Nearly one month ago, when Buffalo's 2018 schedule, presented by Ellicott Hotels, was released, Bills fans around the country were introduced to a variety of adorable, adoptable dogs from Open Arms Rescue of WNY and Buddy's Second Chance Rescue. Making their big debut in the Bills "Schedule Unleased" video, the pups took the internet by storm, charmed their way into our hearts and in turn, found their forever homes. To learn more about how this lovable lot is doing now, buffalobills.com caught up with Tina Chaudhry, local animal advocate and co-creator of Western New York's Furtastic Adopt-A-Thon.
From the moment they strolled on the scene at One Bills Drive, the group of 15 pooches made an immediate impact on the Bills staff and players. Their incredible stories and unique personalities resonated with everyone they met and allowed them to make lasting connections with their future adopters. The video, which featured the dogs dressed up to represent the team's upcoming opponents, helped ensure that each dog would ultimately end up adopted.
Get to know the adorable dogs behind the Schedule Unleashed video, presented by Ellicott Hotels!
"The great thing was, we had the one-two punch of your experience and they had an adoption event…It basically drove home all the final adoptions," said Chaudhry. "It was perfection. We know people responded to the video. It's amazing the power in [the Bills'] reach."
For Joel Burris, a nearby Greece, New York, resident, U.S. Army veteran and loving father of two, "Schedule Unleashed" further solidified that his decision to adopt a very special dog, was a great one. Burris, who has always had a love for dogs, especially larger breeds, stumbled upon an ad for Zeus, the five-year-old cane corso who represented the Bills bye week, and fell in love.
"I was on the internet looking around and I ran across his ad that [Open Arms of WNY] had for him," explained Burris. "My previous dog was also named Zeus – I had him ever since he was a puppy. I saw him and I like big dogs so…I thought, 'Oh man he's beautiful.'"
Acting quickly, Burris started the adoption process and shared the exciting news with his family members who were beyond thrilled to see one of their own making such a big splash.
"I did share that [video], all of my family is back in North Carolina, so they thought that was really cool to see," said Burris.
Since the adoption, Burris is happy to report that Zeus is fitting right in.
"He is awesome," said Burris. "I am just so impressed. You never know what you're going to get…We got along straight from the get-go…He is such a good-natured dog. We go for walks. My daughter had her first soccer game, so I took him out to the soccer field and we just hung out. Of course, he draws a lot of attention, so anyone that comes by wants to pet him.
"When you find the right one, it just clicks. Puppies are cute but we're at the stage now where we can enjoy each other, he's my little buddy. He follows me around everywhere, so it's nice."
Zeus' story is just one of several storybook endings that happened for the good boys and girls who starred in "Schedule Unleashed," explained Chaudhry.
"Isn't it the most wonderful, uplifting thing? Bruno [New England] went to a local veteran to be trained as a service dog through WNY Heroes. The stories are so great…Lucky the papillon [Jacksonville], he went to a woman who had just lost her dog and she renamed Lucky, Sunny because he brings the light back in her life."
Of course, the successful outcome wouldn't have been possible without the unwavering commitment from the staff at Open Arms Rescue of WNY and Buddy's Second Chance Rescue. If you are interested in adopting a best friend of your own, please visit www.oarwny.org or www.buddysrescue.org and submit an application.