A South Jersey animal shelter is creating a baseball ‘Field of Dreams’ for dogs and cats looking for forever homes

The Burlington County Animal Shelter is holding a baseball-themed adoption event that features a dog-cat contest.

Rusty, a friendly 6-year-old Pit Bull terrier mix.

Rusty is a friendly 6-year-old Pit Bull terrier mix. (Burlington County Animal Shelter)

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Preparations are underway for a unique baseball-themed adoption event at a South Jersey animal shelter this Sunday.

In honor of the start of the baseball season, for the first time ever, Burlington County Animal Shelter visitors will not only be able to meet the animals looking for forever homes, but they can also play carnival games, snack on hot dogs and enjoy an exciting competition between two very unusual teams.

Shelter director Ericka Haines said a baseball “Field of Dreams” has been marked off, and the Burlington Strays, an all-dog team, will take on the County Cats for shelter bragging rights.

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“Every adoption is considered a home run,” she said. “So, every time an animal gets adopted, one of the mascots, whether it’s a dog or it’s a cat, will do a run of the bases and initiate a home run.”

Colette is a 2-year-old calico
Colette is a 2-year-old calico found wandering in Burlington Township. (Burlington County Animal Shelter)

She explained the “mascots” for these teams will be humans.

One of the star players on the dog team is a Cane Corso named Miss Bella.

Miss Bella, a Cane Corso
Miss Bella, a Cane Corso, has been at the shelter since last summer. (Burlington County Animal Shelter)

“She is about 3 or 5 years old, she definitely can run the bases, she is absolutely breathtaking,” Haines said.

Captaining the County Cats is Chuckie, a dapper 7-year-old domestic shorthair.

Chuckie, a dapper 7-year-old domestic short hair
Chuckie is a dapper 7-year-old domestic short hair. (Burlington County Animal Shelter)

Haines said shelters can sometimes be intimidating.

“So we’re just trying to give everybody a different showcase to really see the greatness our animals have outside of the kennels,” she said.

The first pitch of the game between the Strays and the Cats will be thrown out by Dan O’Connell, the deputy director of the Burlington County Board of Commissioners, who adopted a senior dog named Bingo about two years ago.

“Our shelter does a great job,” he said. “I gotta tell you, my guy is gonna be 8 this June. He’s great company.”

An unidentified dog at the Burlington County Animal Shelter
Several dogs will be playing on the Burlington Strays team on Sunday. (Burlington County Animal Shelter)

O’Connell praised shelter staff and volunteers and said the Friends of Burlington County Animal Shelter will help out with the event. People interested in fostering and adopting can look at the different animals available or find other ways to support the center online.

During Sunday’s open house, another contest, the Philadelphia Phillies game against the Washington Nationals, will be streamed on the shelter’s big screen.

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Haines pointed out that dogs and cats are wonderful companions for families and people who live alone.

“Whether you’re looking for a new animal or have some questions about your current one, it’s a great way for people to come out and get some education and resources at the same time,” she said.

An unidentified dog at the Burlington County Animal Shelter
Many dogs at the shelter enjoy other sports besides baseball, like running and fetching. (Burlington County Animal Shelter)

The Burlington County animal shelter, which opened in the early 1970s, currently has 110 dogs and 115 cats available for adoption or fostering.

Haines said the dog versus cat game gets underway at noon, and all adoption fees are being waived for the day.

An unidentified dog at the Burlington County Animal Shelter
Shelter dogs are loving and need forever homes. (Burlington County Animal Shelter)

“Events like this are so important to remind people that we are here,” she said. “And we are doing the best that we can to help as many animals in Burlington County as we can. Our resources are limited, so we ask everyone who adopts an animal to be aware of the responsibilities that go along with that.”

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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