Logan Ryan, the Titans’ hard-hitting cornerback and two-time Super Bowl champion, is also a dog whisperer. He and his wife, Ashley, head the Ryan Animal Rescue Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting animals in need of some extra help in finding their forever homes. RARF does this by providing educational and financial resources to partnering animal welfare organizations and by sponsoring programs of its own such as Ryan’s Monthly Rescue, leveraging the power of his large social media following to help find the perfect fit for some loving dogs in need of loving people.
It began in 2013 when Ashley worked at an animal shelter and felt drawn to help rescue pit bulls and similar large breeds. Ashley soon convinced Logan to adopt Leonardo, the couple’s beloved pit bull. Leonardo was quickly followed by Julius, a dog with no eyes.
“He is honestly the easiest dog we’ve ever had,” Logan says.
But what about walks and getting about on his own? Logan smiles.
“He stays by your side and trusts you will lead him. At home, he has the house mapped out in his memory and gets around just as well as our other dogs!”
However, other families, especially with young children, might be reluctant to adopt a pit bull. Ashley addresses these concerns.
“Leo is our kids' best friend,” she says. “He loves being around them and always respects their space. Despite being big and sometimes clumsy, Leo is full of love and has been an even happier dog since we've added children to our family.”
The Ryans have certainly led by example, and RARF exists to help others do the same. To raise money for this worthy cause, RARF recently hosted The Chow Down, a celebrity-filled event in which local restaurants competed to provide the most crowd-pleasing fare with attendees casting votes for their favorites. The event raised a whopping $160,000 with the funds earmarked for adoption promotion efforts and grant programs. RARF’s grants help animals who need a little extra training to help find the right home. One of RARF’s biggest grants goes into the training of staff at shelters, bringing them up to state-of-the-art best practices in handling tougher animals, animal behavior and reading body language.
RARF also offers a free vaccine clinic each year for pets and hosts adoption events throughout the year, including the “Pup Rally” at Nissan Stadium. (This year is Aug. 3 for the Titans' first scrimmage of the season. See the Lifestyle Calendar for details.) The money raised from The Chow Down will allow RARF to broaden the reach of all of these events and to increase the amount of money given to shelters to improve the lives of the animals they serve.
To join the team of this worthy cause, consider donating or evening reaching out to RARF about volunteer opportunities.