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White Sox’s Buehrle Offers Hope—and Help

When a lost dog was found badly injured, this baseball player stepped up to the plate.

By Ron Berler

WEB EXCLUSIVE

Shortly before Christmas, animal control officers in Godfrey, Illinois—a town of about 18,000 just north of St. Louis—found a dog, a female Sheltie mix, wandering the streets. The dog had an arrow sticking from its abdomen. It was clear the dog was in great pain. They took her to Horseshoe Lake Animal Hospital in Collinsville where, in a three-and-a-half-hour operation, her spleen and parts of her intestines, as well as the arrow were removed.

No one knows the circumstances in which the dog—about four years old and 30 pounds, and named Shelby—was injured. Her owners, when contacted, said Shelby had been missing for about six weeks. They then relinquished custody of the dog to Hope Animal Rescues, a nearby animal rescue organization with a no-kill policy.

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Shelby needed round-the-clock care. Her expenses grew to nearly $3,000. A couple that regularly volunteers for the rescue organization—Chicago White Sox All-Star pitcher Mark Buehrle and his wife Jamie—offered to foot the bill.

The Buehrles, who own three dogs including one they rescued from a shelter, introduced Sox for Strays, their own pet adoption organization last season. Once a month during the baseball season, they sponsor a pre-game gathering at the Sox’s stadium, U.S. Cellular Field, where they unite shelter animals with fans interested in adoption.

“Mark always says maybe when he retires, we might open a sanctuary or something,” Jamie told the Chicago Tribune.

As for Shelby, she’s healthy and doing fine. Several weeks ago Jeffrey Bray, a St. Louis anesthesiologist, and his wife, Debbie, adopted her. They, too, have a history of rescuing pets from shelters. The first time they and their three children met Shelby, a Hope Animal Rescues executive told the Chicago Sun-Times, “they all got down on the floor with her, loved her and gave her kisses.”

Can’t ask for a better welcome than that.

Photo from chicago.whitesox.mlb.com

Ron Berler is a writer in New York City who specializes in sports.