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Baltimore Ravens' Player Sends Message to Dog Lovers
Photo: Facebook / BARCS Animal Shelter

It's so refreshing to see a sports figure doing right by animals. Baltimore Ravens rookie Ronnie Stanley recently walked into BARCS Animal Shelter with one definite plan on his mind; to adopt a dog that had been there a long time or is being labeled as “unadoptable.” One may think this criteria is a simple one, but according to one of the shelter workers, “unadoptable” can mean anything from being a senior, to having a physical deformity, to a pooch that will require ongoing medical care.

Stanley and his girlfriend decided on a 6-year-old female dog that had been abandoned in a hot parking lot. She was dehydrated upon arrival, very frightened and had obviously been used as a “breeder” since her tummy was loose and hanging well below normal.

Baltimore Ravens' Player Sends Message to Dog Lover
Photo: Facebook / BARCS Animal Shelter

Despite her physical appearance, Stanley adopted “Winter” and renamed her Lola. This lucky dog had her photo taken in between two regal lion statues at Stanley's home and appears to be enjoying her new digs and her new lease on life.

RELATED: 3 Reasons FOR Adopting Older Preloved Dogs

Unfortunately, shelters are full of abandoned animals that may never be able to fully enjoy the freedom and love of a forever home just because of their age, health or physical appearance. It's sad that when we make a decision to adopt, we immediately look for a puppy or a dog that is aesthetically pleasing. I myself have fallen victim to this way-of-thinking, until I made a firm decision to go on personality over any other quality when adopting a new fur baby. And I have never regretted it.

You get used to the looks of an animal, but an engaging, fun or mischievous personality is far more satisfying and a whole lot of hilarity each and every day. I feel truly blessed to share my life with a few of these “misfits” and wouldn't trade them for a show quality animal or any amount of money.

When looking for a new pet to adopt, go into the shelters and ask about these less fortunate animals.

Baltimore Ravens' Player Sends Message to Dog Lovers
Photo: Facebook / BARCS Animal Shelter

Oftentimes the dog or cat is labeled as something it is really not. For example my recent kitty rescue was tagged as “needs to be the only pet in the home and unsociable.” This was a cruel injustice of her true nature which turned out to be loving, warm, playful and extremely social. She gets along famously with her two other feline “brothers” and my family members.

RELATED: Adopting a Puppy? You Will Need These Puppy Training Supplies

I'm not saying animal shelters intentionally mislabel dogs and cats, but oftentimes animals come in that have been mistreated, neglected or abandoned and just need some normalcy and tender loving care for their true personalities to shine through. Workers do their best, I'm sure, but these facilities are packed full and giving one-on-one attention is difficult at best.

Before you disregard that older pet or one that may not look “just perfect,” get to know them. You may be surprised at just how loving, loyal and awesome this worthy fur baby really is.