You never know when Cupid is going to take aim and the Ravens #66, Ryan Jensen, learned that the hard way when he agreed to model at this year’s Pawject Runway. It was billed as an easy, casual night – come hang out with your teammates, have a laugh, give a couple chin rubs to your runway partner and then go home to your own four-legged brood.
In the Jensen’s case, the brood consists of a big, golden lab named Titan and Bella, the girly girl pit bull Ryan and his wife adopted from BARCS the year before. Two pups who already rule the roost at the couple’s homes in both Colorado and Baltimore. No second class airfare for these two – instead Ryan’s wife, Stephanie, makes the 1500-mile+ drive to Baltimore each year so the “kids” can travel in comfort and on their own leisurely schedule. (We had the pleasure of meeting both pups last fall – Titan is a blur of macho energy whereas Bella is strictly a Daddy’s girl. In fact, she likes to be tucked in bed each night complete with her favorite blanket.)
All this underscores the point, neither Ryan, nor Stephanie had any intention of expanding their family – and especially not in the form of another four-legged kid. Of course, that was before a certain young lady crossed their paths and Ryan’s lap. You see, a half hour before the show, all the models come backstage to get last minute instructions and meet their partners. Ryan was paired with a young player named Edmonson, and when the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Rasheed Bailey came over to meet the two, Cupid pulled back his bow and let loose. There, asleep in Rasheed’s arms was a black & white puppy wearing a pink polka dot dress with tiny freckles on her nose and Ryan was suddenly – toast. Next thing you know, the pup was cradled in Ryan’s arms and it was pretty much a done deal. Any betting man could have told you, her last name was going to be Jensen.
If you think this little one was groomed for stardom, think again. A month before Pawject Runway, a Good Sam came across a man selling puppies out of a laundry basket on the side of the road. This puppy was jammed in the basket with four other siblings, at an age too young to be separated from their mother and all of them, emaciated and covered in fleas. After trying politely to gain possession of the pups, the Good Sam called Baltimore City Animal Control and they were soon on the scene. The “seller” was given two options – hand over the puppies or face charges and a fine. This backyard breeder made the one good decision of his life.
Coming fresh off a multi-week, recuperative stay with a foster family, Bella (her name at the time) was ready to make her modeling debut. Certainly, everyone hoped it would result in her finding a forever family, but no one imagined it would be with one of our Ravens models. Funny how those things happen. When you least expect it, a scrawny kitten or a sad-eyed pup latches on to your heart and just won’t let go.
Ten days later, Ryan and Stephanie brought their little super model home, renamed her Ruby and she promptly became besties with her big sister and an annoyance to her big brother. By all accounts, Ruby still loves to be cuddled and held, which makes it a plus that her Dad has the size and strength of a guard/center because it’s predicted little Ruby will grow to be about 85 pounds.
We had the pleasure of seeing her a few months later at a Soft Side event and can attest, her hard luck beginnings are no longer even a distant memory. Ruby’s too busy being doted on by her Mom and Dad, and living the life we wish all animals had. Ironically, we often bill Pawject Runway as the only fashion where you can go home with a model, but even we never dreamed two of our models would end up going home with each other.
At this year’s Pawject Runway, more than half our four-legged models found their forever homes. Those are the kind of Soft Side endings we love. Stay tuned for updated photos of Ryan and Ruby, which they graciously sat for prior to this year’s training camp. Cover photo compliments of Sid Keiser.