15 Athletes Who Really Love Animals

Jessica Marie@ItsMsJisnerCorrespondent IIAugust 22, 2013

15 Athletes Who Really Love Animals

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    In the recent past, we've shamed discussed the athletes whose affinity for fur suggests a lack of affinity for animals. Maybe they do actually enjoy spending time with their furry friends, but that doesn't stop them from wearing their furry friends.

    These athletes are their polar opposites.

    These guys and girls really love their animals—so much that they're willing to strip down to virtually nothing and pledge their allegiance to their furry friends. Others are willing to parade around Baltimore, their pets in tow, in the name of raising money for homeless animal care.

    You definitely won't see these people parading around in Shaq-tastic mink coats any time soon.


Matt Wieters

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    Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is one of the biggest names attached to Pawject Runway, a fashion show for dogs and cats that is happening in Baltimore on August 26. According to CBS Baltimore, all proceeds will go toward animal rescue.

    Wieters, who once posed for the anti-animal abuse ad above, told the website that he has a German Shepherd and two cats, all of which are rescue animals. His wife is on the board of directors of the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, so clearly, the cause is important to his whole family.

    Maria Wieters told CBS Baltimore that athletes like her husband will be escorting the animals down the runway as they model some high animal fashion.



David Ortiz

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    He loves babies. He loves puppies. If only we could get him to stop loving Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz would be the perfect person.

    How can you not love a giant man with a tiny dog? It gets you every time. Ortiz and his dog Mikey were photographed by SI during spring training in 2007.

    Apparently, Mikey has always been a hit in the Red Sox clubhouse, where he's made several appearances.



Brendon Ayanbadejo

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    Brendon Ayanbadejo is good at advocating for things. He's good at making it clear that he has opinions. He's good at sharing those opinions, public perception be damned. He doesn't care if you like him or not.

    But fortunately for him, given his views on animal rights, it's kind of hard not to support his opinions—at least in this regard.

    The former Ravens linebacker is a proud animal advocate, obviously, because if there is anything in the world to become self-righteous about, Brendon Ayanbadejo will be the first person on the bandwagon. He posed for this adorable ad with his French bulldog, Buster, to advocate against animal abuse.

    Fortunately for him, if no NFL team decides it wants him, he could have a lot more time to devote to the cause.


Candace Parker

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    There are plenty of basketball stars who very much enjoy covering themselves head to toe in fur and mink. Not Candace Parker. You'll never catch her wearing an animal.

    The Los Angeles Sparks star posed for a PETA ad in 2010 and filmed a PSA for the organization as well, alongside her dog, Fendi. She told PETA's website, "I really feel like it's very cruel what they do to animals, and I love my dog and couldn't imagine anybody harming her."

    Check out PETA's pro-Parker and anti-fur page above for more information on how terribly our furry friends are treated before they're made into things we can wear.

Adam Jones

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    Like many of his fellow Baltimore athletes, Adam Jones is a big fan of animals—so much so that he, too, joined the Mayor's Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission.

    In late 2011, the Orioles outfielder shot an ad featuring him and his best bud, Missy. How can you not love him after seeing this photo?

    It doubtlessly earned him plenty more fans in Baltimore after it was posted on billboards across the city—not that his 25 homers and 83 RBI that season weren't enough.


Amar'e Stoudemire

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    It takes some courage to pose for a magazine ad wearing nothing but your own tattoos. Apparently, Amar'e Stoudemire is a courageous guy.

    The Knicks forward displayed his love for animals by joining PETA's campaign against animal abuse and shooting the above ad. According to PETA's website, Stoudemire joined the cause to "raise awareness of cruelty to animals and is baring his skin to help animals keep theirs."

    Powerful stuff.

    Stoudemire added, "I wouldn't want to see anything cruel happen to any animals just for fashion."

Dennis Rodman

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    If there was going to be one NBA star—past or present—who would bare it all in the name of saving the animals, it would be Dennis Rodman.

    Rodman has never been shy, and he's never been averse to controversy. So when PETA asked him to strip down in the name of animal rights, of course he agreed.

    According to PETA, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year was the first man and sports star to pose for the "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" series. Always a trendsetter. Rodman also mentioned that over the years, plenty of free furs have been offered to him but he has always declined.

    What a guy.

Vernon Davis

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    When Vernon Davis' San Francisco 49ers lost the Super Bowl to the Ravens last February, what do you think the first thing he did was?

