When Ohio Head Coach Tim Albin pulls into his driveway after a long day at work, his dog, Macey, begins jumping with excitement to greet her dad at the door. Macey doesn’t care whether the football team wins or loses; she doesn’t care if Tim Albin had a bad day at the office. She’s just happy that he’s home.
“There’s tough days for everybody, whatever profession that you’re in,” Tim Albin. “I would get home from recruiting when my children were young, and the door would open, and they’d both come running and grab onto my leg. One on each leg. Then, I’d open the door, and it was just one child on one leg because Tori, my daughter, had outgrown that phase. Then, I walked in there one day, after having been gone all week, and there were no children on either leg … they had outgrown that phase, that was tough. But now, I come home and it's Macey; she’s on that leg now.”
Tori and Treyce Albin may be older and moving out of the house now, but for Tim and Brooke Albin, Macey is like the third kid they never knew they needed.
Both Tim Albin and his wife Brooke Albin have always been dog people; for both, dogs have always played a big role in their lives.
“I’ve always been a dog person,” Tim Albin said. “Growing up, we always had a couple of dogs. When Brooke and I got married, she had dogs. She had a dog growing up — an outside dog because she lived on a farm — but my dogs were always in the house where they’d sleep with you … We have a dog background.”
Despite their love for dogs, it took some convincing for the Albin’s to get a dog of their own. Tim wasn’t sure he could give a dog its best life with his hectic schedule. He was constantly on the road for recruiting and games; the last thing he wanted to do was put a dog in a kennel with a chain link fence and some concrete. He knew he’d easily get attached.
After some nagging from his children and a long conversation about dog sitters, the Albins decided that it was time. They needed a dog in their lives.
“I told my daughter when we went in (to the shelter), ‘Don’t get excited, we’re just going to go look,’” Brooke Albin said. “(Macey) chose us. She came and gave me a kiss on the cheek and my daughter a kiss on the cheek and we couldn’t leave without her. We brought her home; she’s been the biggest blessing to us.”
Since that day seven years ago, Macey has been there for some of the most significant moments in the Albin home. Tim was named Ohio’s head coach and shortly thereafter took home his first bowl game victory at the Arizona Bowl in 2022. Brooke opened her own business in March of 2023. Tori and Treyce both graduated from college. Macey has been there to celebrate alongside the family for all of it.
“She knows when there’s upsetting things with the family, she knows when there’s happy things too,” Tim Albin said. “We got some bad news one time over the phone and we were having a big family discussion and she could tell and she helped us get through that … I’ve seen her help us through tough times but also the happiest of happy. Last year, we got home from the bowl game and we had a big blowout at the house and she knows … She’s a part of it all.”
For the Albins, Macey is the leader of their home. She’s just as much part of the family as anyone else. The Albins make sure that Macey is taken care of and help causes that would matter to other dogs like her.
Tim and Brooke Albin have taken their love for Macey as an inspiration to give back to the local Athens community.
Once a year, the Albin’s will hold the “Cats feeding dogs” event at Peden Stadium. One game a year, if you bring dog food or dog treats to the stadium for donation, the Albins will pay your admission to the game.
“It’s just a huge blessing that she’s been in our life; it’s like the family member that you never knew you needed,” Brooke Albin said. “That’s really what inspired it. The shelter — we’ve followed them for a long time — and it seems like they’re always at capacity or almost always at capacity or nearly at capacity and asking for donations. The blessings that these dogs have brought, it’s like they’re family members.”
Although the Albins are always looking for a reason to give back, Macey has been the reason they have used their platform to help so many dogs in need at the local animal shelter.
“To see my children and their interaction with Macey — I’m a softy — that impact, to me, is from my family and what the dog has done for me; that’s why I want to help, I want to help and encourage to give back to the community of Athens in some small way,” Tim Albin said. “We’ve seen so much from just taking one dog from that shelter … It makes it easy.”