Lately it has become a norm to hear stories of people abusing helpless animals. Even more heartbreaking, several of these stories have been about celebrities, famous athletes or just people in the lime light. It is very unfortunate that the people who should be setting a better example are sometimes the ones caught in this awful situations. Thankfully, not all athletes are like that. In fact, some have amazingly beautiful hearts. Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley proved he was one of the latter when he walked into The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) with his girlfriend, Emily, and teammate Alexander Lewis.
“We are looking for a dog that’s been here a long time and maybe not-so-adoptable,” Stanley told the shelter staff. The BARCS employees were overjoyed by what they were hearing. Many dogs had been sitting at the shelter for years just hoping someone would take them home and love them. Some were senior dogs, others weren’t “cute” or “pretty” enough, and others had ongoing medical issues that people weren’t willing to take on.
The staff introduced the couple to six year old Winter. Winter had been found frightened and dehydrated on a vacant property one hot day. Rescuers noticed her long, hanging belly right away, most likely the result of ever breeding.
Most of the people who had come to the shelter, immediately noticed Winter’s sagging belly, and passed right on by, but not Stanley. When Stanley saw Winter, he told shelter volunteers, “Well, that’s just what happens when you’ve had babies.”
As he pet Winter and she gave him lots of kisses, the football player instantly fell in love. He knew he had to take Winter home with him. Now Winter, who Stanley renamed Lola, is living the high life at her new home. She spends most of her days running around the spacious backyard or napping on the couch or her parents’ bed.
Stanley has continued to show his big heart and support of BARCS’ efforts to help animals in need. He has since adopted a pot-bellied puppy named Rico and also participated in a fundraising campaign at BARCS where he matched donations up to $5,000. It is so heart-warming to see someone in the lime light giving back and showing kindness to these helpless animals who had been neglected for so long.