Lionel Richie holds puppy and points to it
Lionel Richie and Saving Grace Animal Rescue puppy, Broccoli

Who can resist the combination of musical icons and puppies?

The magical connection was made on Saturday night in Baltimore at CFG Bank Arena when Saving Grace Animal Rescue of Maryland (SGAR) was there with some of their adorable puppies to provide comfort and support to the tour members of the band Earth, Wind & Fire and Lionel Richie, who were performing that night to a sold-out crowd.

The rescue organization shared a post on Facebook, explaining how their humble puppies made it into the hands of Lionel Richie himself. Not only did the stage manager for one of the performing acts gift the humans of Saving Grace with tickets to the show, but members of CFG Bank Arena took care of the puppies in swanky digs during the concert, and the arena donated $1,000 to the rescue organization at the end of it.

One might typically associate therapy or rescue dogs with events held at libraries, hospitals, or retirement homes. But Amber Shipley, director of operations at SGAR, told Baltimore Fishbowl in an email that while they do participate in events like that, they also have a “wonderful partnership” with the team at CFG Bank Arena.

“They offer to provide puppies to the traveling talent teams. We have done events with Travis Rhett and the Bert Kreischer comedy tour in the past,” Shipley said. “But in this case, puppies were requested by the tour. Everyone LOVES when the puppies come, and it’s such a great boost on morale. I don’t think many folks have any idea just how hard the crew (and the talent themselves) work to make these shows happen. So much going on behind the scenes.”

Shipley told Fishbowl that they were “quite humbled” to be offered tickets to the show. “They put in so much work on show days, and still made the time to accommodate our puppy sitting needs so we could enjoy the show. A life of volunteer work typically doesn’t have perks like this, so it was a wonderful surprise!”

“We personally met some of the members of Earth, Wind, and Fire, as well as Lionel’s stage manager and many of the crew. Like everyone else, they are just people. Pumped for their show, missing their families and pets, and happy to have a quick puppy cuddle serotonin boost,” Shipley said. “When Lionel requested to meet the puppies, we were already in our seats, and it was a very quick meeting, so alas we didn’t know until it was already happening.”

The puppies Saving Grace brought to the arena were rescued from “a horrific hoarding situation while their mom was still pregnant with them,” Shipley said. SGAR did not know their mother was pregnant at the time of the rescue. She was saved from a home along with approximately 40 other dogs who were in the same home.

Frank Remesch and Lionel Richie pose with puppy and certificate
Frank Remesch holds SGAR puppy, Asparagus, and Lionel Richie holds Broccoli and CFG’s gift to SGAR, a $1,000 donation.

The $1,000 gift from CFG Bank Arena will go towards covering over $3,000 in emergency room bills for two of the dogs rescued from that hoarding situation from which the puppies’ mother was removed.

Asparagus was also diagnosed with a significant heart murmur at their recent vet visit.

“He’ll need an (expensive) follow up with the cardiologist, and possibly surgery for his suspected PDA. The other three puppies themselves will be available for adoption in another week or so,” Shiply told Fishbowl.

SGAR takes donations, and also has a wish list for supplies. If you’d like to donate to Saving Grace Animal Rescue, please click here. To see their wish list, please click here.

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