In our household, fall means football. One of us (yes, I mean you, Mr. John) has the football schedule memorized; he watches the gridiron action accompanied by at least two or three patient pets (who may be attracted to the pregame snacks). Although one team is banned in our household, we want to shine the spotlight, not on a convicted criminal whose past animal abuse has cast a negative light on the entire sport, but on those doggedly devoted players who are inspiring people to get in the game and help animals in need.
Scoring a touchdown in the hearts of animal lovers for assisting the shelter where he adopted his second canine companion, Torrey Smith of the Baltimore Ravens recently switched sports for a day—knocking down bowling pins and raising funds for the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter's medical care fund. BARCS also benefitted when the wide receiver stepped off of the playing field and on to the catwalk for the non-profit organization's second annual Pawject Runway event, starring 15 celebrity 'Softies' from the Show Your Soft Side campaign.
Tackling the topic of animal abuse, the Show your Soft Side campaign features a series of billboards and flyers created to set a good example for impressionable adolescents. Along with Smith, fellow Ravens Brendon Ayanbadejo and Arthur Jones, Justin Pugh of the New York Giants, San Diego Chargers linebacker Jarret Johnson and Zaviar Gooden of the Tennessee Titans are among the growing team of sports stars and celebrities from the world of entertainment who have posed with their four-pawed pals.
Never one to sit on the sidelines, as the co-grand marshal for the 2013 Panera Pup Walk quarterback Charlie Batch—who sports two Super Bowl rings—recently took steps toward creating a better tomorrow for homeless animals. Batch and his wife Latasha led a team of people with a passion for compassion through the streets of Homestead, Pennsylvania. The one-mile canine constitutional raised funds for The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, an open-door shelter that cares for approximately 10,000 companion animals each year.
The Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund show their support for members of a breed in need at the annual Bully Ball. Since the event’s beginnings, former Atlanta Falcons/Detroit Lions player William P. Fralic. Jr., former NFL coach Dan Reeves, one time Chicago Bears place-kicker Kevin Butler and Bulldog's Tailgate Show co-host Loran Smith have co-chaired the event. They have inspired football heroes of yesterday and today to join the huddle to help Georgia English Bulldog Rescue, a non-profit which rehabilitates and finds forever homes for sick, injured, neglected or abused English Bulldogs.
Fans of Fidos, felines and football can kick off the new year and help a paws cause in the process by purchasing a 2014 "Puppies, Panthers and Kittens...Oh, My!" calendar. Thirteen Carolina Panthers players, cheerleaders and coaches—including Cam Newton, Charles Godfrey, DeAngelo Williams and Ron Rivera—posed with the furry members of their own home teams as well as adorable adoptables to raise funds for the Humane Society of Charlotte, a non-profit which has helped animals in need since 1978.
The positive actions of these players, past and present, really are something to be cheered!
English Bulldog Puppy via Shutterstock