Are you sick and tired of hearing bad things about NFL players? I know I am. So here's a different kind of story about Baltimore Ravens player Ronnie Stanley, his girlfriend Emily, and teammate Alexander Lewis that will warm your heart.
One ordinary day became a day of rejoicing when these three walked into BARCS Animal Shelter in Baltimore, MD. Walking up to the desk, Stanley said words that shelter staff long to hear and rarely do. He said, “We are looking for a dog that’s been here a long time and maybe not-so-adoptable.”
The thrilled staff began showing them dogs that had been at the shelter for a long time, sometime years. They were senior dogs, dogs with ongoing medical problems, and dogs with physical defects. The first dog he saw was a pit bull called Winter. Although Stanley looked at the other dogs, he came back to her.
Winter was rescued from a vacant property in a house with no windows open on a hot, hot day. At just six years old, it was obvious by her belly that she had probably spent most of the time pregnant or nursing puppies. That's why so many people looking to adopt passed by this beautiful, gentle dog.
Ronnie's take on the shape of her belly was, "Well, that’s just what happens when you’ve had babies." Even though, because of her age, she will always have a sagging underside, Ronnie couldn't care less. He took her home, renamed her Lola, and taught her what it means to be loved simply because you are.
A short time later Stanley was back again, and this time he took a pot-bellied puppy named Rico home with him. You'd think that's doing enough, but it wasn't for Stanley.
In August of 2017, Stanley started a fund raiser for the shelter in which he matched donations up to $5,000. Of course, that's a wonderful thing to do. Many animals at the shelter will benefit from Stanley's generosity. But even more than that is taking into his heart and home a dog that, but for Stanley's actions, might still be languishing in a kennel, alone.
One of Stanley's favorite sayings is, "Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel; energies are contagious." Perhaps that's how you view life, too. If so, after you share this story with your friends, take a page from Stanley's playbook and get yourself down to your local animal shelter. Someone's there waiting for you!