Slugger swings to help Tampa Bay area puppies

The Rays' slugger is helping to raise money for shelters for homeless dogs.

Doubles and triples are nice, but no matter how many of each Tampa Bay Rays star third baseman Evan Longoria hits, they just don’t compare to home runs.

“I need a slow trot,” joke his wife, Jaime. “That way I know it’s going to benefit more than just the team.”

Evan has blasted 243 homers in his Major League career. Over the past six years, his home runs have generated money for a local no-kill animal shelter called Pet Pal.

Last year, his homers generated $38,000 for the shelter to help homeless dogs.

“There are just so many at shelters that need homes,” Evan said.

There's one fewer, thanks to the Longorias.   

“This is her,” Evan said, holding a tiny pup in his arms outside the Rays home dugout. “This is Lucie.”

Evan and Jaime, along with the Rays, have organized another Dog Day at Tropicana Field to benefit Pet Pal. On Sunday, when the team goes against the Houston Astros, fans will be encouraged to bring donations to support the shelter.

Dog and cat food, crates, collars – anything related to pet health – will be accepted, even cash donations. In exchange, fans will receive a voucher for two free tickets to a future Rays home game.

All to help the animals.

“There are just so many who are neglected or don’t have homes and either are just dropped off at a shelter or just abandoned”

The family now has two dogs: a 140-pound 9-year old mastiff and, Lucie, a 2-pound, 12-week old “chihoodle”, as Jaime calls it, a Chihuahua – poodle mix.

“It’s definitely entertaining seeing the difference between a 9-year-old mastiff,” said Jaime while snuggling Lucie. “Evan told me to enjoy it. It’s probably my only baby.”

The Longorias adopted Lucie from Pet Pal. They thought it would be best for their kids, Elle, 4, and Nash, 2, to have a puppy to play with. They hope this weekend spurs other fans to consider adopting and helping other dogs in the area.

“There are going to be adoptable dogs available upstairs as well, so they can come and check it out and maybe bring one of these guys home,” said Jaime.

Fans with a ticket in the tbt* Party Deck for Sunday's game can bring their dog to the park for Dog Day for $30.

The special ticket package is good for one fan and one dog and includes a Rays Dog Day-themed item. Additional human tickets are available for $25 each and also include a dog-themed item.

Tickets to Dog Day at the Rays are only available online at raysbaseball.com/dogday and will not be for sale on the day of the event.

From 11:00 a.m.–1:30 p.m., the Rays wives and girlfriends will host their annual Pet Food Drive to benefit Pet Pal Animal Shelter in St. Petersburg at Gate 1, Gate 6 and the tbt* Party Deck. Fans who donate pet food will receive one ticket voucher for two tickets to a future 2017 Rays home game (limit one voucher per family).

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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