Pitchside Pups: Finding a Home with Wolf Trap Animal Rescue and PEDIGREE Foundation

Washington Spirit  |   May 22, 2024
Pitchside Pups: Finding a Home with Wolf Trap Animal Rescue and PEDIGREE Foundation Featured Image

Pictured: Top – Bailey (Kate Wiesner), Nate (Aubrey Kingsbury), and Coupa (Andi Sullivan). Bottom – Smokey (Makenna Morris), Kush (Croix Bethune), and Butter (Civana Kuhlmann).


The Spirit knows the value of home. After years of bouncing between stadiums across the DMV, including years of splitting matches between different venues, the Washington Spirit found a permanent home in Washington, D.C. at Audi Field in 2022.

For the Spirit, no place feels more like home than when Audi Field opens its doors and the chants of thousands of fans echo as the players’ cleats hit the pitch. The importance of home and inclusion is built into the foundation of Spirit’s culture and that of the Mars, Incorporated family of brands.

On Friday, May 24, during its “Pitchside Pups” match, presented by PEDIGREE®, Mars Pet Nutrition Brand, fans have the chance to bring their furry friends to the match. The Spirit will also welcome a special group of puppies into Audi Field looking for their own forever homes. Wolf Trap Animal Rescue (WTAR) will hold a meet-and-greet adoption event for fans.

“Mars is the world’s leading pet company, and we know that more dogs are entering shelters and rescues than leaving and many animal welfare organizations are at capacity,” said Deb Fair, Executive Director, PEDIGREE Foundation. “We are proud to support the work of Wolf Trap Animal Rescue as they continue to help more dogs find homes through adoption events like Pitchside Pups, building on our partnership between Mars Wrigley and SNICKERS® supporting women’s professional sports.”

WTAR facilitates the adoption, fostering and transportation of rescued pets. Nearly weekly, WTAR works directly with shelters and communities that cannot accept any more animals or find enough homes to relieve them of overcrowding. Taking care of the intake of young, at-risk animals allows for more time and resources to be spent on the older animals, saving them from needless euthanasia.

After being transported to WTAR in Northern Virginia, the veterinarian-led animal rescue organization focuses on the health of the pets, providing a 21-day veterinary quarantine in specialty-trained foster homes for the rescued animals.

Unique to WTAR, their foster program was created to provide foster parents a chance to experience life with a pet before committing to adopting. Meet and greets, just like the one at Pitchside Pups, presented by PEDIGREE® are one way these resilient pups find their forever home.

As part of the Pitchside Pups match, the first 12,000 human fans will receive a co-branded Spirit x PEDIGREE® matching bandana for themselves or their pet. A portion of proceeds from the Pitchside Pups match will go to the PEDIGREE Foundation. The PEDIGREE Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to help end pet homelessness and was established in 2008 by Mars Petcare, maker of PEDIGREE® food for dogs, to help increase dog adoption rates. It has awarded more than 6,200 grants and more than $12 million to U.S. shelters and rescues that help dogs in need.

Ultimately, the Pitchside Pups theme night is a celebration of the Spirit family – with a few fans’ families growing on Saturday night with a new furry friend – while welcoming the PEDIGREE® brand, as an official partner.

To celebrate throughout the Spirit’s furriest theme night, fans can bring their dogs to the game, enter a dog costume contest, submit an adoption application, get their own PEDIGREE® leashes and collars, and interact with the other exciting activations on the concourse.

Two years ago, the Spirit welcomed Washington, D.C., full-time and with open arms. Connecting and partnering with organizations that help find homes for at-risk animals is one way the Spirit taps into the value of home for even its four-legged friends.

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