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Sheahan shows a cause for the paws

by Craig Peterson / Detroit Red Wings
Hector, not Riley Sheahan, can be adopted at the Detroit location of the Michigan Humane Society. Hector is an eight-week-old German shepherd cross mix. (Photo by Christy Hammond/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – The temptation to adopt a puppy may be too great for Red Wings center Riley Sheahan to resist.

This week, Sheahan took a tour of the Michigan Humane Society, the first of many trips that he plans to make to the shelter as part of his ‘Riley’s Rescues’ program.

“Ever since I’ve been young we’ve had a dog at home, at least one,” Sheahan said. “I think just growing up with a dog and having a soft spot for animals it’s a good fit for me.”

Through the program, Sheahan will donate $100 for every point he records this season, and that donation will go towards the humane society’s animal cruelty investigation unit. Sheahan will also endorse a different animal at the shelter each month in an effort to promote pet adoption, assuming he doesn’t adopt one first. His roommate, Red Wings center Luke Glendening, has a 130-pound Great Dane but Sheahan said it might only be a matter of time before he ends up bringing a puppy home for himself.

“It’ll be a lot of work to have two but seeing some of these dogs and seeing how cute they are it’s going to be hard not to pass one up,” he said.

Ryan McTigue, public relations coordinator of the Michigan Humane Society, jokingly suggested that Sheahan bring home a Chihuahua to help contrast the pet setting at home.

“We’re really pleased that he is going to continue this relationship with us and helping our animals,” McTigue said. “I know he’s expressed interest in seeing more of the work that we do, which is really cool. He’s really taking an active interest in the things that the Michigan Humane Society does not just the shelter but out in the community as well.”

McTigue took Sheahan on a tour of the building where they met with a variety of cats and dogs as well as a pig and a goat that the shelter rescued.

The Michigan Humane Society beds between 800 and 1,000 animals on any given day at its three locations in metro Detroit, averaging between 150-180 pet adoptions per week.

With Sheahan’s help, McTigue is confident that adaption numbers will increase.

“Shelter animals are great animals and to have the support of Riley and have him kind of be that voice for us and letting people know that there are wonderful pets that you can find and adoption is the best way to go,” McTigue said. “It’s going to be great and it’s going to be really positive for all of our animals.”

Sheahan’s presence at the shelter and contribution to the cause has an impact on more than just the animals but the people who work at the shelter as well.

“It’s uplifting not just for the animals and his support but for the staff to see that there are people in his position that do care,” McTigue said. “The work that they do is really important and to see Riley recognizing that is just fantastic, we’re ecstatic.”

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