For Baltimore Ravens’ offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, adding a companion animal to his life wasn’t a decision he took lightly. Adopting from his local shelter was a no-brainer, but exactly who he adopted required careful consideration. He wasn’t looking for a puppy or a young dog, who have the best chance at finding new homes. He wanted to meet the dogs who were older and always passed over. He wanted to meet the ones who had been at the shelter for the longest time and who no one wanted. The Ravens found a star player in Ronnie Stanley, and he found a grateful best friend in the lovely Lola.
Ronnie knows that adding an animal companion to your life is an important decision. He understands the level of commitment involved, including the time, money, and responsibility needed to care for animals. Adopting them means making a lifelong commitment to spend quality time with and to love and care for them. Dogs require walks, patience for housetraining, and the finances to pay for food, accessories (such as toys, grooming supplies, leashes, harnesses, and bedding), and veterinary care, including spaying or neutering, flea treatment, deworming, and emergency care.
Before making the decision to adopt an animal, your family should discuss the obligations and long-term commitments involved. Every member of the family should go to the local animal shelter together to choose the animal. Please adopt only—never buy an animal from a pet store or breeder. For every animal purchased from a breeder or a pet shop, a potential home is taken away from a homeless dog or cat at an animal shelter. And don’t forget to have all companion animals spayed or neutered.
Finally, a special plea during the holidays: We’ve all seen the videos of overjoyed people reacting to the sweet face of a puppy popping out of a box on Christmas morning. What we don’t see is that every year, countless people take these dogs to animal shelters after the holidays once the excitement wears off and the responsibility begins. Please, never buy animals as gifts!