By now, most people know the story of how Indy Car Series driver, Josef Newgarden, came to Baltimore to race and ended up falling for – and then adopting – a local homeless kitty. But what isn’t so widely known is the fact that Josef’s not the only Softie to lose his heart to a shelter pet after appearing in one of our ads. In fact, the list is like a who’s who in the racing, football, MMA and rocker worlds.
John Rallo, MMA Fighter:
John originally appeared in the campaign with the kitty love-of-his-life, Doobie, who at the time was quite ill. Unbeknownst to us, Doobie passed on the very day the campaign was launched. In the two years since then, John and his fiancé Angel have adopted two more homeless kitties from BARCS, taken in one senior who was dumped at a friend’s property and somehow managed to combine it all into one big happy family with their rescue pibble, Coca.
Torrey Smith, Wide Receiver, Baltimore:
Soon after being photographed with his pit bull, Prince, we had the pleasure of spending an evening with Torrey at an O’s game. He was there to throw out the first pitch as part of Soft Side Night at Camden Yards and afterwards, we all headed to one of the concession stands to grab a bite. It was over a chicken sandwich and fries that Torrey learned about the number of animals that were dumped, abused and left homeless in Baltimore every week. A few weeks later, Torrey called to say he and Chanel (girlfriend at the time, now Mrs. Torrey Smith) had decided Prince needed a sibling and they wanted to find him or her at the shelter. Soon after, they adopted Momma – a black and white pittie who is most definitely a daddy’s girl. While Torrey and Chanel’s efforts on behalf of animals is no secret in Baltimore, their commitment goes deeper than anyone knows. This past summer when BARCS had to shut down for three weeks in the face of a virulent respitory infection, they volunteered to foster a displaced shelter dog. Knowing they were getting married in a few weeks and could ill afford to take on a quarantined pup, we thanked them profusely but declined their offer.
Officer Waz- Baltimore’s Dog Hero:
Obviously, no one had to tell Officer Waz the importance of adopting a shelter pet. He was already a worldwide sensation for having first rescued and then adopting a stray pit bull named Bo that was being tormented by kids on the street. However, very quietly and with no fanfare, Officer Waz and his girlfriend followed that up by adopting a second rescue pup as a little sister for Bo.
Jay Hitaffer – King Belvedere and Wasabi:
Jay had always been a “dog guy” and appeared in the campaign with his pup, Loki. However, the night of Pawject Runway, he and his wife found themselves being pulled toward the cat world and decided to add a rescue kitty to their family. Only problem? They fell in love with more than one so are now the happy parents of two beautiful and very pampered kitties.
Frank Remesch – GM, Baltimore Arena:
The fact that Frank was already “Dad” to 5 rescued Mastiff’s didn’t stop him from pulling out all the stops to save a small, sickly kitten found dumped in the Arena’s parking lot. After the kitten took refuge in a car engine, he had the car towed into the Arena’s loading dock and then helped coax the little guy out. Not content to leave its fate up to the shelter, Frank and his staff adopted the kitty and declared it to be Cat Executive Officer of the Baltimore Arena.
Dan Root – MMA Fighter:
It was already a well-known fact that MMA fighter, Dan Root, was a cat guy so naturally we paired him with one for Pawject Runway. In this case, we chose a little kitten named Olive who had just gone through surgery to correct her wonky legs. Still bandaged and so tiny, she fit in the palm of his hand – it was all she wrote for Dan that night. Halfway down the runway, he announced he was adopting this little girl and sure enough, a week later after a lesson in changing bandages, he took Olive home for good.
Johnny Sexx – King Belvedere:
When we learned that Johnny Sexx was a longtime “cat guy” – we jumped at the chance to add him to the campaign. We photographed him with one of his kitties named Shadow who was one of the most chill cats we’ve ever met. A few weeks later, we learned (via Facebook no less) that Johnny and his wife had become fosters for a BARCS pup which, soon after, they adopted. The ink on the adoption papers wasn’t even dry before they brought another BARCS foster pup home and we’re betting this one ends up being an official Sexx child as well.
Perhaps now you understand why we love us some Softies. As someone who’s spent a couple lifetimes in advertising and worked with a number of celebrities, this is the first time I can ever remember a group as committed or passionate about a cause they’ve lent their name to. Whether it’s rescuing, fostering, adopting or helping to bring awareness and raise funds, our Softies rule and we couldn’t be prouder to know them.