OAKLAND – The small puppy shivered as he snuggled into the arms of Warriors rookie forward Jordan Bell. Other dogs barked nervously and wagged their tails excitedly when Bell, Warriors center Zaza Pachulia and development coach Willie Green greeted them as they sat in crates.
Each interaction struck an emotional chord as members of the Warriors spent Friday assisting with rescue efforts of about 150 dogs and cats displayed from Miami area shelters stemmed from Hurricane Irma.
“Hopefully we can find families that will get them adopted,” Pachulia said. “I feel really bad. As a human being, you can plan something. I can leave, fly or drive. But animals are stuck there.”
So, Fed EX worked with members of the Miami Heat in placing those animals on a cargo plan. The Warriors then welcomed them upon arrival on late Friday afternoon at the FedEx Oakland Ramp. Bell, Pachulia, Green, former Warriors player Adonal Foyle and Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob held various puppies.
After greeting several dogs and cats, they worked with members of the Peninsula Humane Society, ASPCA and San Francisco Animal Care & Control to transport the crates onto a loading van. They were then taken to shelters with the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, Marin Humane or Humane Society for Southwest Washington.
“Us doing this hopefully helps them find a better home to go to,” Bell said.
Pachulia, Bell and Green all considered themselves animal lovers after growing up with dogs. But all three reluctantly passed on adopting any of the rescued animals as pets, mindful of the logistical complications that brings amid a travel-heavy NBA schedule.
“I was tempted to sneak a couple into my car,” Green said, chuckling. “But it probably isn’t the best thing to do.”
Instead, Pachulia plans to get a dog for his wife and four children perhaps once he finds more stability entering his 15th NBA season. But after playing with the Warriors for the past two years, Pachulia admitted he would like to have a pet “hopefully in the Bay Area.” Meanwhile, Bell sounded content with just enjoying time with his nearly 2-year-old pitbull named “Prince.”
“Hopefully he’s not too jealous,” Bell joked.
Maybe Prince would have been had he seen Bell playing with a few cats eager to paw at his fingers, or a puppy that ate treats from his hand.
“That was cool. They started being more comfortable around us and starting walking toward us,” Bell said. “When we gave them treats, it was fun to see them become more relaxed.”
Meanwhile, Green sounded more at ease after his in-laws (who live in Baton Rouge, Fla.) and other friends nearby remained safe.
“We were just trying to make sure we checked on everybody. Everybody got out that could get out. The people that didn’t took certain precautions to make sure they were safe and had food and water that would last them three to five days,” Green said. “As you can see on the news, there was a lot of flooding. People lost homes and lost everything. Our prayers go out to those folks still dealing with that. Today is an opportunity for us to give.”
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