Saturday, July 18, 2009
Helping To Find Pets A Worthy Home
"Whether I come back in five minutes or return to my house five hours later," stated John Lannan of Our Washington Nationals. "The reaction by my dog (Bailey) is always the same--unconditional love." Surrounded by dogs, cats and even some sort of lizard/dragon--Our Number 31 for two hours this Saturday morning was visiting The Hybla Valley PETCO in the Alexandria portion of Fairfax County, Virginia. John helping to get the word out that many dogs & cats are looking for a good home every single day.
And The Washington Humane Society was on hand to offer for adoption some dogs to anyone stopping by to take a look.
"If you just watch TV and take a look at National Geographic and The Discovery Channel," said Lannan. "You can see how many dogs get left behind. People move, they just leave their pets behind. It's really sad and if I can do anything, in anyway, to help the situation get better--then I am here for them. It is well worth my time."
John's devotion to needy pets was reinforced by relatives on his native Long Island, New York.
"I grew up and I didn't have any pets. But my grandmother rescued a Westie from the North Shore Animal Hospital and that was my first real experience with a dog. They also rescued an Akita back in the day when I was a little baby. So, helping animals in need has been a part of my family--my entire life."
For two hours, John Lannan hung out with The Humane Society Adoption Dogs available this Saturday. He posed for pictures with children and families with their pets--none better than the Lizard/Dragon. Admittedly, not having much exposure to cats either, Our Number 31 jumped right in there and greeted each and every one brought in this morning.
"I finally bought my own dog (a french bulldog/beagle mix) this past October," admitted John. "But I didn't really think at first about the repercussions of having an animal and taking care of it (baseball and the travel schedule can sometimes get in the way). But this past off-season, I showed my dog a lot of love, so did my parents. She came down to spring training with me (in Viera). so she was there with my roommates and we all did a great job of taking care of her. She became a real part of the family. Right now, she is back with my parents (on Long Island) and she has come to visit me here in DC one time already this season. She is just awesome. I really love her."
As John Lannan continued to meet and greet, Our Number 31's Agent, Todd Wiseman, and I discussed the effort made to get Our Starting Pitcher more involved throughout the Greater Washington, D.C. Area.
"John really wants to contribute to the overall experience of baseball here," believes Mr. Wiseman. "It is very important to get any player involved into the surrounding community. And John understands where the fan base is and to attract people and fill the stands--John knows he has to get out here and meet people."
Of course setting such events up takes a lot of planning. John Lannan being a starting pitcher makes all the advance work even more important. Setting these events up, John and his agent Todd Wiseman must estimate, well in advance, to make sure Lannan is not scheduled to pitch. "He doesn't want to focus on anything but baseball on a day he is starting," commented Todd Wiseman. "So, we have to work through what The Nationals need for him on the field first, so not to distract from what we want to do off the field. Even the day before he pitches, John wants to get into a zone and stay there before he pitches, so we definitely have to work around that. Otherwise, all this doesn't work."
But today's effort by John Lannan is one of many such outings this 25 Year Old Pitcher wants to get involved in throughout the Greater Washington, DC Area.
Between community "Meet & Greets" involving Our Washington Nationals and those separate outings put together by John and his agent, the hope is to get Lannan out into the surrounding area at least one time per month, if not more during the season. In fact, John is currently working right now, along with Our Washington Nationals and The Children's Inn At NIH to provide a series of special outings for needy youngsters at Nationals Park.
"The Nationals and Israel Negron (New Community Relations Director for Washington) approached me about this and I have been thinking about starting my own foundation--something based around kids," stated Lannan. "It's a great opportunity to get kids out to the park, expose them to baseball, provide a learning experience set behind a fun background."
Approximately 20 underprivileged kids will sit in a special section at Nationals Park, with their own special banner, during selected home games. John will meet with them, provide special tee-shirts, give them lunch--all of which will come out of John Lannan's very own pocket. He is footing the entire bill. If all the details come together soon, expect to see Lannan's (Legends, Lair, Lads, or whatever the final verbiage used to promote the project) to debut soon on South Capitol Street.
"We need to find a worthy name that sticks to the project. That's all that is really left to decide. So, if you have any suggestions, I am listening and considering all offers!!" laughed John Lannan. But his gift to needy youngsters in the Washington, D.C. area is not a laughing matter. Nor was his personal time given this Saturday morning helping to find homes for needy pets looking for someone to love them also.
"I am here today to support The Humane Society and those efforts made by my relatives over the past years," concluded John Lannan. "Let's hope that together, we can make a difference, helping to find pets a worthy home."
PS--Do note how deftly John Lannan kept his left pitching hand away from any potential bites from the teeth of the many pets today. Lannan even laughed when I told him I had noticed: "You better believe it," he responded.
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