    Well, I don't really know. But it's safe to say that his dog was one of the first beings that was ready and willing to dole out a hug.

    Davis posed for SI with his furry friend King, and the tight end frequently uses social media to pledge his love for his doggies.



Danny Green

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    Most of the guys on this list have doggies, big and small, to shower with love and to keep them company in times of need.

    Danny Green also loves animals. But he has unique taste.

    The San Antonio Spurs guard is the proud owner of a six-foot long red-tail Columbian boa constrictor named Jade. He told NBA.com of his unorthodox selection, "I wanted a pet, but something low maintenance. You don’t have to feed it as much. I feed her now only once every few weeks. … Don’t worry: she knows the difference between food and people."

    Good to know.



Gilbert Arenas

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    Gilbert Arenas thought he had enough trouble on his hands when he was busted bringing a gun to the Washington Wizards locker room in 2010.

    But then, his ex-girlfriend tried to sue him because his pet sharks cost too much. So yes, things can always get worse.

    According to the Washington Post, Arenas—during his better days—spent $5,000 per month to feed his sharks and $1,500 for a caretaker to deal with them when he wasn't around. His ex, Laura Govan, wasn't happy about the extravagance in light of the fact that the couple also had four children to care for and thus took Arenas to court for a "stupendously expensive battle."


Chad Johnson

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    Chad Johnson saw Amar'e Stoudemire's PETA ad and he was like, I'll show you how it's really done.

    That Ochocinco. Always showing everyone up.

    In 2010, the current free agent wide receiver joined PETA's anti-fur campaign and chose to pose nude, a la Dennis Rodman. He told PETA, "To tell you the truth, when I was younger growing up, I thought it was all fake—they didn't really kill animals." Upon realizing that the world is a cruel place, he became a part of PETA's cause.

    Ochocinco also allegedly owns a tropical fish tank bed—or he did before his financial difficulties.



Mike Tyson

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    If his cameo in The Hangover was any indication, we already know that Mike Tyson is a big fan of unique pets. In the movie, he had a tiger living in his home, unbeknownst to some unfortunate intruders—but according to the rumor mill, Tyson really does keep a tiger as a pet in real life.

    According to Yahoo! Sports, Tyson was a collector of Siberian white tigers before he went bankrupt, and in fact, his affinity for the animal may have caused his bankruptcy, seeing as it costs somewhere around $4,000 per month to care for one.

    Also lending credence to the rumor is the fact that the feds seized four such animals from a tattoo parlor in Gary, Ind., in 2010, and one of them belonged to Tyson.



Shane Mosley

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    Shane Mosley may be a tough guy professional boxer, but he has a big soft spot for his furry friends.

    Mosley has established himself as one of the most vocal members of the anti-dogfighting campaign: As PETA puts it, Mosley used his ads to remind his fans that "dogfighting is a loser's game and that only cowards participate in it." He's talking to you, Michael Vick.

    In addition to posing in anti-dogfighting ads for PETA, Mosley was photographed by ESPN posing with his own furry friend, Nitro, in the ring.



Tim Tebow

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    Of course Tim Tebow loves animals. Of course. Was there ever any doubt? He also loves rainbows and unicorns and spending his evenings volunteering at soup kitchens because he's Tim Tebow and he is the world's most perfect person.

    Seriously, though, Tebow loves animals, especially his own animal, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, with whom he was photographed in this heartwarming picture, courtesy of SI.

    But funny story: According to SI, Tebow originally named his dog Bronco because he was playing for the Broncos at the time and, in a shocking turn of events, succeeding as an NFL quarterback. Little did Tebow know that mere months later, he would be traded to the Jets. So he changed his dog's name to Bronx.

    What will he change it to, now that he's a Patriot?


Darnell Dockett

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    Darnell Dockett may be best known as that creepy guy who harasses AJ McCarron's girlfriend on Twitter.

    But he should be best known for having a pet alligator. In fact, maybe he should have told McCarron he has a pet alligator.

    The Cardinals defensive end caused a stir in 2011 when he decided he wanted to bring his pet alligator, Nino, to training camp, tweeting:

    My coach says NO GIRLS allowed in the rooms during training camp but he never said no Gators! Me and NINO getting Bunk Beds! #Soexcited

    Sadly, after Dockett tried to adopt a baby tiger in addition to his alligator, PETA reported him to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.