Anybody can adopt a cute, snuggly puppy.
It takes a real warm-hearted person to take home the dog nobody else wants.
Ravens rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley is that person (or good pup, shall we say).
According to a Facebook post from BARCS Animal Shelter, Stanley adopted female pit bull Winter this past weekend.
Here's the "Happy Tail," as BARCS put it:
Ronnie Stanley visited BARCS in search of adding a pup to his family. He was accompanied to our shelter by his girlfriend, along with his teammate, Alexander Lewis (#72). When they checked into our front desk, they let us know just what they were looking for --and for a superstar like Ronnie – you'll never guess* *what requested.
"We are looking for dog that's been here a long time and maybe not-so-adoptable," Stanley said.
Our matchmakers were delighted. "Not-so-adoptable" can mean a lot of things here...senior pets, physically imperfect, on-going medical and more.*
Our BARCS staff showed Ronnie and his girlfriend a few pets that fit his (seriously awesome) criteria. Winter was the lucky dog that caught Ronnie's eye.
Beautiful Winter is a dog who has spent most of her six years of life falling into sad, unfortunate situations. She was found on a vacant property, on a hot day with no electricity, or open windows. She was dehydrated and extremely frightened. Winter has a long, hanging belly, mostly likely a result of over breeding – something we see far too often at our shelter. Due to her age, her belly is not something that will ever tighten up. Female dogs with such characteristics are often passed by in our shelter. But not by Ronnie!
Ronnie's thought on Winter's belly, as recalled by our volunteers: "Well, that's just what happens when you've had babies." He was much more interested in getting lots of face kisses from Winter and falling in love rather than being worried about the appearance of her tummy. What a great guy!
It was a done deal. Ronnie and his girlfriend signed Winter's adoption papers and took her to her new home the same day. Once a discarded pup, now the doggy-daughter to a Raven.
*We are so proud to have amazing guys like Ronnie to be role models to the kids in our city. Not only does his single act of kindness make adoption cool, but it makes giving love to an imperfectly perfect dog a 'manly' thing to do.
Lewis also got a special shout out from the BARCS staff for offering to help staff members carry large bags of dog food while Stanley was taking their adopter class.
This story just keeps getting better.
Lewis is also a big advocate of rescue shelters who volunteered at one in college. He has two rescue pups of his own, Tootsie and Tino. His mom Kim, who I already love, is driving his dogs from Arizona to Baltimore in just more than a week. She told BARCS, "Alex misses his dogs so much."
The Ravens have built a deep relationship with BARCS, beginning with former Raven Torrey Smith. Since then, multiple players have participated in their "Pawject Runway" fundraiser over the years, including this year with Morgan Cox, Lawrence Guy, Ryan Jensen, Kamar Aiken, Carl Davis, Maxx Williams and even Smith (even though he's now a 49er). Jensen adopted his dog, Bella, from BARCS.
All the attention from players has helped raise the profile of BARCS over the past several years.
They now house more than 120 dogs, the largest volume in Maryland, and are an open-admission shelter, meaning they don't turn away any dog for any issue. As one staff member quipped, "Sometimes we are the island of misfit toys here." If someone wants to adopt a much-in-need dog, there are dozens to choose from.
"There's two points here. You have a Raven interested in adopting, which is great for awareness of the need. Somebody like him can inspire people to choose adoption for a pet," said BARCS Executive Director Jennifer Brause.
"On the other side, you have this wonderful person. Not only did Ronnie choose adoption, but he didn't want the easy one. That just really shows what kind of person he is. That really touched our heart."
Unfortunately, Brause wasn't at the shelter when Stanley came.
"I just want to give him a big hug and thank him," she said. "So if you see him, please do that for me. He's really going to help other animals because of the choices he made."