Once in awhile, real-life Cinderella stories do happen, even for dogs! And now a six-year-old Pit Bull, who had a miserable start to her life, is living like a princess. Who is the prince who came to her rescue? Most likely you have seen him on TV!

The story begins in Baltimore. That’s where rescuers discovered the dog abandoned in a vacant property on a boiling hot day. The building had no electricity or open windows. The poor pooch was so overheated that she was severely dehydrated, clinging to life. Her stomach showed signs of being overbred and long ago lost its elasticity.

Rescuers named the dog, who was scared to death, “Winter.” After she was nursed back to health she was put up for adoption at the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Inc. (BARCS). Sadly, she wasn’t attracting much interest. She was middle-aged, she was part Pit Bull and her tummy wasn’t the most attractive, but of course, none of this was her fault.

Then one day, Winter’s life suddenly changed, a real-life Prince Charming (and his entourage) walked in the doors of the shelter. BARCS told the story on its Facebook page. NFL sports star, Ronnie Stanley, his girlfriend, and his Baltimore Ravens teammate, Alexander Lewis, went to the front desk and Stanley said, “We are looking for a dog that’s been here a long time and maybe not-so-adoptable.”

When the staff heard his request they were probably like, “Huh? What? Really? We are thrilled to oblige. Sure, we’ve got lots of not so adoptable dogs! Where do we begin?”

On its Facebook page, the shelter said, “Our BARCS staff showed Ronnie and his girlfriend a few pets that fit his (seriously awesome) criteria. Winter was the lucky dog that caught Ronnie’s eye.”

Credit: BARCS

The dog’s appearance didn’t deter the offensive tackle. Shelter volunteers said they recalled him saying, “Well, that’s just what happens when you’ve had babies.”

The lovefest between Winter, Ronnie, and his girlfriend started soon after they met. According to the shelter’s social media post, “He was much more interested in getting lots of face kisses from Winter and falling in love, rather than being worried about the appearance of her tummy. What a great guy!”

Ronnie and his girlfriend signed her adoption papers, took her home that same day and renamed her Lola.

Ronnie Stanley, Facebook

Ronnie has become an advocate for animal adoption. He has another rescue dog, Rico, who is a Pit Bull/Mastiff pup. Now he’s taking part in events and speaking out.

He “modeled” an adoptable rescue dog in a charitable event called Pawject Runway, which benefits BARCS.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens

Why the push to help rescue dogs? Ronnie said, “It advocates ‘adopt, don’t shop.’ The organization raises awareness of overpopulation and abusive relationships that a lot of people have with their pets and animals, in general.” In the video below, Ronnie explains why he chose to adopt Lola.

Ronnie told I Love My Dog, “My dogs have been such a blessing. They’re loving, protective and have been great additions to the family. They’ve definitely made positive impacts on my life, and I want other people to experience the same impacts in their lives.”

Credit: Baltimore Ravens

 

If you’re wondering what happened to Lewis, Ronnie’s teammate, who started out as a character in this real-life fairytale– while Ronnie and his girlfriend were getting to know Lola, the staff said they put Lewis to work after he offered to carry large bags of dog food into the shelter.

BARCS reports they learned that Lewis is a huge animal advocate too! His mother sent the shelter this picture of Lewis with his two rescue dogs, and one of his mom’s dogs. His mom told BARCS, “Lewis volunteered at his local animal shelter while he was in college, and he is the reason that the whole family now adopts instead of shops. So cool!”

Credit: BARCS

 

 Lola and her new family continue to live happily ever after!

Ronnie Stanley, Instagram

 

Contributed by: Mary Schwager, aka, WatchdogMary, a TV and print journalist that proudly watchdogs for animals. She’s honored to have won 14 Emmy, 7 Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press awards for investigative reporting & writing