We have all watched Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith grab the football, hold it close and run as far as he can while smashing through the opposing team’s defense. Torrey is a big and very strong guy, and his hands are huge. They are not soft hands~ they are a working man’s hands. Calloused and rough.
What many people have not seen is that same wide receiver with that imposing physique and hardened hands, holding a puppy. Torrey Smith is a huge animal lover. He combines that love for animals with his love and appreciation for the city that has welcomed him with open arms and is making a difference.
Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) backs up to the M&T Stadium. It is the largest open surrender facility in the city and takes in all the animals brought in by Baltimore City’s Animal Control, which shares part of the building. It is also practically invisible. People walking over the Russell Street bridge to the stadium can look to their left and get a clear view of a small building over the train tracks. Most pay no mind to it, as the building is worn and in great need of painting and TLC. It isn’t attention grabbing like the enormous brick building fans clamor to enter. For years BARCS has been promoting itself to the community hoping for a little acknowledgement from neighboring businesses.
Torrey Smith has a darling “pit bull type” dog named Prince. When Prince is in Torrey’s arms embraced in a hug only true animal lovers understand, Torrey is a different person. He is soft, kind and gentle. He is also putty in Prince’s, err, paws. Earlier this summer, Torrey tweeted to his many fans that he thought Prince may need to have company. Most dogs are very social and love companionship. Some only need humans, but others, like Prince, interact very well with other dogs.
A digitally adept worker at BARCS saw Torrey’s tweet and quickly surveyed the situation. BARCS was full of people looking to adopt or foster dogs or cats, people picking up their newly adopted pet from their mandatory spay or neuter surgery, and the volunteers and staff were stretched thin. Who would give Torrey a tour of the dog kennels? BARCS staff and volunteers wear a variety of hats, so the tour was given by a vet tech. This was a wonderful arrangement because the vet tech has been a tour guide, has been a kennel attendant, and has handled any type of situation with grace and poise. She knows the animals at BARCS as if they were all her personal pets, and, she doesn’t know a thing about football.
She and Torrey went through the kennels spending time with all the dogs, much to the delight of the dogs and his fans who were trying to stay calm. The vet tech asked excellent questions about Prince, about Torrey’s work schedule and his home environment. Was there a yard? Would the dog get exercise? Would the dog be crated? These are questions that can make or break a potential adopter’s success. After an hour or so, Torrey was accepted as an adopter, but there was no dog that fit the personality for Prince.
Torrey tweeted that he would be back to BARCS to look again.
He is a man of his word and, this week, he came back to BARCS and adopted Mama; an adorable eight week old puppy, who with her black and white markings, looks like a baby cow. As is often the case, Mama picked Torrey instead of it being the other way around. Mama was being fostered by one of the program managers at BARCS because she is a baby and could get sick or stressed out from the constant noise and motion from the dogs and puppies in the other kennels.
Prince gets his little sister today.
There are two sides to Torrey Smith; the intimidating wide receiver that won’t back down no matter the size and strength of his opposition and the kind, gentle soul who uses his size to protect those that are vulnerable.
Torrey sets a wonderful example for his fans. He is hard working and driven, and he also is very much in tuned to where he began. Torrey loves playing football for the Ravens. He is in awe that Baltimore has embraced a virtual stranger and made him its own. Through his community activities and with his foundation is thanking the community for treating him like family by reaching to that very group and helping them back.
BARCS is offering waived adoption fees until the end of October this year. If you are interested in adding to your family, please visit BARCS at 301 Stockton Street.