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‘Hope’ helps SFAC win $50,000 Petco contest

  • Friday, December 27, 2013

  • Updated Tuesday, December 31, 2013 6:55 pm

The GHS baseball team with mascot "Hope."

Things were much brighter during Christmas for the Saint Francis Animal Center of Georgetown after the organization received word it was one of the Holiday Wishes Grant Campaign winners sponsored by the Petco Foundation.

Saint Francis was awarded $50,000 and it was all because of a dog that was adopted by the Georgetown High baseball team.

The puppy, according to Petco spokeswoman Julie Rizio, “wandered the city alone depending on the kindness of strangers for survival.”

She said the players began feeding the puppy and she started living under the bleachers watching the team practice. They named the dog “Hope.”

“One day the boys came to practice to find Hope had been brutally stabbed in the back. The boys got the puppy to emergency surgery where the veterinarian said she couldn’t believe the tiny puppy had managed to survive,” Ruzio said. “The team visited Hope every week during her recovery and conducted a fundraiser to cover her medical expenses.”

Ruzio said after the dog recovered, coach Jason West decided to surprise the boys and officially adopted Hope.

Ruzio said it was an emotional time when the coach and Hope ran a victory lap around the bases.

“The rescue group said it was the sweetest adoption they had ever witnessed. Hope now attends every game as the official team mascot,” Ruzio said.

Saint Francis of one of 33 organizations receiving Petco grants. Director Wendy Goude submitted the story for Petco’s consideration when she learned of the contest.

“We are thrilled that our story was chosen. With this funding, we will enhance our adoptions, medical and volunteer programs to save as many lives as possible in the upcoming year,” Goude said. “We are simply humbled by this great fortune and plan to share this generous opportunity with our community. Our first “pay it forward” is happening right now and will continue until January 4. We are waiving all adoption fees to approved adopters, excluding puppies and kittens. All adult animals are quite literally ‘free to a great home.’”

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