Military baseball stars, Heroes of the Diamond, stopped by the Thursday afternoon to play with a few of the four-legged residents.
Heroes of the Diamond, is an organization made up of soldiers from all over the country that travel America playing our favorite past time in order to raise awareness of the sacrifice that military families make to help ensure the safety of our country. With the help of local liaisons like Jim Van Koski, the team sets up visits before each of their games to do local community outreach.
"They like to get a feel for the community," said Koski.
The team plays Thursday night in Bear, Del.
The SPCA was already busy with plenty of adoptions, as the players toured the facility and picked out their pet for the day. By the time the players left early in the afternoon three pets had found new homes.
Several of the players headed right for the cat room. Player Theron Chueza spent some time with a big grey cat named Seth, and teammate Mike Lange turned into part jungle gym for a tiny kitten.
Most of the players picked dogs to take outside and run around the SPCA's spacious grounds.
Craig LeBlanc, who hails from Texas, fell in love with a young grey blue Pit Bull/Great Dane named Dolly. At the end of the visit he was seriously considering taking the dog home to meet his two labs. Baby, a Pit Bull Terrier puppy, stole the show and he playfully won over several of the players.
A SPCA volunteer, connected with one of the team's company sponsors, approached the Delco SPCA about the visit and the pairing was more than just puppy love. The Delco SPCA has dealt with local military community members and the pet difficulties that arise when they get deployed.
"It's kind of an issue that is near and dear to our heart," said Justina Calgiano, the director of community relations at the Delco SPCA. "Reaching out to the military community is very important to us and those guys love dogs. We thought it would be a really cool marriage."
After the players left, the staff could focus on the other big event at the Delco SPCA—their second Spay Day. Their first one, held in February, was a great success. They hope to hold one every four months, if funds allow it.
The Spay Day allows pet owners to come in and have their pets spayed or neutered for a discount. With the help of funding, donations and vets donating their time, the SPCA is able to charge between $10 and $15 for cats and dogs.
They specifically target the outreach to areas that suffer from overpopulation. Calgiano estimates that on this particular day, approximately 50 to 60 cats were spayed or neutered.
On top of all the excitement of the day, the Delco SPCA is also in the middle of their All-Ameri-Canines month with the discount adoption fees on American breeds and mixes at $20.11 for dogs six months and up.
The Delco SPCA has had a record month of matching dogs with new families. July 4 was a record adoption day with 70 pets going to home and new owners only paying an adoption of $17.76.
"Only one in four families choose to adopt. The rest go elsewhere and that continues to expand a problem that is worldwide; there are so many animals going into shelters because people are choosing to get pets from breeders. It's so important for us to find homes for these animals," Calgiano said.