*My Cause, My Cleats is an NFL initiative that allows players to design cleats in honor of charities they care about. This year, a number of Patriots will be wearing custom-made cleats that represent causes close to their hearts for the game in Buffalo this weekend. Before they do, Lifestyle is bringing you some of the stories behind the cleats. *
When it comes to causes David Andrews cares deeply about, two come to mind: the military and animals. So when he read a book by Michael Ritland about his work rehabilitating retired military K9s through Warrior Dog Foundation, David knew he wanted to be involved with the organization.
It made his choice for which nonprofit to highlight for My Cause, My Cleats that much easier.
The Warrior Dog Foundation takes in these retired dogs , mostly German shepherds, and works with them so they can heal both physically and mentally. The state of the art kennel facilities are located on a ranch in Texas, and it provides the K9s with a home that will help them work towards adoption and live their lives peacefully.
"I just thought it was a great cause and I've always loved dogs. It was something that I could reach out to and hit two things for me, military and animals. To me it's a great organization and I love what they do," David said about his choice to represent them this week.
Because of what these dogs have experienced, it can make them challenging to train and assimilate into normal life. Many of the dogs Warrior Dog Foundation takes in are slated to be euthanized, but the organization gives them a second chance. Sometimes, the dogs are even available for adoption if the right home and owner come along.
"These dogs, they've given so much, and they deserve to enjoy the rest of their lives. Whoever serves our country male, female, dog, they've made such a sacrifice that we're able to sit here and play this game," David said. "Even though a dog doesn't really sign up for it, he's still thrust into that role. They're not just a piece of equipment. That's something that can really resonate with people who love animals."
David said he hopes to visit Mike's ranch in Texas this offseason to see the work he's doing up close, and eventually, he would love to bring one of the retired K9s home with him.
"It takes a special person to take in a dog like that. Maybe one day for me, but it's just not the right time," David said.
Until then, David will do what he can to shine a light on Warrior Dog Foundation. To learn more about the foundation's work, click here.