Tyler Matakevich has come down with an unexpected case of puppy fever.
It all happened at a photo shoot for the anti-animal cruelty campaign Show Your Soft Side, which places famous faces, especially athletes, alongside adorable pets to raise awareness about the love animals deserve.
According to The Dodo, the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker was matched with a wiggly, precious pup who immediately stole Matakevich’s heart. All of the sudden, Matakevich, who knew, as a dog lover, that he wanted to adopt at some point, started thinking of adopting right then.
After taking a few shots, the puppy, named Jerrica, passed out in the big, comfy arms of the football player, and Matakevich knew he couldn’t pass her up.
“It felt like they set me up,” Matakevich told The Dodo. “I knew right away.”
The news that Jerrica found a home quickly spread to the rescue who had been caring for her. Delaware’s Renee’s Rescues was ecstatic that their sweetie had found forever with a man who adored her and would surely share his adoption story with countless others.
“You have an NFL Player who could easily purchase any dog he’d possibly desire. He chose a mixed-breed pup,” Renee Martini, the rescue’s founder, said. “Talk about a class act! Such a win for the animals.”
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Since Matakevich took a train to the photo shoot he couldn’t bring Jerrica home right away, but his girlfriend made the drive to Delaware to retrieve the pup a few days later.
Jerrica, now named Bailey, is settling in perfectly, and has already made quite an impression on her owners. Matakevich said that the pup has picked up house training in just a few days and is a perfect, and occasionally pesky, companion for his 13-year-old dog.