Thousands of people make the wonderful decision to add a companion animal to their lives each year. For some that means visiting a local pet shop and for a number of sweet individuals, it means taking a trip to their local animal shelter.

While pet shops keep a rotation of pups that are young, virtually problem-less, and pristine looking, animal shelters are home to dogs that have had a bit of a harder time in life. Whether they’ve been abused, happen to be a negatively stereotyped breed, or are of old age, there are many shelter dogs that don’t get adopted for years.

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These are the exact dogs Ronnie Stanley, superstar offensive tackle from the Ravens, had in mind when he visited BARCS Animal Shelter. Accompanied by his girlfriend, the famous football player arrived at the shelter and made a request that shelter workers don’t hear all too often, he wanted a dog that had been at the shelter for a long time and was considered “not-so-adoptable.”

BARCS workers were elated as there are plenty of dogs under their care that fit that description! After showing Stanley some possible candidates, he settled on Winter, a dog who has found herself in several less-than-ideal situations over the years. She was first discovered on a vacant property on a hot summer day, dehydrated and extremely scared. When BARCS took her in, they noticed her low hanging belly, a common result from over-breeding. This condition caused her to be overlooked by most people who came to the shelter to adopt.

Thankfully, Stanley wasn’t fazed by Winter’s condition at all. He signed the papers and took the sweet pup home that very same day. 

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Ronnie Stanley and Winter are a prime example of the wonderful things that can happen when people look past silly aesthetic preferences, look beyond a pup’s unsavory past, and open their hearts wide enough to provide these animals with a life outside of a shelter. While it may seem like the case in immaculately-kept pet shops, not all dogs are perfect, and dogs who need homes aren’t always puppies. Considering there are currently 70 million stray animals in the U.S. alone, the impact people can make by adopting and not shopping for pets has never been bigger. We could all learn something from Stanley’s compassionate choice to adopt Winter. She may not look like it on paper, but she’s a perfect pup in our eyes!

Image Source: BARCS Animal Shelter/Facebook