An NFL wide receiver helped dozens of shelter animals find new homes over the weekend at a mass adoption event.
Torrey Smith will start his first season on the Philadelphia Eagles this September but began his career in Maryland, where he played college football as a Terrapin and went on to play four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.
A dog lover, the 28-year-old is a regular at Maryland’s Pawject Runway, an annual event held by BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter) that aims to raise money and awareness for Baltimore's homeless and abused animals.
“It’s safe to say that Torrey’s spirited and full-of-heart conclusion to the show is always a crowd-favorite moment,�? BARCS wrote on Facebook.
During the conclusion of this year’s event, which took place on Saturday, Torrey asked for the microphone to make a special announcement.
He began by revealing that he and his wife, Chanel, had met many of the homeless animals earlier that day and were wishing there was more they could do to ensure that they had the best chance of being adopted. By the time the night came to a close, he said, the couple wanted every single animal that was showcased to have an adoption application filled out.
Torrey then announced that he and Chanel would pay the adoption fees for all of the 46 animals featured at Pawject Runway.
The couple will also be making an extra donation on top of the fees. “It was the best finale we could as for,�? the post continued.
Torrey is far from the first NFL player to do his part in giving new homes to rescue and shelter animals. Last month, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Tyler Matakevich participated in a photo shoot with Show Your Soft Side, an anti-animal cruelty campaign that photographs athletes and other celebrities cuddling animals without homes.
Matakevich, who lives in Connecticut, says he always knew he would adopt a pet somewhere down the line but did not expect to fall in love with the small black puppy he met at the photo shoot. The puppy, which came from an accidental litter, felt so comfortable in Matakevich’s arms that she fell asleep.
"It felt like they set me up," Matakevich told The Dodo. "I knew right away."
Show Your Soft Side founder Sandra Riesett, who witnessed the meeting between the two, said their bond was “instantaneous.�?
The puppy had come from a Delaware-based nonprofit called Renee’s Rescues. Just a few days after the shoot, Matakevich’s girlfriend drove to Delaware to officially pick up their new pet. In a testament to the value of shelter and rescue animals, Matakevich was immediately surprised to learn that the dog was already house-trained. She knew to sit by the door when she needed to go out and was not hesitant to play with the rest of the family, including their other dog.
"This is so unexpected," Matakevich says. "It's awesome. She's just such a good dog."
As if potentially saving a healthy animal from euthanasia wasn’t satisfying enough, Matakevich’s reaction brings up yet another reason why adopting a shelter or rescue animal is not only gracious but also more convenient. Shelter and rescue animals often do not have to be taught how to socialize with humans and are therefore less likely to cause trouble than pets from stores, which tend to have behavioral problems after being raised in poor conditions.
Adopting rather than buying a pet takes business away from the puppy and kitten mills that subject animals to these conditions and profit off endangering the welfare of innocent animals.