NFL Player Walks Into Shelter And Asks For Dog No One Else Wanted
"We are so proud to have amazing guys like Ronnie to be role models to the kids in our city."
Winter was found shut inside of a vacant house without even a window cracked open. It was hot outside. She was dehydrated and scared. She was alone.
"She was in there with no food, water or fresh air for a week," Bailey Deacon, director of communications at BARCS Animal Shelter in Baltimore, Maryland, told The Dodo. "Winter had been eating the drywall," Deacon said. "[It's unclear] whether that was because she was starving hungry, or as an attempt to escape."
Winter was more than likely used for breeding, the shelter wrote on Facebook, noting that she had a low, hanging belly — a telltale sign of having had too many litters.
Someone had apparently used her up before throwing her away, leaving her with visual proof of her mistreatment. Unfortunately, this didn't help her adoption chances once she arrived at BARCS, where she's lived for less than a month.
"Due to her age, her belly is not something that will ever tighten up," the shelter wrote. "Female dogs with such characteristics are often passed by in our shelter."
Then, one weekend in June 2016, Winter, who's 6 years old, practically fell into the lap of the best possible family. Ronnie Stanley, an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, visited BARCS with his girlfriend and his teammate, Alexander Lewis.
After checking in at the shelter's front desk, Stanley told the staff that he was looking for a dog who had been at the shelter for a long time, "and maybe not-so-adoptable." Staff started to consider animal contenders beyond puppies — senior dogs, dogs with special needs and more.
But the one dog who ultimately caught Stanley's eye was Winter. Stanley wasn't put off by Winter's hanging belly. He only saw it for what it was — the fact that she was a mother, according to the shelter.
"Well, that's just what happens when you've had babies," Stanley said, according to the shelter's Facebook post.
Winter showered him with kisses all over his face and from there the adoption was a done deal. Stanley and his girlfriend filled out the paperwork, and Winter went to her forever home the same day.
"We are so proud to have amazing guys like Ronnie to be role models to the kids in our city," the shelter wrote. "Not only does his single act of kindness make adoption cool, but it makes giving love to an imperfectly perfect dog a 'manly' thing to do."
Even better — while Stanley was taking BARCS' class for new adopters, his teammate volunteered his time, helping staff members carry large bags of dog food.
When Winter left the shelter, she also left her painful past behind her, gaining a new name, "Lola," and a new sibling: Rico, Stanley's other pup.
Since her adoption, the pup nobody wanted has become Stanley's biggest fan, showering her new dad with tons of love — and the feeling is mutual.