Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley (left) stands with Dustin Mizah, Taylor Denatale, and their 4-year old Italian mastiff Nino. Photo courtesy of Ronnie Stanley Foundation.

Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley’s foundation has partnered with Heart + Paw Fells Point to bring veterinary services to newly trained therapy dogs. 

The Ronnie Stanley Foundation prepares rescue dogs to be placed in their forever home with individuals who require emotional support due to enduring life challenges, such as illness, emotional trauma, and other hardships.

In the past year, the organization has placed 15 dogs, and they’ve all come from BARCS animal shelter.

“I always had a soft spot for animals and I knew I wanted to help them,” Stanley said. “I started with training dogs in shelters and being able to match them with people in the community that could really use the animals or could benefit from it, whether it be physically or mentally or emotionally.”

Heart + Paw, which opened its first location in Philadelphia in 2018, reimagines vet care by offering low stress pet-focused care for pets and their families.

The facility features diagnostic and radiology equipment, state-of-the-art surgery suites, grooming services, attendant-operated daycare, comprehensive medical services, routine health and dental care, and full service veterinary services. 

“The work that Ronnie is doing, advocating for pet adoption and connecting rescue dogs to humans, is inspiring,” said George Melillo, Heart + Paw’s co-founder and chief veterinary doctor. “We admire his commitment to the Baltimore community and are proud to add our support.”

Ronnie Stanley greets dog at Heart + Paw daycare. Photo by Latrice Hill.

Heart + Paw’s care concept has every detail covered, Stanley said. “They were definitely putting the animal first and thinking about what could make their visits better. From the style of floor, to thinking about where the scales are put.” 

Stanley continues, “The transparency between the care and the owner of the animal, I haven’t seen any veterinarians really like it. I’ve been with my dogs all over the country and visiting vets, so I think it’s very unique. And I do think it’s a blueprint for what a future veterinary place should look like.”

After families are matched with their newly trained therapy dog from the foundation, Heart + Paw will conduct the initial vet visit; gift the family crates, beds, bowls and toys; and provide ongoing discounted care at any Maryland location.

In addition to matching dogs with forever homes, Stanley’s foundation also is involved in community outreach. Among their outreach efforts is a partnership with the Baltimore City Fire Department, which allows dogs to visit firehouses as well as schools, universities, elementary schools. 

Dustin Mizah and Taylor Denatale, who adopted 4-year-old Italian mastiff Nino from the foundation last month, said the program really spoke to them. 

“Dustin’s a [military] veteran and I’m a therapist, so it just really felt right for us,” Denatale said. “And me working in trauma it’s been really amazing to have him in my sessions and see the response and relief that people have.”

Dustin Mizah and Taylor Denatale with their 4-year old Italian mastiff Nino. Photo by Latrice Hill.
Avatar photo

Latrice Hill

Latrice Hill is a Baltimore native and Morgan State University graduate who loves all the great things this city has to offer. She worked with WMAR 2-News as an Assignment Desk Editor before she joined...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *