Dogs
NFL player goes to shelter and asks to adopt their 'least adoptable dog'
The pup had been passed by so many times.
D.G. Sciortino
09.14.22

Baltimore Ravens Offensive Tackle Ronnie Stanley has dedicated not only his life to football but also to helping dogs in need.

And it all started with a single dog named Lola.

When Stanley found himself ready to adopt a dog, he headed over to his local shelter Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelters (BARCS).

But he wasn’t looking to adopt just any dog.

He wanted to adopt a dog that had been in the shelter the longest and had been continually passed over.

“I always knew I wanted to adopt a dog that probably wasn’t going to get adopted and had a lesser chance of survival and I just felt like that was helping the cause more,” Stanley told PETA. “I was looking for an older dog that’s been here for a while that’s probably not gonna get adopted.”

When he came across Lola, a retriever-terrier mix, he knew that he had found his dog.

“I saw a few dogs and Lola was just the one to fit my interest. She’s super excited for you to come home. She definitely has a strong bond. She likes to be protected and feel protected and feel close and feel loved. She likes to know people are there for her,” Stanely said.

A year later, Stanley adopted another dog, a pitbull mix named Rico and would eventually adopt a third dog name Kaia from LA Animal Services.

Stanley went on to start a foundation that would help both dogs and humans in need.

“My goal in founding The Ronnie Stanley Foundation was to create a community where humans help animals and animal help humans in return,” Stanley said.

Ronnie Stanley Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life of rescue dogs and provide them with training that helps to cultivate therapeutic properties so that the dogs can be found forever homes with humans facing physical illness, emotional trauma, and other issues.

“These matches are even more meaningful because rescue dogs are placed in their forever homes,” Stanley explains. “My life was changed and improved when I adopted my dogs. Through my foundation, I’m creating a larger community and network to help rescue dogs and humans.”

The program has since placed Lyric, a 4-year-old pitbull mix, who was found covered in fleas with infected skin, with a woman named Nikiria, who has sickle cell anemia.

Lyric helps support Nikira when she’s feeling pain.

“Lyric helps me when I am sad and down and I love having her be a part of the family. She helps distract me when I am not feeling my best and helps me through those rough times,” Nikira told Sports Illustrated. “She brings light into our home.”

The organization also placed an abandoned pitbull mix named Garrison with U.S. Navy veteran Jonathan Birckhead who suffers from PTSD.

“Life after the military, there are some good days and there are some bad days. Garrison supports me in so many ways. He’s a ball of energy. He wants to be loved and we have plenty of love for him,” said Birckhead.

“Garrison is now fully integrated into our family. You might as well call him Garrison Birckhead. The Ronnie Stanley Foundation helped make my family complete. To all my military vets in need of a support pet, I strongly recommend reaching out to the foundation.”

Stanley says that he hopes to encourage as many people as possible to adopt and treat their pets well.

“The best message to people mistreating their pets would be to look at themselves in the mirror and really ask if that’s how they would want to be treated if it were the other way around and really look at all forms of life with respect and treat them with dignity like other humans beings would want to be treated as well,” he said.

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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