I just love, I love finding these guys a happy ending," she said.